Thomas Nilsson CEO IUC - Industriella UtvecklingsCentra Sverige

Challenges and opportunities for Swedish industry

Publicerad: 27 September 2021

There are great challenges for industrial companies in Sweden but also fantastic opportunities. Adjustment is taking place in several industries with major technological leaps and the rate of change is, to say the least, high, which generates an exponential change curve. Many manufacturing companies are simultaneously suffering from a component shortage in the current pandemic. This means that industrial companies are looking for suppliers at a closer distance and we have a great opportunity to bring production home to Sweden. Sustainability requirements are increasing based on all three dimensions, including the transition to more circular products. To do this and to maintain and increase the competitiveness of industry, it is important to be able to meet the industrial development needs and create as good conditions as possible.

We have a well-built innovation system in Sweden, many actors, R&D, development projects and financing opportunities to strengthen the industry. Through good cooperation between these actors and where they all do what they do best, we achieve significantly greater efficiency than if we work in pipe-like forms. An opportunity for increased competitiveness is through automation solutions, which for many is a big step with several initial issues such as:

"Are we ready for this, or is there a risk of sub-optimization?"

"In that case, which solution should we choose?"

"Do we get the ROI we expect?"

By contributing to finding an answer to large parts of these questions, a sense of security is created in the company management, with the result that decisions in a next step is simplified. We see clear results in this in Robotlyftet, which is a collaborative project and where all parties contribute with their expert knowledge. Part of strengthening competitiveness is definitely through automation solutions and there we have fantastic results, but the development needs of industrial companies are so much greater and of a broad nature. It becomes even more obvious in our interviews within Robotlyftet with at the time of writing 1219 industrial companies around Sweden and in the company analyzes that are carried out continuously within the IUC network. One of several challenges is the supply of skills and also the attractiveness of industry. We have company examples where we initially saw a be a need for production efficiency, but where their improvement journey instead started value-based work to include and get employees on the journey towards the company's goals and vision - to get an even more effective improvement work in the next step.

Together, we must be able to meet the companies where they are today, adapted to needs, contribute to the next stage of development and to their overall competitiveness in a global context. This concerns strengthening existing industry but also includes creating the conditions and attractiveness for returning industrial companies. I call for a long-term industrial program that includes effective collaborations in the innovation system and that we should take advantage of the favorable situation we actually have in Sweden today to take an additional position globally.

Published 2021-09-27  |  Authored by Thomas Nilsson