Industry 4.0 lacks leaders – Study

December 8, 2014

Role of managers more important than ever 71 percent of German companies are convinced that the role of managers in the age of Industry 4.0 is more important than ever. Companies see the primary quality of the ideal “Manager 4.0” as that of an outstanding communicator with both subordinates and superiors. The problem: According to the recently compiled first ever “German Industry 4.0 Index”, current managers have a lot of catching up to do in this respect. For this study, 140 industrial firms were surveyed for the Staufen management consultancy. “New technology alone cannot provide leadership. Ultimately, Industry 4.0 is nothing but a tool that only becomes fully effective through managers with great communication skills,” explains Wilhelm Goschy, Executive Board member of the Staufen AG consultancy. “That makes it the more important for managers to move out of their comfort zones and be present on the shop floor. Currently, this still happens far too rarely” The “German Industry 4.0 Index” clearly reflects this impression. It shows that in 40 percent of companies, managers have not progressed beyond the acquisition of basic skills in communication with colleagues or subordinates. And only one in four companies interviewed for the index credited its section, department or team managers with meeting the real requirements of modern leadership in this respect. “Many managers – particularly those working in production or development – have not learned in their generally technically oriented career path to concern themselves consciously with human relations and their own behaviour. For that reason, it is understandable that they struggle with these new requirements”, Executive Board member Goschy concludes from practical observation. “Companies are therefore tasked with supporting their managers in the required transformations of their leadership styles, for example by providing coaches to help with specific aspects.” As shown by the “German Industry 4.0 Index”, Germany still sees itself as a world leader on the path towards a “smart factory”. “This self-confidence of German companies is mainly rooted in their outstanding technical abilities without which a networked economy would undoubtedly be impossible to implement,” as consultant Goschy explains. “However, as in previous waves of automation, the key to realising the full productivity potential of Industry 4.0 is a change in leadership behaviour towards open dialogue at the site of value creation.” Press graphics can be downloaded from: German Industry 4.0 Index
The “German Industry 4.0 Index” is based on a study by management consultancy Staufen AG. As part of the study, a total of 140 industrial firms were interviewed in August and September 2014. The majority of the companies interviewed are from the machinery and plant engineering sectors, the electrical industry and the automotive industry. The air travel, energy and logistics industries are also represented in the “German Industry 4.0 Index”. Best Practice Day 2015: The leading Lean management congress in Europe
At the BestPractice Day 2015 from 8 to 10 June 2015 in Darmstadt, companies and leading Lean management experts report about their experiences on the path to developing successful value creation systems. A focus for 2015: Industry 4.0 and Lean. For more information about the event, please visit:

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