If Dutch industry is to survive, it must be more accommodating in response to an increasingly and rapidly changing world. Companies must have access to the very latest technologies to be able to fulfil the requirements of customers worldwide. So FME, the Ministry of Economic Affairs, TNO, VNO-NCW and the new Chamber of Commerce have joined forces with companies to make a survey of the international and technological ICT trends in an effort to get industry ‘fit for the future’. The idea is to gain better insight into the impact that global technological developments have on Dutch industry. The initial focus is high-tech, chemical engineering, agrofood and possibly other sectors.
ICT has penetrated deeply into our daily lives, a trend that will only increase. The same trend is happening in the production environment. It is up to the Netherlands to make optimum use of the new technologies to keep production internationally competitive in the future. The industrial organisations are focusing on more productive manufacture in ‘smart factories’ using intelligent, efficient, zero-defect processes and new production technologies. The initiators share the aim of enabling Dutch industry to excel among the world’s elite.
This survey is an initial step, identifying global trends along with the opportunities they give and threats they pose to Dutch industry. A list will also be generated of the activities already being undertaken by government departments, authorities and industrial sectors, plus the areas that need to be supplemented. The initiative has received broad backing from industry, knowledge and research institutions as well as regional development agencies. Future-oriented industry is inseparable from the country’s top sectors policy. In the ICT breakthrough project ‘Ambitious SMEs use ICT to Innovate’, a PPS approach is already being developed by industry, research and government to put ICT technology into practice right away.
The Netherlands is this year’s partner country for the Hannover Messe from 7 to 11 April, the world’s largest industrial trade fair. Its theme is “Integrated Industry – next steps”. This trade fair is the perfect platform for the Netherlands to show where it currently stands in the field of smart industry and what our ambitions are.