Manufacturers are facing an unprecedented economic crisis. Many of the 195 million jobs threatened by COVID-19 are in factories around the world. We need a serious reprioritisation of EU investments and policies for the short, medium and long-term. We can turn this massive business disruption into an opportunity for lasting, positive change in how the EU allocates funding and designs policies. European manufacturers deserve ambitious EU measures that truly give credit to their engineering creativity.
Please find below more details on our recommendations. Our members stand ready to discuss and share our expertise and experiences.
As we speak, many European manufacturers are facing COVID-induced liquidity problems. The digital transformation of industries will not slow down, but Europe’s preparedness is at risk. Training is paying the price for that, as critical in-house programmes are being put on hold.
The EU must immediately encourage the use of e-learning resources to keep training on digital skills for manufacturing running. It should target both shop-floor and office workers and strive to involve social partners, lest Europe’s ability to innovate will be at stake once this crisis recedes. We can’t lose ground as industry moves into the digital age.
We urge policymakers to:
All this would also support factory automation, which has emerged as an ally in keeping production running while protecting workers’ health. It must become the norm. The EU must support human-centric, easily implementable trainings that make the most out of robots on the shop floor.
COVID-19 has taught us that industry still needs to adapt to new ways of working and to more digitalised, remotely-monitored production processes. All medium and long-term energies of manufacturing policy-makers must then concentrate on digital transformation. Fast-tracking it is the single most relevant factor to reach pre COVID-19 productivity growth levels. We strongly believe the following areas and recommendations are key:
Training investment and policies
Dialogue among stakeholders