Industry 4.0 technologies is helping Italian manufacturers of printing, packaging and converting machines (which export about 60% of their output) continue to provide assistance and maintenance services, even abroad, despite the COVID-19 situation according to Acimga (the Italian association representing manufacturers of machinery for the graphic, paper and converting industry).
“It is a difficult scenario,” said Aldo Peretti, president of Acimga. “Our technicians and sales agents are unable to travel. Fortunately, in view of the Industry 4.0 many companies have long equipped themselves to provide remote assistance. Many Italian machines are equipped with remote monitoring sensors, and several companies have predictive maintenance programs to avoid blocking production and pre-empt breakdowns"
Early survey data collected by Acimga shows that about two in three companies report no increase in staff absence rates due to illness, strikes or difficulties in getting to work. Almost nine in ten companies did not resort to furlough. However, numbers could go up if the crisis continues (50% intend to resort to social safety nets in this scenario).
The situation is different in regards to machinery manufacturing. About one in three companies are seeing a reduction in production from 50 to 75% - one in four report a slow-down ranging from 25 to 50%. On the other hand, about one in ten have had no repercussions and one in three are experiencing only a slight drop in production (from 0 to 25%). This apparent contradiction between staff presence and production capacity can be explained by a decrease in orders, the difficulty in reaching customers inside and outside national borders, and a reduction in incoming buyers from abroad. In this scenario, half of companies are suffering a drop in revenues of at least 20%, one in four report no major impact on the balance sheet while 19% are experiencing substantial losses (at least 50% of revenues). However, the situation is widely expected to grow worse should the crisis last for an entire quarter - 94% of interviewees believe that in that case losses could range from at least 20% to at least 50% of total revenues.