Académie des technologies

Industry of the Future: The Ramp-up in Technological Competencies of SMEs. The Case of Industrial Companies

The report of the National Academy of Technologies of France on the industry of the future, as well as a number of economic studies, show that large French industrial companies are progressing well, and that on the whole the major industrial customers and their first-level suppliers have had positive operating results. ISEs, of which there are still not enough, and most SMEs, which have been able to adapt their strategic positioning and upgrade their industrial facilities, are performing well. However, a considerable number of SMEs and VSEs (or MICs) are not in this enviable position and this subject is at the centre of this report.

The ability to reinforce the competitiveness of industrial SMEs does obviously depend on the continuous improvement of their competencies.
How can we increase the competitiveness of the many industrial SMEs that are on the brink of shutting down business? Is it perhaps already too late for many of them? Are we at the edge of a massive extinction of the “species” of small industrial companies? Some people doubt that there is any point in supporting just the existing competencies with digital tools without going any further by adding the new ones that are needed in the digital age.

The recommendations formulated in the report of the Academy on the industry of the future remain valid.

The main targets adressed are to be found at any of the three levels of the ecosystem: national, regional, subregional or local. They have four objectives, the first leading to the other three:

  • accelerate the ongoing transformation of the industrial fabric;
  • ensure consistency and simplify the systems, with a single body in charge at each level of the ecosystem;
  • create synergy for all the actors of the transformation of the industrial fabric, associate the technological and the non-technological aspects;
  • network the business leaders.