The manufacturing sector is a key contributor to Ireland’s economy, accounting for a third of GDP and 235,000 direct jobs, and with an estimated further 200,000 jobs indirectly attributed to the sector.
However, we are also aware of the disruptive change underway in manufacturing globally related to the digital transformation of the sector, a concept referred to as Industry 4.0.
From a macroeconomic perspective, Industry 4.0 offers significant opportunity for driving productivity and growth in economies internationally. However, appropriate framework conditions need to be in place in Ireland to support the digital transformation. Furthermore, manufacturing firms and their supply chains need to invest in Industry 4.0 to remain competitive.
It is within this context that my Department is developing an Industry 4.0 strategy. The strategy is being informed by independent research and analysis undertaken on behalf of my Department and which included extensive consultation with industry stakeholders. A vision and set of goals for the strategy have been developed and my Department is now considering the strategic actions that need to be taken, and how initiatives and schemes already in place in Ireland can be leveraged towards achieving the strategy goals.
I plan to publish Ireland’s Industry 4.0 Strategy later this year.