Digital Transformation of the Industry: The Franco-German Challenge Notes du Cerfa, No. 145, Ifri, December 2018
The issue of the digital transformation of the industry provoked in France as in Germany the return of the state and the introduction of a subsidiary industrial policy. Feeling threatened in its industrial leadership, Germany mobilized its resources through industry 4.0 by building a vision around the concept of “cyber-physical system” before developing in each Land an accompanying offer. France has forged the concept of the industry of the future by following a logic of modernization of the production tool, reinforcing particularly the automation and building on the integration of new technological bricks.
Both countries now have an accompanying infrastructure in their respective territories. The stakes of the 4.0 industry for production systems, work organization, trades, skills, and employment are anticipated through dialogue and consultation processes.
But beyond the limits of each plant, the digitalization of industry will radically change the distribution of power within the branches and streams between suppliers, subcontractors and ICT providers. This issue culminates in the rise of industrial service platforms that will become an essential infrastructure for the economy. However, the scale effects of these platforms are largely captured by the infrastructure providers dominated by the GAFAM (Google, Apple, Facebook, Amazon, and Microsoft).
Facing these challenges, the Franco-German cooperation can intensify around three key axes: the regulation of platform players to build a competitive market, the development of the levers of relational competitiveness and common thinking and action on the future of work.
This publication is also available in French: Transformation numérique de l'industrie : l'enjeu franco-allemand.