Sub-sector best prospects: Include the sub-sectors in which U.S. companies would have the best opportunity of exporting.
Last Published: 8/21/2017

In Poland, the term “Industry 4.0” is widely used as a synonym of advanced manufacturing and in common understanding it also includes innovation, research and development (R&D) or any other steps bringing the manufacturing or logistics to the next level. 

The reindustrialization has become one of the priorities for Europe, with the goal to increase the average level of industry in the EU GDP to 20% by the year 2020 from a mild 15.3% in 2014. The manufacturing industry in Poland is stronger than the EU average and at the end of 2015 it accounted for 23.4% of the GDP. The automotive industry itself accounts for 8% of the GDP and generates 13% of Polish exports.  While the Polish GDP grew 2.7% in 2016 and 3.8% in 2015, the gross value added of the industry growth reached 3.5% and 6.5% respectively.

Poland is in the very beginning of the development leading to the industry 4.0 era.  Only 6.0% of manufacturers declare that they have already begun the transformation process.  Some 65% of the industry is still at the 3.0 automation stage, with only 15% fully automated and 76% with not completed automation process.  It is worth notifying, that 14% of the manufacturing in Poland is still done manually.
International Federation of Robotics reports that Poland has one of the lowest level of robots in the Europe: 22 robots for 10 thousand industry employees, Poland is not only far below the 82 EU average but also way behind Central European countries. (Slovakia – 83, Czech Republic – 72, Hungary 47)
Per industry specialists, extensive investments in digital technologies are unavoidable and seen as the only way allowing Polish manufacturers to stay competitive on the domestic as well as international markets. A recent report by PwC indicates that during the period of 5 years after implementing digital technologies, manufacturers’ income increase by 2.9% while the cost decrease by 3.6%.  Such investments allow the use of simulation methods which shorten the time needed for preparing or altering products production, increase energy effectiveness, optimize use of materials, and facilitate the interaction with suppliers and clients. Internet of Things (IoT) sensors would allow enhancing production with monitoring and maintenance services. 
McKinsey estimates that over the next ten years the digitization of the industry could increase the value added of the Polish industry by 11-19 percent, which could bring additional USD 6 - 10 billion.  This increase will be a result of implemented advanced management of the industry and logistics, the use of predictive models and intelligent quality processes. The investments are necessary as the companies face workforce hiring problems and labor costs keep increasing.  Conversely, McKinsey observes that even the manufacturers who have not automated their production could catch up with their competition if they invest in the automation and digitization simultaneously. 
Recent analysis of Boston Consulting Group and Microsoft shows that small and medium size companies using mobile and cloud solutions develop at average at 26% and increase employment by 8% a year while the companies that did not implement digitization of processes note only 6% income increase and 1% decrease of employment.
Poland is an active member of an informal “Industry Friends” Group of over 20 EU countries, aiming at the 2017 industry priorities discussed in 2017 were industry digitization, electro-mobility, common trade policy and sustainable development and EU strategy towards third countries. 

The Polish government has recognized the need to prepare for the industry 4.0 revolution as inactivity could result in marginalization of the Polish industry.  The government’s industrial policy focuses on intelligent reindustrialization which will boost a development of new emerging industries based on digital technologies, innovation, and employing a highly skilled workforce. A newly introduced Innovation Law stimulates the transformation through tax incentives and robust grant systems for research and innovation activities and applying them in the industry.  The government sees the digital infrastructure as a pillar of industry 4.0 development and declares further investments in the optical, fast internet infrastructure, and the construction of 5G networks as soon as the technology becomes available, with the understanding that the infrastructure is indispensable for the development of all the elements which are a part of the progress toward the industry 4.0, such as Cloud Services, Big Data, and IoT. 
In May 2017, the Ministry of Economic Development established the Polish Industry 4.0 Platform Foundation (Polska Platforma Przemysłu 4.0).  The Platform, to be launched in early 2018, will integrate and coordinate efforts of all organizations, public and private, toward the industry transformation through information, competency and technology support to enterprises, facilitating easy access to technologies and know-how. The Platform will especially focus on standards, development of intelligent specialization in industry, digital industry support; Intelligent software and data processing; education and staffing; legal framework and ICT sector activity.  The Platform will also incorporate Industry 4.0 competence centers for vertical industries, established as joint ventures by the industry, business and science organizations.
The government is also working on establishing a National Technology Institute (NIT), which will bring together the best Polish research institutes and implement complex interdisciplinary projects in strategic areas such as biotechnologies, modern materials and energy.
For over a year, the industry PMI indicator for Poland has been oscillating around 53 points, which reflects positive industry trends in the country.  The year 2017 marks a substantial increase of industry manufacturing, especially the machinery and equipment as well as electrical equipment.  According to the Polish Central Statistical Office (GUS), as many as 66.3% of industrial companies were planning to invest this year, compared to 45.6% in 2016.
The introduction of new technologies will be especially visible in the aviation, defense and automotive industries, as Polish suppliers are already in a large part integrated into the manufacturers’ supply chain, and must meet their technical and technology requirements.  The industry 4.0 concept also spreads to logistics and storage operators. 

Leading Sub-Sectors
The most promising industry sectors from the Industry 4.0 perspective are automotive and aviation manufacturing followed by the pharmaceutical, medical and household appliances.  

Recent analyses of the competitive global industry markets indicate Poland’s strong position and good prospects for future investments in the industrial automation and manufacturing technology.  The subsectors include:

  • Sensors and Instruments;
  • Electric Motors and Actuators;
  • Electrical Relays and Industrial Control Equipment;
  • Material Handling Equipment;
  • Industrial Robots, including those used in spot welding, sorting, palletizing, painting;
  • Machine Tools for cutting metal and for forming metal pieces;
  • Machine Tools Parts, both OEM and after-market;
  • Tools, Dies, Jigs and Fixtures for manufacturing applications;
  • Welding and Soldering Equipment;
  • Plastics and Rubber Manufacturing Equipment;
  • Industrial Molds;
  • Addictive manufacturing equipment. 

There are also good prospects for IoT, advanced analytic, virtual reality and augmented reality solutions as well as general implementation of innovative solutions as the key elements toward the industry 4.0 development.

Web Resources

Trade events:
Robotech Robotics Technology Conference
Wroclaw, September 19, 2017
Toolex International Fair of Machine Tools, Tools and Processing Technology
Katowice, October 3-5, 2017
Automaticon International Fair Industry Automation
Warsaw, March 20-23, 2018
Przemysł 4.0 Conference
Warsaw, April 10, 2018
TOOLEX International Fair of Machine Tools, Tools and Processing Technology
Sosnowiec, October 3 – 5, 2017
ITM Polska Innovation, Technologies, Machines
Poznan, June 5-8, 2018
Mach-Tool, International Machine Tool Exhibition
Poznan, June 5-8,  2018

For more information about Advanced Manufacturing, lease contact:
U.S. Commercial Service Poland
Commercial Specialist: Maria Kowalska


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Poland Trade Development and Promotion