The future of Quebec companies will come through industry 4.0. SMEs are lagging behind in this shift. A situation that the Minister of the Economy, Pierre Fitzgibbon, absolutely wants to reverse.
He has invited more than 130 Quebec companies to accompany him to the Hannover Fair in Germany, which will be held from March 31 to April 5.
According to a report from a group of researchers from the Hautes Etudes Commerciales (HEC), productivity has stagnated in Quebec for thirty years and companies are lagging behind that could be fatal if the growth economy slowed down. “There is a productivity gap between Quebec companies and Canadian and international companies. And this delay is due to a lack of business investment in innovative equipment and digitization, “laments the Minister of Economy.
“Germany is a pioneer in this technology and a model for many countries. Quebec companies will be able to understand what this change means for their operations, “he continued.
To close this gap, Fitzgibbon believes it is up to the government to provide incentives, “what the former government did not do,” he denounces. “The economy is good. We have a favorable wind, we must take advantage. In Quebec, we have an ecosystem of SMEs, many of which are in the regions. We have to take care of our SMEs, especially those in the regions. ”
Investissement Québec already has programs to encourage innovation, but we will have to go further and faster, the minister insists. “You need consultants to do an audit to help SMEs recognize the benefits they can get.”
In order to be competitive with the rest of the world, companies will have to invest several thousand dollars. Knowing that some SMEs will not be able to afford to invest, Fitzgibbon is prepared to largely pay for these measures and put in place funding programs for the implementation of 4.0.
“We will share the risk, but we will also share the profit. The loan will be repayable only when the business makes a profit. If there is no profit, there will be a loss on our loan, but I’m willing to take that risk, “he said.
Without revealing the budget to be announced by the Quebec government on Thursday, Mr. Fitzgibbon is hopeful that he will have the money to invest in regional SMEs.
INDUSTRY 4.0, WHAT IS IT?
Industry 4.0, also known as the fourth industrial revolution, is characterized by intelligent automation and the integration of new digital technologies. We are talking here among others about robotics, augmented reality, 3D printing, and artificial intelligence. The key word is interconnection, that is, existing equipment and systems are paired with Internet use and data collection. Industry 4.0 will enable businesses to respond quickly to customer needs in a personalized way.