Germany | Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung | 01 April 2015

Smart services follow up digital production

Connectivity and smart solutions are the current big economic trend topics. Critics in Germany complain that the proceeding of Industry 4.0 is by far too unstructured. While most small businesses declare that industry 4.0 (smart production) is a completely new challenge for them, large-scale industry already proclaims to be in the post-industry-4.0 era. Markus Achtert, leader of the Competence Center Engineering & Manufacturing of Arthur D. Little, points out that industry 4.0 must no longer be considered only a technical or production topic. The new methods need to be implemented in all distributions of a company, such as marketing, research and development, and services. In general, the new technologies create a whole new field of services for companies to invest in. On the other hand, many German producers are afraid of the competitors that are growing around the digitalization topic. An example involves recent rumors about Apple's plans to design a car.

Energy & Utilities UK | The Energy Industry Times | 01 April 2015

The Fall and Rise of Gas

Gas use for power generation in Europe has fallen dramatically in recent years, by 13% from 2005 to 2014.  Gas use in the power generation sector represents 90% of this drop, or around 50 bcm.  Current total gas demand forecasts are for low single figure growth for annual consumption over the next decade, although peak demand is expected to grow faster. This dramatic change is due to a combination of economics and policy interventions.  In this article, a guest feature written by Kirsty Ingham and Yvonne Fuller at Arthur D. Little, the authors analyse the causes and prospects for the future.

Consumer Goods Austria | Wirtschaftsblatt | 31 March 2015

H&M significantly increases profits

In Austria, Swedish fashion retailer H&M is looking back on its most successful year in recent history. In 2014 the company’s annual surplus was €18 million, an increase of 44% compared to 2013. In the next quarter H&M Austria expects another slight growth in revenues. The good result is surprising to many experts because the fashion environment is becoming more and more competitive. In particular, the low prize segment makes it difficult for established companies such as H&M to maintain their market positions. Furthermore, online shops are attracting a growing number of customers.

Lars Riegel, a retail expert at Arthur D. Little, points out that the cooperation between H&M and leading star designers is a good way to create a unique brand and differentiate from competitors. He believes that presence at big fashion shows, such as in Paris, is mandatory for H&M. He also advises that H&M expand its online business. Worldwide internationalization is another key factor for a successful future.

Technology & Innovation Management Germany | Manager Magazin | 31 March 2015

China plans a giant solar panel in space

Chinese scientists are planning the biggest space project in the history of mankind. According to Xinhua, the official news agency of the People’s Republic, Chinese engineers plan to send a solar panel 36 kilometres above ground. The energy produced is to be sent down to earth via laser. Ecology is becoming more and more important in China, and the space power station is considered a milestone in tackling smog and pollution. An energy station in space would be able to produce around 10 times more energy than solar stations on earth because the weather would no longer be an obstacle. Nevertheless, many experts are skeptical: The planned station would weigh around 100 tons. Currently it is hardly possible to send 10 tons into orbit.

The idea itself is not new. Science fiction author Isaac Asimov described a similar project in his short story, “Reason”, in 1941. Peter E. Glaser, former Vice President for Advanced Technology at Arthur D. Little, worked on a similar project for years during the 1970s. Glaser received financial support from NASA.

Automotive Germany | Wolfsburger Allgemeine Zeitung | 26 March 2015

VW is producing at the limit

Volkswagen’s main factory in Wolfsburg again has the highest degree of capacity usage among German car factories. In the last quarter of 2015, around 225 cars were produced in Wolfsburg. The latest Arthur D. Little Automotive Quarterly newsletter points out that the VW factories are producing close to their capacity limit. The company therefore plans to use more high-tech robots in the future. With 94% capacity usage, VW Wolfsburg has reached the maximum value among German producers. The average value in Germany is around 73%. Volkswagen itself still has potential. Its factories in Hanover and Emden, for example, have more available capacity than the factory in Wolfsburg.

Technology & Innovation Management UK | Growth Business | 22 March 2015

Establishing a pipeline of breakthrough innovation

Innovation is key not only for starting a business but also staying ahead on the pack. It is increasingly important for companies to be able to deliver a pipeline of breakthrough (or radical) innovations in order to respond to emerging competition, disruptions to core business, and increasing customer power. Yet despite this, nearly all companies are unsatisfied with their efforts to date. In this article, a guest feature written by Fredrik Härenstam, Ben Thuriaux-Alemán and Richard Eagar at Arthur D. Little (ADL), the authors discuss the results of a survey they conducted on more than 80 large organisations to explore best practices in this area.

Healthcare Germany | CHEManager | 19 March 2015

Growth vs. Slimming diet

The global pharmacy market in 2014 saw a vast number of mergers and acquisitions. Many big deals were closed, especially with global players. Among these mergers and acquisitions one could witness strong focus on therapy technologies in different fields. There was also strong organic growth: with 40 new admissions in 2014, the FDA set a new record. Dr. Thilo Kaltenbach, leader of the Arthur D. Little Healthcare Practice, explains how medium-sized and small companies in particular were keen to develop innovative new therapies and technologies. For smaller companies that own rights, it was a tough decision whether to sell their rights to bigger players or bring the products to the market themselves. Arthur D. Little experts found that the choice of the right “fit-for-purpose commercial and operational model” determines the success of those actions.

Energy & Utilities UK | Oil and Gas Connect | 15 March 2015

Delivering the Promises, with Lower Oil Prices

One might believe that there is nothing new to be learnt in terms of managing assets, and the associated supply chain in oil and gas, that operational efficiency must be as good as it can be, and that the industry is well capable of being highly competitive. And yet, as oil prices plunge, the industry yet again has to deal with unprecedented change. In this article, a guest feature written by Russell Pell at Arthur D. Little, Russell discusses why the entire industry is under pressure and the importance of producers being efficient to stay in business.

Energy & Utilities UK | Wind and Wave Connect | 15 March 2015

Strategies for Success in the Wind Industry

Despite strong industry growth, the past few years have been challenging ones for the wind industry. A combination of slowdowns in some of the major markets, production overcapacity, reduced subsidies and the financial crisis caused margins to be depressed and a number of businesses to run into difficulty. However, the last couple of years have seen a turnaround by some of the major players, as new technologies have expanded the range of market opportunities and new business approaches have strengthened financial performance. In this article, a guest feature written by Robin Francis at Arthur D. Little, Robin reviews the current state of the industry, examines the strategies major players have used to strengthen their positions, and draws some lessons regarding key factors for success.

Energy & Utilities Germany | Finanznachrichten.de | 12 March 2015

Lignite power is the most important domestic source of energy

The German energy transition is heating up the debate regarding how best to ensure an affordable and sustainable energy supply. Arthur D. Little recently published a new study which proves that lignite power is currently the most important domestic source of energy in Germany. The report says that 42% of Germany’s domestic energy was produced with lignite whereas renewable energies only produced 37%. Germany currently covers 70% of its energy requirements with imports of oil and gas. Lignite currently produces 12% of the German overall consumption. The report revealed that 54% of the German population are against a shutdown of lignite-fired power stations and an Insa Consulere study found that people see lignite energy as a chance for more independence from Russian oil and gas supply. The Arthur D. Little study confirms the increasing importance of lignite for the German market.

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