Dutch SMEs can keep up with the sector’s tremendous growth by focusing on digitization. This is what ING bank’s economists conclude in a recent sector update.

According to the local sector update, the growth of the Dutch tech industry — which includes giants like ASML and Philips — increased significantly in recent years. The productivity of these companies increased correspondingly. This is partly due to the large-scale implementation of digitization and robotization in the top segment. In the SME segment, however, productivity can still be increased considerably, say the experts.

Digital catch-up indispensable

The productivity of SMEs is regularly held back by complexity and a lack of personnel. According to ING’s specialists, a digital catch-up is necessary. This involves further automating factories with robots, using data analytics for insights into production processes and improving supply chains. Other technologies that can contribute include AI, 5G and even 6G.

The experts note that the deployment of technology is a long-term issue. For example, while IoT has been a concept for almost 20 years, implementing chips in devices can still take a long time. SMEs still face difficulty in connecting devices to the internet, unlocking the data generated and ultimately making sense of it.

Tips for digitization

ING’s experts propose three ways to give digitization a boost. Firstly, companies do well to invest in attracting technically skilled employees. Secondly, companies are advised to cooperate throughout the chain. Thirdly, companies do well to invest in research and development.