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Hungarian-owned auto firms less interested in digitalization

Hungarian-owned automotive companies think that digitalization is less important than foreign-owned concerns in the same field, according to a survey conducted by enterprise software developer SAP Hungary and autopro.hu, a website for local automotive manufacturers and suppliers.

The joint online research of autopro.hu and SAP was conducted in August, surveying local automotive companies. A large portion of surveyed automotive firms operating in Hungary (70%) claimed they already have a vision for the use of digital solutions, while a further 12% said they plan to develop one in the near future.

Most respondents use ERP (enterprise resource planning) systems, with which they are generally satisfied. The most popular choices are standard solutions, which tend to be connected with other sub-systems involved in production, logistics, financial, and controlling, the study found.

The research reveals that among companies that do not use ERP systems, Hungarian-owned companies are overrepresented, just as in the case of companies without a digital vision.

E-billing is the most commonly used digital tool, used by about half of the surveyed companies. Electronic sales, digital products and services are also relatively common. The firms that utilize the most advanced IT solutions use robotics, predictive maintenance, IoT, and M2M communications in their everyday operations. In production and logistics, and sometimes quality control, advanced sensor technology is also present.

The research shows that personal connections, professional events and the internet are the most common ways company professionals learn about new technologies, while also getting a significant amount of information from their parent companies.

Most firms aim to achieve digital advancement internally, the study found, with most seeking help from an external organization only as a secondary option. About a third of those surveyed expect to receive state aid in the form of tenders, training and programs.

The automotive industry is one of the largest sectors in Hungary, representing around 20% of exports, and securing 170,000 jobs. The industryʼs output stood at more than HUF 8 trillion last year. A steady growth of around 10% is expected this year.

"This means that it is critical for domestic players not to fall behind foreign competition," emphasized Dávid Giber, sector lead at SAP Hungary. "Major suppliers are increasingly digitalized: it is a fact that cannot be overlooked either by new companies entering the market, or by established ones that wish to keep or improve their position."