Always a step ahead

Sustainability initiative: Forecasting

For a company to hold their ground in global competition, they must identify and exploit future potential for success at an early stage. To do so, they must anticipate developments in markets, technologies and business environments. This is known as forecasting. However, many companies do not yet use this systematically, and rely instead on updating established innovative concepts and a high level of responsiveness. This is insufficient, particularly in the field of intelligent technical systems. In light of dynamic technology and market developments, as well as the increasing complexity of products and production systems, companies need a reliable, long-term forecast for how to design intelligent technical systems in the future, particularly with regard to customer requirements, performance features, the potential of new technologies and changes in the markets.

The aim of the sustainability measure is to develop a database and platform that companies can use for effective and efficient forecasting, enabling them to draw the necessary conclusions for future business, product and technology strategies in the field of intelligent technical systems. This involves adapting existing forecasting methods – such as scenario analysis and corporate foresight – to the specific requirements of the cluster.

To that end, influencing factors such as energy consumption and user-friendliness, as well as the various opportunities for developing these, are analyzed for target markets in mechanical engineering, automotive engineering and the energy industry, and then compiled into a database. Methods are also developed that allow new influences to be identified at an early stage – multimedia scanning of scientific publications, for example, or a trend and technology radar. The next step is to create and regularly monitor a roadmap for intelligent technical systems, including concrete indicators with regard to opportunities for developing factors of influence. The results and methods are validated through concrete projects involving cluster companies, and then made available for use on the internet platform Companies are trained for this through a specially designed workshop program.

The comprehensive database and practical methods give companies a lasting ability to carry out their own forecasting and to develop successful business, product and technology strategies. This ensures that they can continue to successfully hold their ground on global markets in the future. The data and methods are disseminated outside the cluster by engineering firms and further education programs.

Project duration
01 October 2012 - 30 June 2017