Cloud computing and tracking systems – these are no longer foreign words in craft businesses. The corona pandemic has also further accelerated the trend towards digitization.

Skilled trades in Germany are increasingly using digital tools and working methods.

Two thirds (68 percent) of all craft businesses in Germany use digital technologies and applications. This is the result of a current representative survey of 503 craft businesses in Germany, which was carried out on behalf of the Bitkom digital association and the German Confederation of Skilled Crafts (ZDH) and was published in Berlin on Friday. Two years ago, the figure was 15 percentage points lower (53 percent).

Companies most frequently rely on cloud computing, i.e. the use of storage space and computing power via the Internet. 45 percent are already using the cloud, and another 26 percent are planning to use it. In second place are tracking systems with which machines and equipment can be tracked. Every seventh company (15 percent) uses such tracking systems, and 20 percent have planned to use them.

The study also identified greater potential for the topic of predictive maintenance. To date, only 14 percent use such systems, in which impending failures are detected early with the help of sensors and data analysis. However, 23 percent plan to use systems that independently recognize the need for maintenance. The trend topics of artificial intelligence and virtual or augmented reality (VR/AR), on the other hand, are virtually non-existent in the trades. Only one percent of companies are already using AI, with AR/VR the figure is three percent.

For more than half of the craft businesses (56 percent), digitization has gained in importance, particularly as a result of the corona pandemic. 20 percent say that digitization has been significantly accelerated by the pandemic, 36 percent believe that the topic has “rather gained in importance”.

Despite the increasing digitization in communication, the fax is not disappearing from the craft businesses. Although 99 percent of all companies surveyed use e-mail for external communication, 77 percent still fax customers and suppliers.