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Transport equipment manufacturing

Download the full study reports:

Quantitative report
(May 2004, pdf, 1.0 MB)

Qualitative report : Key issues, case studies, conclusions
(Aug. 2004, pdf, 1.1 MB)

Profile & Background

The transport equipment manufacturing (TEM) sector, as defined by the e-Business W@tch, contains the following two NACE Rev. 1.1 divisions:

NACE Rev. 1.1 business activities
34 Manufacture of motor vehicles, trailers and semi-trailers
35 Manufacture of other transport equipment

Where­as the automotive or car industry (NACE 34) consists of closely interrelated firms, the shipyards, the railway equipment industry, the aircraft and spacecraft industries (NACE 35) operate in markets with different profiles. The role of these industries is key for the European economy in general, as they are major purchasers of raw and semi-processed materials, intermediary products and services, including basic metals, metal products, chemicals, rubber, plastic, electronics, electrical machinery, busi­ness and financial services.

In 2001, the production value of TEM was about € 731 billion, with 96% originating from the then EU-15 where the industry provided jobs for about 2.6 million people. The remaining 4% originated from the 10 states that joined the EU in 2004. In some of these countries, like the Czech Republic and Slovakia, the industry is an important employer (Source: Eurostat / DIW).

As a whole, TEM is characterised by an ex­treme­ly high degree of concentration. In the automotive industry of the EU-15, for example, only 5.6% of all enterprises had more than 250 employees, but these large firms accounted in 2001 for more than 80% of the total sector employment.

E-Business Activity

The level of information and communication tech­nologies (ICT) infrastructure and e-business activity is very high in TEM, especially when compared to most other sectors studied by the e-Business  W@tch  in  2004. In fact, internet access and the use of standard functions, such as e-mail and internet browsing have almost reached saturation levels: 99% of employees work in companies that have Internet access and use e-mail, and 81% in companies that use an Intranet.

Online procurement and supply chain inte­gra-tion are key application areas for e-business in TEM. In 2003, 30% of firms (representing 65% of sector employment) responded to the e-Business W@tch survey that they had purchased online. Four in five of these companies said that they were buying from suppliers' web­sites, while about a quarter also used B2B marketplaces and/or extranets. With EDI being mainly used by large companies, about 14% of all firms (weighted by employment) reported that they had elec­tronically integrated the supply chain by linking their ICT system with that of a supplier.

On the other hand, with less than 10% of all companies offering their products online, the level of electronic marketing and selling activity in the TEM sector is low, particularly in comparison with the intensive use in procurement and supply chain processes. The differences in the character of the various sub-sectors in TEM are clearly reflected in this respect: in the railway and shipbuilding industries, the use of tools designed to address large customer groups, such as Internet-shops, do not play a significant role on the sales side. In the car industry, although potential customers frequently use such facilities, they access them mainly for information and comparison purposes but not to conclude a purchase.

Considering the complex supply chain in TEM, collaborative online applications would also be expected to play an important role in this sector. However, this was not apparent in the 2003 e-Business Survey results: 12% of companies reported using online techn­ology for collaborative product de­sign, a percentage similar to the aver­age of the other sectors studied by e-Business W@tch. The same also applied to collaborative de­mand forecast (8%), capacity management (10%) and online contract negotiation (13%).

In terms of internal business process integration, enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems are some of the most commonly used applications in this sector (72% of firms, weighted by employment). The adoption rate, however, clearly increases with company size: while only about 10% of small firms have such a system, about 30% of medium-sized and nearly 80% of large companies are ERP users.

References to the sub-sectors