Mentions of industrial automation within the filings of companies in the power industry rose 95% between the second and third quarters of 2021. In total, the frequency of sentences related to industrial automation between October 2020 and September 2021 was 26% higher than in 2016 when GlobalData, from which our data for this article is taken, first began to track the key issues referred to in company filings.
When companies in the power industry publish annual and quarterly reports, ESG reports, and other filings, GlobalData analyses the text and identifies individual sentences that relate to disruptive forces facing companies in the coming years. Industrial automation is one of these topics – companies that excel and invest in these areas are thought to be better prepared for the future business landscape and better equipped to survive unforeseen challenges.
To assess whether industrial automation is featuring more in the summaries and strategies of companies in the power industry, two measures were calculated. Firstly, we looked at the percentage of companies that have mentioned industrial automation at least once in filings during the past 12 months – this was 74% compared to 61% in 2016. Secondly, we calculated the percentage of total analysed sentences that referred to industrial automation.
Of the 10 biggest employers in the power industry, ABB was the company that referred to industrial automation the most between October 2020 and September 2021. GlobalData identified 220 industrial automation-related sentences in the Switzerland-based company's filings – 3% of all sentences. Siemens mentioned industrial automation the second most – the issue was referred to in 2.1% of sentences in the company's filings.
Across all companies in the power industry, the filing published in the third quarter of 2021 which exhibited the greatest focus on industrial automation came from Siemens. Of the document's 3,472 sentences, 79 (2.3%) referred to industrial automation.
This analysis provides an approximate indication of which companies are focusing on industrial automation and how important the issue is considered within the power industry, but it also has limitations and should be interpreted carefully. For example, a company mentioning industrial automation more regularly is not necessarily proof that they are utilising new techniques or prioritising the issue, nor does it indicate whether the company's ventures into industrial automation have been successes or failures.
In the last quarter, companies in the power industry based in Western Europe were most likely to mention industrial automation, with 0.23% of sentences in company filings referring to the issue. In contrast, companies with their headquarters in Canada mentioned industrial automation in just 0.05% of sentences.