Boosting SME Productivity

To stay ahead in a competitive industry, every manufacturer needs to focus on increasing one thing - productivity. However, this often comes with additional strain on human resources, and brings inefficiencies into sharper relief.

What if manufacturers were able to increase their productivity per employee, without the burden of additional resource cost? This is exactly what the Ericsson Garage in Kista has achieved, through a suite of automation and digitalization tools to help SMEs keep an edge over competition.


A small or medium-sized company (SME) is defined as having a maximum of 250 employees and a turnover of up to EUR 50 million. Approximately 60% of all manufacturing industry employees in Europe work for an SME, while the value add of SMEs makes up about 45% of the manufacturing industry total.

They are often sub-contractors to larger companies, and tend to deliver small batches of a high number of commodities within short time windows. They generally also lack the efficiency and optimization that larger companies have, and rely instead upon managerial experience to get the most out of their resources.

In countries like Sweden, Germany and the USA where salary cost is a major overhead, increasing productivity per employee to stay competitive can come with unwanted cost burden. To work around this problem, Industry 4.0-focused enterprise are exploring automated and digital approaches that avoid unnecessary cost implications. 

Smart SME optimization

man with laptop

Working in collaboration with industry partners, the Ericsson Garage in Kista has developed a system for measuring productivity on individual machines and then use this data to optimize production flows.

By attaching a sensor-carrying device to each machine being monitored, the type of data collected can be tailored and prioritized in analysis, to get real-time feedback on what a machine is producing, how much of it, and when it is in service.

This can then be used to find bottle-necks in the production line and re-assign activities and tasks, optimizing the efficient usage of each machine and increasing overall productivity per employee without the need for wasteful extra resource.

By providing SMEs with the tools to make small batch production as optimal and efficient as possible, the productivity project in the Ericsson Garage Kista is creating a more sustainable model for the future of manufacturing, and moving society closer to Industry 4.0.

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