Mentions of industrial automation within the filings of companies in the railway industry were 23% lower in the third quarter of 2021 than in Q3 of 2020.

In total, the frequency of sentences related to industrial automation between October 2020 and September 2021 was 73% higher than in 2016 when GlobalData, from whom our data for this article is taken, first began to track the key issues referred to in company filings.

When companies in the railway 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 railway industry, two measures were calculated. Firstly, we looked at the percentage of companies which have mentioned industrial automation at least once in filings during the past twelve months - this was 63% compared to 42% in 2016. Secondly, we calculated the percentage of total analysed sentences that referred to industrial automation.

Of the 10 biggest employers in the railway industry, Royal Mail Plc was the company which referred to industrial automation the most between October 2020 and September 2021. GlobalData identified 49 industrial automation-related sentences in the United Kingdom-based company's filings - 0.3% of all sentences. Yamato Holdings Co Ltd mentioned industrial automation the second most - the issue was also referred to in 0.3% of sentences in the company's filings. Other top employers with high industrial automation mentions included DSV Panalpina AS, Poste Italiane Group and FedEx Corp.

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By GlobalData

Across all companies in the railway industry the filing published in the third quarter of 2021 which exhibited the greatest focus on industrial automation came from Korea Shipbuilding & Offshore Engineering Co Ltd. Of the document's 1,304 sentences, seven (0.5%) 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 railway 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 railway industry based in the United States were most likely to mention industrial automation with 0.22% of sentences in company filings referring to the issue. In contrast, companies with their headquarters in Asia mentioned industrial automation in just 0.05% of sentences.