This year’s study, which was conducted in collaboration with Hanover Research, highlights how manufacturers use smart technology to tackle today’s challenges and drive measurable ROI, and are positioned to take advantage of future opportunities.
The findings demonstrate a need for smart manufacturing technology to address current challenges, including those heightened by the COVID-19 pandemic. In fact, 83% of manufacturers say the pandemic has made adopting smart manufacturing technologies and processes a priority.
For example, Creative Foam, an expert in foams, non-wovens and adhesives for the automotive industry, pivoted its production lines from manufacturing automotive foam to manufacturing parts for ventilators.
Because they already had a cloud-based smart manufacturing solution, the Creative Foam team confidently pivoted their production to create in-demand foam components for ventilators all while many team members worked remotely. Since then, the company has pivoted back to its pre-COVID product focus seamlessly.
“Our cloud-based system is a huge advantage for us,” said Tareq Falah, VP, IT/IS at Creative Foam. “We don’t have to worry about having folks in the buildings to secure that on-premise hardware, to make sure the redundant power systems are available, to secure that infrastructure.”
“The survey validates that smart manufacturing technologies are no longer a ‘nice to have’ nor a luxury item; they are imperative for businesses to survive,” added Bill Berutti, Plex Systems CEO. “Smart manufacturing is powerful and transformative, but there are multiple ways to adopt these technologies based on individual business needs and work culture.”
“With flexible platforms and connected plant floor solutions, manufacturers can target their most urgent needs and deploy technology that will drive real and immediate value for their organization,” said Berutti.
The survey additionally found:
- Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the top three needs for smart manufacturing technology are to increase efficiency, improve supply chain agility, and support remote work.
- Nearly three-fourths of the survey respondents are beginning to use technology to better connect the business, automate processes, and gain valuable business insights.
- A 100%+ growth in adoption of key technologies (e.g., Industrial IoT, smart devices, machine learning, RPA, cobots) in just the past year; proving that many smart manufacturing technologies have moved through the early “overhype” phases of adoption and are now considered mainstream.