Survey reveals manufacturers embracing digital manufacturing even before COVID
The level of Industrial IoT adoption has increased three times than just two years ago, according to SME-Plataine’s joint survey, titled Trends in Global Manufacturing. The survey was conducted before the COVID-driven shutdown in the spring of 2020, and indicates significant progress towards widespread implementation of digital manufacturing.
Some of the key findings of the survey include:
- 84% of respondents are currently implementing or evaluating digital manufacturing strategies, whereas only 27% were doing so in 2018.
- Similarly, in 2020 only 12% respondents were not interested in implementing digital strategies, compared with 55% in 2018.
- Respondents who participated in the 2020 survey indicated their companies are making strides to become digital. 41% of respondents indicated their companies are at least "mostly digital" in 2020, up from 26% back in 2018.
The unique Industry 4.0 and IIoT survey was completed by nearly 200 C-level executives from multiple manufacturing industries including aerospace, metals, furniture, medical equipment and others. The survey was designed to help advanced manufacturing managers gain significant competitive advantages by harnessing technology to strengthen and improve the capabilities of workers and managers, speed the pace of innovation and lower the costs of production and maintenance.
“Digital transformation is vital to manufacturers' ongoing success,” said Sandra L. Bouckley, FSME, P.Eng., executive director and CEO, SME. “These survey results underscore that the transition to digital manufacturing was well underway even before COVID-19 — if anything, the pandemic is only accelerating an established trend — and that competitive advantage can only be maintained by embracing digital innovation.”
The survey, conducted with a group of industry leaders (27% of respondents), showed clear trends that set their enterprises apart: 69% have implemented or are implementing Industry 4.0 solutions versus 48% of late adopters. 58% are fully and mostly digital versus 35% of late adopters.
Respondents see the following technologies as a very important factor to their future success: 69% included big data analytics and 66% included Industrial IoT Autonomous robots and sensors are also seen as an evolving trend among 56% of respondents.
The survey results present a significant increase in adoption of Industry 4.0 technologies, mostly associated with market leaders. More than 66% of respondents find Industrial IoT as a very important part of the future of their company's success.
54% of advanced manufacturers pointed out that their main challenge is to lower production costs. 51% are looking to improve on-time delivery and to estimate delays.
Avner Ben-Bassat, president and CEO of Plataine, adds: “Plataine is proud to collaborate with SME once again on this survey. We’re seeing a significant increase in global adoption of Industry 4.0 technologies since our previous survey in 2018. The market is adapting to the changes and decision makers keep up the pace and onboard innovative technologies, driving increased agility and improved efficiencies.”