Report: 80% Say Smart Manufacturing is Key to Future Success

Adopting smart manufacturing technologies is a priority for success going forward in light of the pandemic for many manufacturing companies, according to the State of Smart Manufacturing, a survey from Troy’s Plex Systems that was released today.
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smart manufacturing illustration
More than 80 percent of companies named smart manufacturing a priority in light of the COVID-19 pandemic as employees continue to work from home. // Stock photo

Adopting smart manufacturing technologies is a priority for success going forward in light of the pandemic for many manufacturing companies, according to the State of Smart Manufacturing, a survey from Troy’s Plex Systems that was released today.

Of the 300 manufacturers surveyed, 83 percent said their companies needed to focus on smart manufacturing technologies and processes to help solve current issues, particularly those that heightened with the onset of the pandemic. Smart technology can help companies because it is not a one-size-fits-all solution and can be modified to help individual businesses meet their specific needs, says Bill Berutti, CEO of Plex Systems.

“The survey validates that smart manufacturing technologies are no longer a ‘nice to have’ nor a luxury item,” Berutti says. “They are imperative for businesses to survive.”

More than 60 percent of respondents said they planned to start using smart manufacturing within the next 12 months — a jump from the 23 percent who said this a year earlier.

Even more respondents said they understood the value of smart technology, regardless of whether they planned to start using it in the next year.

With the ongoing pandemic, respondents said the top three needs for smart manufacturing technology are to increase efficiency, improve supply chain agility, and support remote work. Just over 60 percent of manufacturers have seen a moderate or major reduction in workforce due to the pandemic. Almost half of manufacturers have said supply chain disruption has been an obstacle for growth.

Nearly three-fourths of manufacturers say they are beginning to use technology to automate processes and better connect their businesses.

Creative Foam, a company specializing in foams, nonwovens, and adhesives for the automotive industry, used smart technology to pivot its production to creating foam parts for ventilators in the early stages of the pandemic. The company has used the smart technology to since transition back to the automotive sector, even with the majority of its employees working remotely.

“Our cloud-based system is a huge advantage for us,” says Tareq Falah, vice president of 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.”

Plex’s sixth annual study surveyed nearly 300 manufacturers in various industries and was conducted with Hanover Research. The report is available for download here.

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