Report: Manufacturing Industry’s IoT Adoption Triples

A newly-released survey on manufacturing shows three times the level of industrial internet of things adoption and interest than two years ago.
smart factory
A survey by SME and Plataine shows increased internet of things and Industry 4.0 adoption among manufacturers in the U.S. // Stock photo

A newly-released survey on manufacturing shows three times the level of industrial internet of things adoption and interest than two years ago.

The survey, “Trends in Global Manufacturing” was conducted before the COVID-19 pandemic reached the U.S. by Southfield-based SME, a professional association that works to advance manufacturing professionals, academia, and communities, and Plataine, a Massachusetts-based provider of industrial internet of things and artificial intelligence-based optimization solutions.

About 84 percent of respondents reported they were either currently implementing or evaluating digital manufacturing strategies compared to 27 percent in 2018. In 2020, 12 percent of respondents said they were not interested in implementing digital strategies, compared to 55 percent in 2018.

In the 2020 survey, 41 percent of respondents said their companies were at least “mostly digital,” up from 26 percent in 2018.

Nearly 200 C-level executives from multiple manufacturing industries including aerospace, metals, furniture, medical equipment, and more were surveyed.

“Digital transformation is vital to manufacturers’ ongoing success,” says Sandra L. Bouckley, executive director and CEO of 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.”

In the survey, 27 percent of respondents qualified as industry leaders. They showed clear trends that set their enterprises apart: 69 percent of them have implemented or are implementing Industry 4.0 solutions, versus 48 percent of companies that have not yet implemented the technology. Also, 58 percent reported being fully and mostly digital versus 35 percent of later adopters.

Of the respondents, 69 percent saw big data analytics as a very important factor to their future success, while 66 percent said industrial internet of things autonomous robots were important to their success. About 56 percent saw sensors as an evolving trend.

The survey results present a significant increase in adoption of Industry 4.0 technologies, mostly associated with market leaders. More than 66 percent of respondents find industrial internet of things as an important part of the future of their companies’ success.

About 54 percent of advanced manufacturers pointed out that their main challenge is to lower production costs, while about 51 percent are looking to improve on-time delivery and to estimate delays.

“Plataine is proud to collaborate with SME once again on this survey,” says Avner Ben-Bassat, president and CEO of Plataine. “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.”

The full report is available here.