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Automotive Manufacturing Is More Resilient Than Ever

State of Smart Manufacturing, Smart Manufacturing
June 8, 2022

When production halted in 2020, automotive suppliers and OEMs showcased their business agility by banding together and pivoting to develop much-needed supplies for frontline workers. Ford Motor Company produced clear plastic shields, Creative Foam Corp manufactured foam parts for ventilators, and Desin, a manufacturer of Human Machine Interface (HMI) sensors, added a production line to make face masks.

The above examples showcase the agility, resiliency, and ingenuity of automotive manufacturers in their reactions to the COVID-19 pandemic on both their production capabilities and in pivoting to deliver on society’s demands. More resilient than ever, automotive manufacturers have increased their ability to adapt to an ever-changing technological landscape.

In August 2021, global manufacturing officially returned to 100% of pre-COVID production levels despite a 10% reduction in skilled labor workforce compared to pre-COVID workforce levels. This means that manufacturers have been able to take advantage of technology to increase productivity over time and to be more efficient. This is proven by data from a survey of manufacturers in the Automotive Edition of the 7th Annual State of Smart Manufacturing Report:

  • Adoption rates of smart manufacturing for automotive manufacturers accelerated over the last year by 64%.
  • 88% of automotive manufacturers view smart manufacturing as important to the future success of their organization.
  • 71% of automotive manufacturers are mostly or all in the cloud.

Plex’s annual State of Smart Manufacturing Report has tracked the most pressing issues over much of the last decade. The skilled worker shortage, supply chain disruptions, and risk mitigation show up as key industry level growth obstacles every year, but the reasons for each are ever-evolving. While the above numbers show positive movement in technology adoption, there is still room for growth, as the following stats show:

  • 42% of automotive manufacturers identified adapting to new regulations and standards as the top obstacle to growth in 2022.
  • 77% of automotive manufacturers lack a complete supply chain planning solution.

To solve for these problems and other dynamics yet unknown, technology – specifically smart manufacturing – is the key. Drivers like the increase in plant-level data, greater machine and human connectivity, the growth of Industrial IoT, and the practical use and affordability of once-hyped technologies are changing automotive manufacturing and expanding human possibility. As you strive to stay resilient throughout change, it’s important to benchmark your technology usage and rely on best practices to help your organization stay competitive and thrive not just today or tomorrow, but next year and every year thereafter.

Enhance your technology journey by downloading the Automotive Edition of the 7th Annual State of Smart Manufacturing Report today.

About the Author

Anthony Murphy Vice President; Head of Product Management, Application Group