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7th Annual State of Smart Manufacturing

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Get your copy of the 7th Annual State of Smart Manufacturing and hear from 300+ manufacturers in this new survey report!

Key Takeaways From the 7th Annual State of Smart Manufacturing Report

State of Smart Manufacturing, Smart Manufacturing, COVID-19 (Coronavirus), Traceability, Supply Chain Management
March 16, 2022

Responding to market adversity with agility, improved processes, and technology adoption

Welcome to the 2022 State of Smart Manufacturing Report, the most robust edition yet. Based on surveys from 321 manufacturers from across the globe, the results reflect general consistency in major factors impacting manufacturers.

This study from Plex Systems, a Rockwell Automation company, in collaboration with Hanover Research, uncovers the current state of smart manufacturing, the challenges manufacturers are facing, and expectations for the future of the industry. Key takeaways include an increased need for agility, technology, and process improvement, so let’s break these down below.

Smart Manufacturing Adoption Accelerated by 50%

Technology and automation are driving the next generation of manufacturing, and smart manufacturing adoption will continue to accelerate in 2022. Modularization of software, which allows for incremental technology adoption, is gaining traction as manufacturers look to become more agile in the face of adversity.

  • Smart manufacturing adoption grew by 50% year over year.
  • Environmental, social, and governance (ESG) efforts are being more highly prioritized.
  • Barriers to entry are lower, leading to a higher level of adoption and a more attractive ROI.

The Pandemic Exposed Three Evolving Business Challenges

The 2021 and 2022 State of Smart Manufacturing Reports made clear that the pandemic exposed and exacerbated pre-existing conditions that manufacturers had previously tolerated or used band-aid solutions to address. Supply chain management, skilled worker shortages, and risk mitigation require a new approach.

  • Modern supply chain management solutions need to account for the complexities of today.
  • With over 800,000 unfilled manufacturing roles, a new approach is needed to solve for the skilled worker shortage.
  • Risk mitigation continues to evolve, and it’s essential to advance with it.

Once Over-Hyped Technologies Are Solving Today’s Problems

Technologies that were once viewed as over-hyped and unlikely to contribute in a meaningful way are now deemed vital to success. Cloud, industrial hardened devices, and process automation are helping companies overcome challenges with the skilled worker shortage, supply chain management, and risk mitigation. Additionally, augmented reality and wearables are gaining mainstream adoption by helping to quickly onboard new employees and attract fresh talent.

  • 49% of respondents — up nearly 20% year over year — are using some form of smart devices (AR, mixed reality, wearables).
  • 75% of respondents view technology as a key solution to address workforce challenges.
  • Manufacturing enterprises that present themselves as tech-forward are more appealing to prospective employees.

Accelerating Your Smart Manufacturing Journey

To achieve positive, enduring change, be thoughtful about your smart manufacturing approach. Set and track goals for continuous improvement and decide how you will best measure adoption success early in the process. Each organization is different, and the points laid out here will help to ask the right questions in pursuit of answers that will guide your mission.

Uncover more actionable takeaways and eye-opening stats by downloading the full 2022 State of Smart Manufacturing Report.

About the Author

Gerry Abbey Product Marketing Manager, Plex Systems

Gerry joined Plex in 2021 as a Product Marketing Manager with over twelve years of experience in software marketing. Leading the State of Smart Manufacturing Report creation and promotion, Gerry is also responsible for MES, QMS, and F&B product marketing. Gerry brings a wealth of content experience to the product team, having founded corporate blogs and collaborated on thousands of blog posts, white papers, and industry reports. Outside of Plex, Gerry has published two books, loves to travel, and enjoys spending time with his wife and kids exploring nature in Rhode Island.