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Plex Systems Reveals Findings from Annual State of Manufacturing Technology Study

February 14, 2019

Plex Systems' annual survey results reveal manufacturers will qualify future technology investments based on their ability to connect the business.

TROY, Mich., February 14, 2019 – Plex Systems, the leader in cloud ERP and MES for manufacturing, today revealed its annual survey results which prove that manufacturers will qualify future technology investments based on the ability to connect the business from the shop floor to the top floor and improve visibility into suppliers and customers.

Plex’s annual State of Manufacturing Technology survey collects information from global manufacturers to measure current technology use and future implementation and adoption plans. This year, the survey shows that automation, integration and connectivity are among the most important goals for the next five years, with 60 percent of manufacturers planning to use technology to enhance plant floor integration and automation; 48 percent intending to increase business process automation; and another third working to both increase plant/enterprise integration and increase supply chain connectivity.

“This study proves that connected manufacturing is the linchpin for leading manufacturers,” said Bill Berutti, CEO of Plex Systems. “The most successful companies are investing in cloud-based systems to manage their operations from end to end, helping them both be more agile in addressing challenges and be prepared to benefit from the connectivity, visibility and scalability delivered through the Industrial Internet of Things.”

The Industrial Internet of Things is Real

The Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) is quickly gaining popularity among manufacturers, with a third of respondents planning to leverage it within the next five years, a 20 percent increase from last year’s survey. Outside of adoption plans, there was a general increase in confidence in IIoT, with 95 percent believing that it’s not “hype,” a 7 percent increase from 2017. This reflects overall market expectations, with the manufacturing industry expected to be the No. 1 industry to capitalize on IoT, according to the McKinsey Global Institute.1

“The IIoT Platform space is one of the fastest growing technology markets today,” said Matthew Littlefield, President and Principal Analyst for LNS Research. “In just a few short years we already see adoption rates at 15 percent with another 23 percent of companies in the pilot phase.”

Manufacturers are More Mobile and Connected

Creating a mobile workforce is a priority for today’s manufacturers, with 80 percent currently leveraging consumer mobile devices in their manufacturing operations. Another 84 percent are using handheld scanners today. The shop floor is also increasingly connected to manufacturers’ systems of record with 38 percent using IP-enabled tools and machines, 29 percent leveraging sensors, and 21 percent using Bluetooth devices.

Increasing Trust in the Cloud Leads to Greater Confidence

This year’s survey results show a growing trust in cloud-based technologies, with the use of on-premise technology dropping by 21 percent in the last three years. Additionally, the survey found that 87 percent of manufacturers that leverage a cloud-based system of record are confident in their organization’s future revenue growth, compared to just 66 percent confidence among their peers.

“Multi-tenant SaaS solutions are a differentiator for manufacturers,” said Richard Murray, Chief Product Officer, Plex Systems. “They offer unmatched scalability and flexibility, and their users benefits from a built-in community who are all working from the same line of code. Integration across the company and multiple plants deliver one version of the truth, and leaders can leverage higher rates of product innovation and a strong partner ecosystem to succeed.”

The fourth State of Manufacturing Technology survey reflects feedback from manufacturers with locations across North America (99 percent), Europe (16 percent) and Mexico (31 percent). Most respondents (51 percent) operate two to five facilities. More than half (53 percent) have 51-500 employees; another 16 percent represent companies with 501-1,000 employees and 23.5 percent of respondents have more than 1,000 employees.

Download this year’s free State of Manufacturing Technology report here.

1Source: “The Internet of Things: Mapping the Value Beyond the Hype,” McKinsey Global Institute, June, 2015.