Pandemic accelerates the adoption of smart manufacturing processes

A new study shows how COVID-19 accelerated the need for technological enhancements in manufacturing, and are now the key to their success

In the post-pandemic environment, 83% of manufacturers say the adoption of smart manufacturing technologies and processes is now a priority, causing technological uptake to accelerate above prior forecasts.

According to Plex Systems’ 2020 State of Smart Manufacturing survey, only 23% of respondents stated they had no plans to deploy smart technologies in their organisations. However, this year’s survey shows that the majority of respondents are now on board, as more than 60% plan to adopt smart manufacturing within the next 12 months.

The study asked 300 respondents about smart manufacturing technologies, and found there was 100% growth in adoption of key technologies (e.g., Industrial IoT, smart devices, machine learning, RPA, cobots) in just the past year.

It now appears that many smart manufacturing technologies have moved through the early "overhype" phases of adoption and are now considered mainstream.

This growing interest in smart technology is, of course, spurred on by COVID-19. Survey respondents detailed that the top three needs for smart manufacturing technology are to increase efficiency, improve supply chain agility and support remote work, issues that all came to the forefront post-pandemic.

Nearly 75% of the survey respondents are also beginning to use technology to better connect the business, automate processes, and gain valuable business insights.

"The survey validates that smart manufacturing technologies are no longer a 'nice to have' nor a luxury item; they are imperative for businesses to survive," said Bill Berutti, Plex Systems CEO. "Smart manufacturing is powerful and transformative, but there are multiple ways to adopt these technologies based on individual business needs and work culture. With flexible platforms and connected plant floor solutions, manufacturers can target their most urgent needs and deploy technology that will drive real and immediate value for their organization."

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