Key Findings from 5 Year Survey of Industry 4.0 Smart Manufacturing Practices

Apr 18, 2023 8:15:00 AM / by ThinkIQ

The adoption of Industry 4.0 Smart Manufacturing has been a significant focus for companies seeking to enhance their competitiveness, efficiency, and safety. To better understand the progress and challenges faced by manufacturers, CESMII (The Smart Manufacturing Institute) has been conducting market research surveys for the past five years. In this blog, we will discuss the key findings from these surveys, offering insights into the state of Smart Manufacturing today and why it matters for manufacturers looking to excel in the modern business landscape.


The State Of Smart Manufacturing And Its Importance

The first finding from CESMII’s groundbreaking survey is that, while manufacturers appear to understand they need Smart Manufacturing, many of them are not doing much about it.

CESMII's survey data reveals a disparity in strategy adoption, roughly broken in thirds: one-third of respondents indicated that their company has no formal strategy (31%), another one-third indicated that their company is preparing a strategy (32%), and the final one-third indicated that their company is implementing/testing a strategy (36%). Interestingly, while 61% of respondents believe that manufacturing operations are integral to their organization's digital supply chain strategy, only 42% reported dedicated staff allocated to Smart Manufacturing initiatives.

For manufacturers, this data highlights the importance of developing and implementing a Smart Manufacturing strategy. Companies that fail to take action risk falling behind their competitors, who are more likely to achieve operational efficiencies, cost reductions, and improved product quality by implementing Industry 4.0 technologies. Moving forward, it is essential for manufacturers to take action on their Smart Manufacturing initiatives and allocate the necessary resources to drive success.

Goals And Challenges In Adopting Industry 4.0

For the companies that did have a strategy, their goals were relatively aligned, and yet they mostly faced similar problems.

The survey identified five primary goals for companies pursuing Smart Manufacturing:

  1. better manufacturing capacity utilization (65%)
  2. lower production cost (63%)
  3. improved on-time delivery (62%)
  4. operational excellence (61%)
  5. improved quality/reduced quality risks (60%)

However, companies face significant challenges in achieving these goals. A lack of skilled talent (59%) was reported as the top challenge, followed by the cost of implementation (52%) and the complexity of system integration (49%).

Understanding the goals and challenges associated with adopting Industry 4.0 is crucial for manufacturers seeking to thrive in an increasingly competitive market. By addressing the talent gap and investing in the necessary infrastructure and training, manufacturers can overcome these obstacles and harness the full potential of Smart Manufacturing. A proactive approach to tackling these challenges will ultimately result in improved operational efficiency, cost savings, and enhanced product quality, positioning manufacturers for long-term success in the Industry 4.0 era.

The Role Of Executive Support And Employee Training

Despite the recognized importance of Smart Manufacturing, there appears to be a disconnect between the priority status and executive support.

Over 80% of respondents who noted challenges in their initiatives indicated a severe or major impact due to a lack of executive leadership support. Ouch.

Furthermore, two-thirds of respondents reported spending $2,000 or less on employee training each year. Over half of respondents indicated that on-the-job training and work instructions/internal process documents were the primary methods of Smart Manufacturing training for employees.

These findings emphasize the critical role of executive support and employee training in driving successful Industry 4.0 initiatives. Manufacturers must prioritize investing in their workforce and fostering a culture that values continuous learning, innovation, and collaboration. Additionally, strong executive leadership is essential to ensure the alignment of company-wide objectives and resources, ultimately accelerating the adoption of Smart Manufacturing practices and reaping the associated benefits.

The CESMII surveys provide valuable insights into the state of Industry 4.0 Smart Manufacturing. A disparity in strategy adoption, the importance of manufacturing operations within the digital supply chain, and the goals and challenges faced by companies are all key findings from the research. Additionally, the role of executive support and employee training in driving Smart Manufacturing initiatives is crucial to understanding the broader landscape of Industry 4.0 adoption.

For manufacturers, it is essential to recognize the importance of these findings and take appropriate actions, such as developing a well-defined strategy, addressing the talent gap, and prioritizing executive support and employee training. By doing so, they can position themselves for long-term success in the Industry 4.0 era.

The journey to Industry 4.0 Smart Manufacturing doesn’t have to be difficult, though, with the right partner. Download ThinkIQ’s free guide on the 5 stages needed to fully reach Smart Manufacturing status … and gaining a serious competitive advantage >


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Tags: SMART Manufacturing, Industry 4.0, smart factory


Written by ThinkIQ

Think IQ

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