The use of technology to automate and streamline systems, communications, and processes is taking hold in manufacturing. Many companies, by evaluating and/or modernizing their systems and infrastructure, have already begun building the foundation for things to come and are well positioned to embrace innovation and move their business forward.
In essence, these companies are creating a new way of operating through connected manufacturing. Connected manufacturing enables communication and data sharing throughout the manufacturing enterprise—from people to machines to databases—and is a requirement to operate effectively in an increasingly digital world. Cloud ERP enables connected manufacturing by tying all aspects of the enterprise together, providing a single source of truth for all system users and linking the business from the supply chain down to the plant floor.
The 2016 State of Manufacturing Technology Report, based on a survey of nearly 200 forward-thinking manufacturers, outlines five key elements that are critical to the future state of manufacturing:
- Technology-Enabled Workforce
There’s a serious shortage of skilled workers in the manufacturing industry. Respondents cited this shortage as the number one obstacle to achieving company growth in the coming year (28%). Manufacturers need to promote a technology-forward approach to attract the kind of talent needed with an emphasis on data analysis, lean manufacturing, and engineering.
Nearly a quarter of respondents reported using smart energy-control devices and IIoT was ranked as the third most important factor to their company’s growth in the next five years—proving that many manufacturers know that embracing the connected nature of the world we live in today also applies to their business.
- Big Data
Manufacturers know that their data is a major asset, and more are looking to leverage it to their advantage. By 2017, 40 percent of manufacturers expect to have deployed big data analytics or be deep in the planning stage of big data initiatives. As connectivity becomes easier and more cost-effective, companies will gain access to even larger streams of data across the supply chain.
Mobile devices are changing the manufacturing experience. Not only are more devices being used to access plant floor and production data across the enterprise, but mobility also supports the new 'untethered' worker, one who has access and control from anywhere, over any device. Devices are becoming less expensive and more reliable, and cloud applications are often designed with a 'mobile first' philosophy. As a result, 70 percent of respondents report using Apple phones and 56 percent have deployed Android phones. Tablets are being used more as well with 64 percent using consumer tablets on the plant floor.
- Cloud ERP
Sixty-five percent of manufacturers in the survey said the cloud is enabling them to implement new initiatives to enhance quality and increase plant or enterprise integration. Cloud solutions enable companies to meet fluctuating customer demands and global supply chain management.
Discover more insights on connected manufacturing and how companies are already moving the manufacturing industry into the future. Download: The 2016 State of Manufacturing Technology Report.