We’ve noticed a sense of increased optimism in the manufacturing industry over the past year. The economy is strong and manufacturers are increasingly looking to technology to drive additional efficiency to help them be as lean as possible. Manufacturers globally are embracing Industry 4.0 and the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) as a business strategy to become more data-driven.
However, one of the core challenges the industry has been grappling with is the shortage of skilled workers, and we also see for the first time optimism about meeting this challenge. Why? There’s a fundamental shift in thinking that’s happening.
More manufacturers are realizing that technology is truly an enabler of, and not a replacement for or threat to, manufacturing workers. Much like what happened in the consumer industry with technology like the Internet of Things (IoT), augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR), it is becoming more pervasive and more personal in the manufacturing industry. Specifically, how these technologies benefit and better connect businesses and their people.
VR headsets, now a norm in many households, are not as foreign (or expensive) to the factory worker as they once were. Whether it’s for product design, digital twin, machine maintenance, on the job training (OJT), or lights-out manufacturing, workers realize they are key to VR adoption and success. Analytics are powerful tools, but workers are the ones creating the rules and workflows derived from these insights. Industry 4.0, IIoT and connected systems are keys to the future, but workers ultimately dictate what to embrace and how to create business benefit from these capabilities.
Plex firmly believes that people drive business, while technology serves it. Technology is about enabling people to accomplish more, and therefore create more company value and a greater sense of personal accomplishment. We’re excited to see this enthusiasm, and we believe it will be a big factor in moving the needle on solving the challenges and taking the opportunities in the manufacturing industry over the next few years.
Download the State of Manufacturing Technology Report to see how your peers are using technology to drive their businesses today.