64 per cent of manufacturers rate their shop-floor IT capabilities as just average, weak or non-existent

The manufacturing industry is being held back by the lack of robust IT capabilities at shop-floor level, reveals InfinityQS

64 per cent of manufacturers operating globally have expressed concerns about the maturity of their shop-floor IT capabilities, rating them as non-existent, weak or just average-at-best. Despite the manufacturing industry being in the midst of the fourth industrial revolution, this new data reveals that the sector isn’t actually ready to fully embrace digital transformation.

Research conducted by InfinityQS, the global authority on data-driven enterprise Manufacturing and Quality Intelligence, surveyed over a hundred manufacturers to see how prepared they are for a digitised future.

The findings revealed that the shop floor – the area in a manufacturing facility where assembly or production is carried out – is still reliant on using outdated manual processes, such as relying on pen and paper to record critical data. In total only six per cent of manufacturers surveyed consider that the level of their IT capabilities to be at an optimal level, leaving much room for improvement.

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Commenting on the survey findings, Jason Chester, Director of Channel Programs for InfinityQS stated that: “The findings are not surprising. We see on a daily basis that the IT capabilities in most manufacturing shop-floor environments are woefully inadequate. What is surprising is that so many manufacturers agree with this sentiment, which begs the question why is this not being addressed?

“Knowing the problem exists but not doing anything about it is not going to make it go away. Manufacturers must act. They need to understand what the barriers are and make strides at correcting it. Whether that is creating a compelling business case, gaining executive sponsorship, putting the right skills and talent in place, developing a long-term strategy and road map, or procuring the right solutions.”

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Chester adds: “As digital natives enter the workforce, those moribund manufacturers are simply not going to be attractive workplaces for young professionals entering the workforce. This will cause talent to leech out to other more progressive manufacturers and once this happens, reversal becomes ever more challenging and risks putting the manufacturer into an almost terminal decline.

“Nonetheless, it’s not too late for manufacturers to turn things around, get ahead of the competition and remain competitive. Initially, manufacturers should evaluate their existing operational processes and identify the critical areas by which to drive greater value from their supply chains, including the production environments.

“However, to do this effectively, manufacturers need to invest in a robust shop-floor IT environment. Having real-time visibility into their manufacturing operations will help them make well-informed decisions and ultimately improve productivity across the shop floor,” Chester concludes.

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