Tech Update



State of Manufacturing Report Shows Industry 4.0 in Full Swing

Sunday, July 1, 2018

The State of Manufacturing Technology (SOMT) report by Troy, MI-based Plex Systems, which surveyed more than 150 respondents representing such industries as aerospace, automotive, and industrial equipment, shows that industry leaders are taking advantage of “technologies that combine the physical and digital to disrupt markets, accelerate innovation and transform customer relationships.”

The report notes that cloud computing has become “the foundation for connected manufacturing” with 90 percent of respondents reporting use of cloud-based productivity applications, twice as many as reported in the 2016 study. Meanwhile, 96 percent of respondents note that improvements in connectivity to systems, machines, suppliers and customers is the direct result of cloud systems and 45 percent consider the cloud an important resource for new-product introductions.

Also, 74 percent of survey respondents report improved connectivity via use of mobile and personal devices. “Ultimately, mobile-user support is now ubiquitous for manufacturers,” the report reads. “The use of mobile phones, laptops and hand scanners, popular with 90 percent of surveyed manufacturers, remains consistent year-over-year. And we are seeing a consistent sentiment among manufacturers that the cloud’s ability to integrate with personal devices is a benefit to the organization. A full 80 percent of manufacturers agreed that integration has improved as a result of cloud-based software.”

Another trend worth noting is the connected supply chain, with more than 30 percent of respondents focusing on it today, while another 30 percent expect to employ new technology within the next five years.

Connected manufacturing also makes data collection and aggregation easier than ever. The report shows that twice as many manufacturers as last year are using analytics.

Industry 4.0 also brings with it these workforce challenges:

  • 30 percent more manufacturers this year report are looking for more lean-manufacturing expertise.
  • 30 percent more report needing mechanical-engineering skills.
  • 23 percent more report a need for more data-analysis skills.
To download the report, visit


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