The technologies most widely used by manufacturers were Internet of Things (35%) and robotics-based automation (29%) but levels of usage of innovative technologies overall were low across the board. More than half (55%) of the research sample still manage their assets in a primarily or fully manual way, with only 9% operating with a fully automated approach.
“Given the impact of COVID-19 on their operations and their supply chains, in particular, it is key that manufacturers use new technologies proactively to fuel their fightback from the pandemic, and enable them to move positively into the future,” said Richard Seel, Managing Director (UK & US) at delaware. “As the recovery gathers pace, manufacturers will urgently need to look at how they can best make use of AI and machine learning to deliver operational efficiencies, optimise processes and achieve competitive edge.”
The study found, over a quarter (27%) of discrete manufacturers still use ‘old school’ methods like ‘conducting surveys into consumer buying behaviour’ or ‘collecting patterns on buying patterns by analysts or industry experts’ to forecast demand when sourcing raw materials at the beginning of their supply chain.
“It is also concerning that 77% of manufacturers we surveyed revealed that the data they derived from across their supply chain was not ‘completely accurate,’” added Seel. “Data accuracy will be key in delivering supply chain efficiency through the recovery. Also, given the disruption caused by the pandemic, supply chain visibility will be increasingly key to manufacturers to understand the risks they face to continuity of supply and how best to alleviate them through improved forecasting.”