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Manufacturing: Smart Factories Enabled by Digital Transformation and Advanced Manufacturing

By Dick Weisinger

In an effort to accelerate and modernize their operations, manufacturers are beginning to spend on technology, especially for data management, data analytics, and digital services. ABI Research estimates that manufacturers and industrial firms will be spending $19.8 billion annually on technology by 2026.

Stuart Carlaw, Chief Research Officer at ABI Research, said that “the industrial market can no longer scale manufacturing operations by simply adding more workforce, more shifts, expanding factory floors or dropping prices. That’s because of global competition, lack of energy, an insufficient labor pool, a convoluted supply chain and global sourcing environment, as well as high amounts of customization put pressure on tooling and reconfiguration. Furthermore, batch runs are getting smaller, thereby manufacturers are getting less lift out of every order.”

Deloitte predicts that technologies like Industrial IoT, advanced manufacturing techniques, cloud computing and digital transformation will result in the creation of data-driven smart factories. 83 percent of manufacturers say that by 2025 these new types of factories will “transform the way products are made.”

Ryan Martin, Principal Analyst, Industrial & Manufacturing, at ABI Research, said that “there is a long and compelling list of digital transformation technologies and pilot projects that are now graduating to the factory floor. The companies and production environments embracing these opportunities have quickly seen the benefits and want to scale, rather than risk falling behind.”

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