A recent study conducted by The Manufacturer and Oracle | Netsuite explores how manufacturers have already implemented forms of factory connectivity.
The study – The route to smarter manfuacturing for SMES – took in the views of UK manufacturing SME executives and decision-makers towards intelligence and connectivity.
It showed that the vast majority of SME manufacturers (78%) already make use of industrial sensors.
Furthermore, 60% have invested in alarms and alerts, 59% had implemented various forms of human-machine interfaces and just over half used a manufacturing execution system (MES) linked to an ERP system.
While two-thirds (65%) of SMEs currently collect digital data from manufacturing processes via shop floor data collection devices or manufacturing execution systems, it means 35% do not.
Corners around initial development costs being too high and the payback period being too long to make significant connectivity worthwhile is holding roughly a quarter of SME manufacturers back from adopting connectivity.
Again, sector research and experience demonstrates that for most companies that take the time to properly examine the business case for implementing or enhancing their connectivity, it’s likely that despite the real costs of implementation the benefits would be worth the investment.
A combination of neither fully understanding the connectivity requirements of smarter manufacturing (54% of replies), nor being in a position to collect high-quality data, manage it and analyse it (47%) means that many organisations continue to have real trouble benefiting from digital technologies. Clear evidence that more education needs to take place.
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