TROY — Manufacturers are rapidly deploying cloud technologies to drive improvements in productivity, operating processes and quality, according to a new survey released by the manufacturing management software developer Plex Inc.
The first-ever Plex State of Manufacturing Technology of more than 130 manufacturers found emerging technologies converging on the shop floor to transform how things are made, track products across a global supply chain, streamline materials handling, and improve shop safety and product quality.
Key findings of the study included:
* Cloud technologies power innovation: 40 percent of respondents drew a direct correlation between cloud technologies and their ability to drive innovation in their own products over the next five years.
* Cloud solutions improve manufacturing operations: Not only is the cloud proven for delivering enterprise software more efficiently and cost effectively, it is now demonstrating real improvements in manufacturing operations. After deploying cloud systems, 66 percent of respondents saw improvements in plant productivity, 74 percent achieved operating process improvements, and 61 percent achieved better quality in their own products.
* The modern shop floor runs on advanced technology: Manufacturers are continuously experimenting, adapting and leveraging new technologies to improve all aspects of their operations. Eighty percent use consumer mobile devices such as tablets and webcams to access, stream and share information across large production facilities and global supply chains. Also, 55 percent use IP-enabled tools and machines, which automatically adjust to meet product specifications and capture rich, real-time data for traceability
Said Jerry Foster, chief technology officer at Plex: “This study illustrates that cloud software, once a low-cost path to plant automation, has become a crucial tool for manufacturers working to capitalize on new technologies, collaborate across the supply chain, gain operational insights, foster innovation and dramatically improve efficiencies throughout the supply chain.”
Added Plex vice president of strategy Jim Shepherd: “The cloud is becoming the core platform for rapidly integrating new technologies and achieving competitive advantage, enabling manufacturers to drive plant connectivity, process efficiency and innovation in their operations and their finished products. The transition to cloud-based solutions is catalyzing a new technology adoption curve among manufacturers: companies are embracing tablets, webcams, scanners, IP enabled tools and sensors in their operations at a faster rate than any previous transition.”
Plex software connects suppliers, machines, people, systems and customers at more than 400 companies in both process manufacturing and discrete manufacturing.