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Zebra Study Says Majority of Manufacturers ready for IIoT

By Ken Briodagh August 01, 2017

In a recent announcement, Zebra Technologies Corporation, a developers of mobile computers, scanners, and barcode printers enhanced with software and services to enable real-time enterprise visibility solutions, has revealed the results of the Zebra 2017 Manufacturing Vision Study, a body of research analyzing the emerging trends shaping the future of industrial manufacturing. The global study revealed manufacturers are adopting the IIoT to enhance visibility and improve quality.

Driven by globalization, intensifying competition and rising customer demand for more options and higher quality products, a connected plant floor has become a necessity. Zebra’s survey shows the number of organizations achieving a fully connected factory is expected to rise dramatically over the next five years.

The results indicate that manufacturers will continue to adopt Industry 4.0 and the smart factory. Workers will use a combination of radio frequency identification (RFID), wearables, automated systems and other emerging technologies to monitor the physical processes of the plant and enable companies to make decentralized decisions. By 2022, 64 percent of manufacturers expect to be fully connected, as compared to just 43 percent today.

Executives across all regions cited achieving quality assurance as their top priority over the next five years. Forward-looking manufacturers are embracing a quality-minded philosophy to drive growth, throughput and profitability. By 2022, only 34 percent expect to rate this as a top concern – signaling that improvements made by both suppliers and manufacturers will ultimately improve the quality of finished goods.

Manufacturers stated investments in visibility will support growth across their operation. Sixty-three percent cited tracking as a core focus with a blend of technologies like barcode scanning, RFID and real-time location systems expected to be deployed to achieve the desired visibility. Fifty-one percent of companies reported planning to expand the use of voice technology in the next five years.

On-demand, cloud, and Software as a Service (SaaS) solutions for Manufacturing Execution Systems (MES) are expected to grow rapidly with 58 percent of North American respondents expecting to use these services in 2022. More than half of surveyed Latin American manufacturers and 48 percent of Asia-Pacific manufacturers plan to use RFID to optimize production by 2022. Companies are focusing less on keeping materials on-hand and depending more on suppliers to provide goods on-demand. In five years, Just in Time (JIT) shipments will have the highest use in Latin America (42 percent) and Asia Pacific (40 percent).

1,100 North American, Latin American, European and Asia Pacific decision makers who authorize or influence the purchase of relevant manufacturing technologies were interviewed by Peerless Insights for the survey. The online survey was fielded in the first quarter of 2017 across a wide range of segments, including automotive, high tech, food and beverage, tobacco and pharmaceuticals.

“Manufacturers are entering a new era in which producing high-quality products is paramount to retaining and acquiring customers as well as capturing significant cost savings that impact the bottom line,” said Jeff Schmitz, SVP and CMO, Zebra. “The results of Zebra’s 2017 Manufacturing Vision Study prove that IIoT has crossed the chasm, and savvy manufacturers are investing aggressively in technologies that will create a smarter, more connected plant floor to achieve greater operational visibility and enhance quality.”

Edited by Ken Briodagh

Editorial Director

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