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Plex Systems Study: 4 Ways the IIoT Industrial Revolution Powers Smart Manufacturing

By Ken Briodagh September 29, 2017

In a recent release, Plex Systems, provider of cloud ERP for manufacturing, announced the release of its annual study, “The State of Manufacturing Technology.” The Plex Systems study investigates manufacturers’ use of technology throughout the organization. This year, the third for the study, found four key reasons that the IIoT Industrial Revolution has not only started, it has already become a major factor in manufacturing industry leadership.

The Plex Systems State of Manufacturing Technology study surveys more than 150 manufacturers, including both mid-sized and large enterprises, across a wide range of process and discrete industries including automotive, aerospace, electronics, food and beverage, industrial manufacturing and precision metal forming. The full report is available now.

Not only is this transformation affecting the way products are made and consumed, but also how the world works in the new, connected IoT era. The 2017 Plex State of Manufacturing Technology study found at least four major factors are already taking place.

“The fourth industrial revolution is happening today on the manufacturing shop floor,” said Jerry Foster, CTO, Plex Systems. “This is an industry that has always been about applying the most advanced technology to simultaneously fuel efficiency and innovation. It is an industry that is always excited to experiment, to try new devices and machines and ideas, whether that’s on the shop floor or across a global supply chain. This year’s State of Manufacturing Technology Report is another reflection of the awesome innovation engine inside every manufacturing organization.”

The Cloud Powers Transformation
Cloud has moved from “what’s next” to “what’s now” in manufacturing, according to the survey. Cloud implementations show performance, agility and reliability for business critical applications like Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) and Manufacturing Execution Systems (MES) in more than 1,800 facilities around the world, and 96 percent of survey respondents noted that improvements in connectivity to systems, machines, suppliers, and customers are a direct result of cloud systems.

Connectivity Drives Innovation
Connected manufacturing is among the most powerful technology-based shifts in a generation, following upon steam power, electricity and the automated production line. The Internet of Things (IoT) is fueling this revolution by making it easy to connect new devices, equipment and sensors to the cloud. Today, manufacturers are fully-orchestrated networks of people, materials, machines, systems, partners, devices, and even end-products. Seventy-four percent of this year’s respondents cited improved connectivity with mobile and personal devices, and more than half have improved industrial equipment integration using cloud technologies.

Supply Chains are Transforming
Not only is the cloud fueling a new era in industrial automation, it is also extending that connectivity to supply chain planning. By leveraging accurate, timely data from the shop floor and across the enterprise, 60 percent of those surveyed noted better supply chain performance using a cloud-based system. Seventy percent of respondents also noted improved communications with their own suppliers.

Manufacturers are Tapping the Power of Big Data
As manufacturers connect their production lines, supply chains, and even their products, the amount of data captured is growing exponentially. This year’s survey reports that more manufacturers than ever are using that data to drive decision making. Twice as many manufacturers are using analytics today when compared to last year’s study, with even more are planning implementations over the next five years. Almost half of respondents cited data analysis as the most important skill set for their next generation of employees.


Ken Briodagh is a writer and editor with more than a decade of experience under his belt. He is in love with technology and if he had his druthers would beta test everything from shoe phones to flying cars.

Edited by Ken Briodagh

Editorial Director

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