The 2014 Smart Manufacturing Technologies Survey, which secured responses from 252 manufacturing engineers, product designers and quality management professionals, found that nearly 10 percent of factories spend half the day simply looking for equipment and products. This non-value-added time can result in significant wastage. For example, a few minutes spent finding each vehicle in a heavy vehicle plant can accumulate to several hundred thousand dollars in lost inventory costs annually.
Adrian Jennings, CTO of real-time location intelligence solutions for the Americas, says: “The manufacturing world is talking about Industry 4.0, but this survey confirmed that most manufacturers are far from embracing cyber-physical systems which define the next Industrial Revolution.”
Industry 4.0 introduces cyber-physical systems in which machines communicate with each other and their users, digitally and in real time, and factory processes become visible and controllable in virtual space. In this revolution, legions of networked sensors connect to intelligent data analytics in the cloud to create cyber-physical systems capable of sophisticated, real-time decision-making. Supply chains can automatically adjust based on changes in demand or production capacity, and products can communicate to machines about how they should be processed. For a handful of manufacturers, the coming age of cyber-physical systems is the natural next step. But, according to the Ubisense survey, most factories have yet to embrace Industry 3.0, the automation age.
Additional key survey findings include:
• While 40 percent have no visibility into the real-time status of their company’s manufacturing process, 30 percent of manufacturers do have access to instant, real-time status of every product.
• 56 percent of manufacturers are using the limited visibility data they have to identify problems as they occur, meaning that over half of respondents only know about crises after they happen.
• 40 percent of manufacturers are leveraging their visibility data to try to identify problems before they occur. In these situations, frontline managers can be much more proactive by identifying pending stoppage and making adjustments in advance to maintain flow.
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