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CSSI partner Zebra Technologies has released a 2018 Manufacturing Vision Study (download it below) based on a survey of global manufacturing executives across a variety of industries and business sizes. This is a fascinating look ahead at technology and next steps in manufacturing based on the opinions of the people who will make it happen. Based on the study, we can say that the next 5 years will be lively, as the number of fully-connected factories doubles, and half of facilities adopt RFID or RTLS, among other changes.

Study highlights and key takeaways include:

  • IIOT (internet of things) will move beyond the hype. 27% of respondents are capturing information from various sources, but the data is kept in silos.
    • By 2022, only 19% project the silos to persist. Asian firms project to lead the way in becoming fully connected, with 77% versus just 63% in North America.
  • Quality will be seen as a competitive differentiator, and thus quality management will drive change. 58% of respondents cite supplier quality as an issue.
    • Auto ID technologies such as barcoding and RFID enable superior visibility into the manufacturing process, and will play a role in improved quality management.
    • The American Society for Quality reports that every $1 spent on quality management returns $6 in revenue, $16 in cost reduction, and $3 in profits!
  • Manufacturers expect to increase the number of tracking points and ‘gates’. This allows real-time monitoring of production, and real-time tracking of item locations.
    • 28% plan to adopt real-time tracking by 2022 versus 7% today.
  • Industry 4.0 is going to drive towards Just In Time (JIT) shipments, with suppliers anticipating manufacturer needs.
    • 26% currently require suppliers to provide JIT shipment notifications… this will increase to 35% by 2022, with high tech leading the way at 41%.
    • RFID will grow from 24% to 33% for both shipments from supplier and shipments to customers.
  • Technology will transform the plant floor. Key categories are mobile technology, real-time location tracking, wearable technology, and voice direction and recognition — all of which are projected to exceed 50% of manufacturers in 2022.
    • Paper-based processes will decline from 62% to 21%.
  • RFID will find its home on the plant floor. While currently used more commonly in shipping, RFID will find a place in manufacturing, with sharp usage increases for work-in-progress.
    • 48% plan to use RFID as part of the manufacturing process by 2022.
  • Real-Time Location Systems (RTLS) will achieve usage in 53% of facilities (versus 39% today).
    • The use of ID cards for real-time location of employees will rise from 35% to 50%.
    • Companies will use RTLS to make smarter decisions and improve production.

Download the complete study for free: