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Technology has always been a key lever to improve organizational efficiency and effectiveness. With the dazzling array of emerging technology entering the market, we set out in our 2nd Global Digital Operations Survey to understand more about what technologies are being implemented and why. In essence, how is industry leveraging technology to gain an edge today, tomorrow, and in the future? What technologies are managers looking for to gain an edge in industrial manufacturing and operations?
The survey results suggest that current industrial tech investment falls into three apparent bow-waves:
As expected, many technologies being implemented in the “Early Majority” (40-50% of firms implemented) represent a steady progression of technology improvements that date back to work flow computerization and MRP mainframes of the 1960s and 1970s.
A new generation of operating systems are being implemented to better organize companies’ production systems; ~40-50% of firms have implemented these technologies and many more are studying and piloting operations. E2E supply chain planning is being implemented to drive an end-to-end view of the value chain. MES has been implemented at 45% of respondent firms providing a much more connected shop floor.
The first wave of technology drives additional connection and reliability within the existing system landscape. Predictive maintenance, a capability 48% of the firms are implementing, provides higher reliability at less cost. Industrial IOT, with 42% of respondents already implementing, automates and links machines to provide higher visibility and enables higher reliability, improved quality, and more precise part flow.
Beyond enhancing the existing landscape, technology that is within the “early adopter” phase acts as a “system of systems” or automates across systems.
An increasing number of firms are implementing technology that connects systems and reduces errors and inefficiency. 24-28% of firms are implementing these technologies today:
However, a new generation of technology on the horizon could change the way work is done (8-33% have implemented these technologies):
Any technology implementation decision should be made outcome-back. This means that companies should start to think about which outcomes they want to create or which problem they want to solve and then pick the technology solution that best fits the needs. However, having a deep understanding of the technological change within the industry and the vendor ecosystem is paramount to the ability to pick the best solution for investing. To maximize business value, managers will need to stay on top of the development of emerging technologies and creatively think about how these can help them create outcomes previously not possible. Are you ready?
1. Hedden, Carole. “A&D Shifts Focus to Reskilling, Recruiting, Reshaping Workforce.” Aviation Week, 13 Sept. 2018.
2. Sonnenfeld, Jeffrey. “Female CEOs Taking Control Of A Male-Dominated Industry.” Chief Executive, 18 July 2019, chiefexecutive.net/female-ceos-male-dominated-aerospace-industry.
3. Masunaga, Samantha. “In aerospace industry, female execs soar to the top.” The Bulletin, 8 Aug. 2018.