Beyond labor productivity and asset-efficiency, the next performance leap in factories will be through end-to-end effectiveness of production systems. According to Smart Factories @ Scale, a report recently published by Capgemini Research Institute, organizations are also showing an increasing appetite and aptitude for smart factories. Smart manufacturing is on the rise.

Compared to two years ago, more organizations are progressing with their smart factory initiatives today, and one-third or factories already have been transformed into smart facilities. They plan to make 40 percent more smart factories in the next five years and increase their annual investments by 1.7 times compared to the last three years.

To realize smart factory gains, organizations are depending on a large set of technologies. MES/SCADA as well as PLM in discrete manufacturing are the top technologies being scaled. Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT), analytics and artificial intelligence have fared better both in terms of deployment and benefits, along with robotics/cobotics.

While remote monitoring is also starting to be deployed, the scaling up of “mobile/augmented worker” has not picked up yet, though executives believe both of them have the potential for a high ROI. The potential of plant digital twin, a key for “efficiency by design,” is yet to be realized.

Also, achieving scale will depend on how advanced organizations are at exploiting data. Just 45 percent of organizations can store, retrieve and analyze data at all levels of the value chain.

Manufacturers also need to take their cybersecurity vulnerabilities into account, as well. Manufacturing is one of the prime target industries for attackers, with studies showing that nearly half of manufacturers have faced a cyberattack at some point. These manufacturers reported that in over half the cases, two main tactics were used: attackers exploiting vulnerabilities in employees’ own devices to access the network, and attackers using malware such as trojans.

Bring-your-own-device policies, as well as poor employee awareness, are contributing to organizations’ vulnerability. The traditional silos of OT systems is partly a reason for the lack of manufacturers’ focus on real-time cybersecurity risks.

Despite the huge costs of a breach or attack, not all organizations are taking sufficient measures for their security, according to the report. Only 45 percent say they conduct periodic security audits, while only 41 percent “air-gap” their smart devices, i.e., devices do not connect directly to a public internet. The growing need for IT-OT convergence and remote monitoring solutions are definitely reasons for manufacturers to critically consider the security concerns.

2W Tech is a full-service IT Consulting firm that specializes in smart manufacturing solutions. Give us a call today and let us show you how the digital transformation can take your business to the next level.

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