GenAI emerges as manufacturing game changer in latest industry report

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Image credit: Rockwell Automation

In the 9th annual “State of Smart Manufacturing Report,” industrial automation and digital transformation giant Rockwell Automation revealed the rise of artificial intelligence (AI) as the preeminent driver of transformative outcomes.

Surveying over 1,500 manufacturers across 17 key manufacturing nations, this year’s findings stated that 83 per cent of manufacturers are poised to integrate generative AI (GenAI) into their operations by 2024.

Furthermore, an overwhelming 95 per cent of manufacturers are currently deploying or contemplating the adoption of smart manufacturing technologies, a marked increase from the preceding year.

Encouragingly, 94 per cent of manufacturers intend to either sustain or augment their workforce in light of smart manufacturing technology adoption, with a pronounced emphasis on reskilling and expansion initiatives.

Senior Vice President and Chief Technology Officer at Rockwell Automation Cyril Perducat underscored the crucial role of a skilled workforce in the manufacturing realm.

Perducat emphasized the perpetual challenge of attracting, managing, and retaining talent, highlighting technology not as a panacea, but as a catalyst for organizational evolution.

“To remain competitive, manufacturers need to focus their staff on embracing new technology as a core part of their evolving organizational culture, creating a technology/worker partnership that drives their business forward,” the CTO noted.

Foremost among the hurdles impeding workforce optimization is change management, as cited by manufacturing stakeholders.

Findings revealed the pursuit of heightened quality standards reigns supreme as the foremost objective driving smart manufacturing endeavours.

Cybersecurity has emerged as a salient concern, ranking amongst the top five external risks for manufacturers in 2024.

Concurrently, energy management emerges as the linchpin of manufacturers’ sustainability and Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) initiatives.

Allison Kuhn, principal analyst at LNS Research, underscored the irrevocable shift in workforce dynamics, urging industry leaders to recalibrate their strategies to embrace the evolving landscape.

Kuhn delineated three imperatives for navigating the contemporary manufacturing milieu: Total Employee Experience, Servant Leadership, and the adoption of Connected Frontline Workforce (CFW) Applications.

For further insights, the full report is accessible here.