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The challenges and opportunities of Smart Factory today and tomorrow


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While manufacturing companies are facing powerful macroeconomic headwinds – there is growing uncertainty about the global economy – a survey of European manufacturers by teknowlogy Group found they are making progress with Smart Factory initiatives.

Smart Factory is a concept borne out of research around ‘Industry 4.0’ – the name given to the current trend of automation and data exchange in manufacturing technologies. It includes cyber-physical systems, the Internet of Things (IoT), cloud computing, Artificial Intelligence and more. The basic principle of the Smart Factory is that by connecting machines and other systems, businesses are creating intelligent networks throughout the manufacturing process that can control each other autonomously, or at least semi-autonomously. But is Smart Factory taking off?

To find out, we surveyed over 200 IT and operational technology (OT) decision-makers at European manufacturing companies with more than 500 employees, which have at least some Smart Factory initiatives in plan. The study was conducted in May and June 2019.

We identified the maturity of the Smart Factory today, companies’ internal and external goals of Smart Factory, likely future investments, and which type of projects companies are progressing with. We also asked about whether Smart Factory delivers Return on Investment (ROI), and if so, in what time-frame.

We found that many companies are looking to Smart Factory to enable them to be more efficient and profitable. They identified Smart Factory as one of their most strategic projects, and one which is key to their future competitiveness. In short, Smart Factory is here and it is here to stay, with only 2% likely to reduce Smart Factory investment in the next three years.


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In our trend analyses in multi-client mode we analyse the status quo and potential of current market and technology trends on behalf of multiple market players. Our analyses are based on phone interviews among decision-makers in ICT buyer companies. The central analysis results are made available free of charge to ICT buyer companies.

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