Research Shows Growth of Digital Transformation in Manufacturing

July 3, 2024
Manufacturing executives note difficulties measuring digital transformation ROI, along with a lack of alignment and inefficient use of data are the top challenges preventing them from more rapidly progressing.
Manufacturers Alliance Foundation in collaboration with Siemens USA has released a research report highlighting the advances of digital transformation in manufacturing. According to the study, titled “Digitalization Gains: Manufacturers Forge Ahead with Digital Transformation,” over the past few years U.S. manufacturers have made solid progress toward digitalizing their entire value streams, including supply chain optimization, data analytics and product development.
However, the research also underlines how this progress has been slowed by corporate digital strategies that focus on one-off, high-priority pilots rather than more long-term systematic approaches. 
The study surveyed nearly 200 executives from primarily U.S.-based mid-cap to large-cap manufacturing companies in various industries.
According to the report, digitalization is either already operational or being implemented by about 80% of survey participants for supply chain optimization, product planning and development, production efficiency, data analytics and business intelligence. In their survey responses, manufacturing leaders noted the difficulty in measuring digital transformation ROI (return on investment), lack of alignment between functions, and inefficient use of data and analytics as the top challenges preventing them from more rapidly progressing in their transformation journeys.
The study indicates that companies implementing more systematic approaches—dovetailing their digitalization roadmap with a business case for moving forward—are often the manufacturers who have made the most technological advancement.
“Manufacturers have visions for their digital transformation roadmap, yet the vision in practice is falling short,” said Manufacturers Alliance Foundation President Stephen Gold. “By taking a fragmented approach, instead of collaborating across the entire organization ecosystem, manufacturers are only inching towards the competitive advantage they hope digitalization will provide them.”

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