Is There A Rapid Increase in IoT Adoption? – Manufacturing & IoT in 2023

In an era marked by the convergence of technology and industry, the Manufacturing sector stands at the forefront of a transformative wave propelled by the Internet of Things (IoT). Ubiquitous connectivity, data-driven insights, and real-time decision-making have become imperatives for staying competitive in a landscape where efficiency and precision reign supreme.

iot adoption

A recent survey commissioned by Ubisense has provided illuminating insights into the current state of IoT adoption within the manufacturing sector. The study, conducted in collaboration with Arlington Research, offers a comprehensive snapshot of industry trends and practices. The full report can be accessed here.

The Ubisense Survey Findings

The survey paints a vivid picture of the manufacturing landscape in 2023. It reveals that more than three-in-five manufacturers (62%) have embraced IoT technologies in their manufacturing or assembly processes. This surge in adoption underscores a growing recognition of the immense potential that IoT holds for streamlining operations and enhancing productivity.

One of the noteworthy findings is that just over two-in-five manufacturers (43%) are currently leveraging real-time location systems (RTLS). This statistic highlights the increasing importance of precise asset tracking and management within modern manufacturing environments. By harnessing the power of RTLS, companies can gain unprecedented visibility into their operations, enabling them to optimize processes and respond swiftly to dynamic production demands.

Economic Climate as a Catalyst for IoT Investment

In a climate marked by economic uncertainties, the manufacturing industry has demonstrated remarkable resilience and adaptability. The survey reveals that three-quarters of organizations (76%) express a heightened inclination towards investing in IoT technologies. This statistic speaks volumes about the industry’s forward-thinking approach, recognizing that technological innovation is a cornerstone for sustained growth, even in the face of economic challenges.

The prevailing sentiment among manufacturers is that IoT offers a tangible pathway towards operational agility and cost-effectiveness. By integrating IoT solutions, companies can harness data-driven insights to make informed decisions, minimize waste, and optimize resource allocation. This strategic shift towards IoT adoption is indicative of a collective drive within the industry to future-proof operations and secure a competitive edge.

Navigating Efficiency Challenges with IoT

While the benefits of IoT adoption in manufacturing are substantial, the survey also sheds light on persisting challenges. More than a third of manufacturers (36%) acknowledge recurring difficulties in measuring operational efficiency. This underscores a critical gap in existing processes, highlighting the need for data-driven solutions that empower manufacturers to quantifiably assess and enhance their operations.

Furthermore, an equivalent proportion of respondents (36%) frequently grapple with the issue of misplaced tools, equipment, parts, and materials. This inefficiency not only leads to operational delays but also represents a significant drain on resources. By leveraging IoT-powered tracking and monitoring systems, manufacturers can mitigate these challenges, ensuring that assets are precisely located and readily accessible when needed.

Additionally, the survey highlights that a substantial portion of manufacturers (35%) contend with disruptions in sequencing and production timelines. This finding underscores the critical role that IoT can play in orchestrating seamless workflows, ensuring that processes adhere to prescribed timelines and minimizing deviations from the planned sequence.

Top Concerns in Manufacturing

Inflation, the ongoing energy crisis, and supply chain disruption emerge as the top three concerns weighing on the minds of businesses in the manufacturing sector, with 19%, 16%, and 16% of respondents citing these respectively. These concerns reflect the intricately interconnected global economy, where fluctuations in one area can reverberate through the entire manufacturing process.

The surge in inflation rates has raised operational costs for manufacturers, impacting everything from raw material procurement to logistics. The energy crisis, perpetuated by geopolitical and environmental factors, is pressuring manufacturers to seek sustainable alternatives and optimize energy consumption. Supply chain disruption remains a perennial concern, magnified by the complex interdependence of global supply networks.

Real-Time Visibility: A Crucial Imperative

In an era defined by precision and efficiency, the ability to gain real-time visibility into critical aspects of the production process is a decisive factor for success. However, our survey uncovers that less than three-in-five manufacturers have achieved real-time visibility of production machinery (59%), parts or materials (59%), and products or work in progress (58%).

This revelation underscores a critical gap in the industry’s pursuit of operational excellence. Without real-time visibility, manufacturers face the risk of operating in the dark, making it challenging to respond swiftly to disruptions or optimize processes in real-time. The need for advanced IoT solutions, such as real-time location systems (RTLS), is paramount in bridging this gap.

The Value of IoT and RTLS: Unearthing Hidden Inefficiencies

Steven Manifold, Chief Marketing Officer at Ubisense, captures the essence of the challenge: “It is the hidden nature of much of the process inefficiencies that exist in operations that makes IoT and RTLS technology so valuable. The data gap that exists between what is planned and what actually happens is especially large where processes are largely manual, human, or complex.”

This insight encapsulates the transformative power of IoT and RTLS technologies. By providing a comprehensive, real-time view of operations, manufacturers can uncover inefficiencies that may otherwise remain hidden in the complexity of manual processes. These technologies empower manufacturers to bridge the gap between planned processes and actual execution, facilitating data-driven decision-making and enabling swift interventions to enhance efficiency.

A Roadmap for the Future

As manufacturers grapple with a rapidly evolving global landscape, the strategic imperative of embracing IoT technologies becomes increasingly evident. The benefits extend far beyond mere operational efficiency, encompassing a broader spectrum of competitive advantages, from enhanced adaptability to greater sustainability.

In addressing the top concerns of inflation, energy crises, and supply chain disruptions, IoT emerges as a linchpin for resilience and responsiveness. Real-time visibility of critical elements in the production process forms the cornerstone of this transformation, providing manufacturers with the tools they need to navigate challenges and seize opportunities.

In conclusion, the findings from our survey underscore a pivotal moment in the evolution of manufacturing. With IoT and RTLS technologies at the forefront, manufacturers have an unprecedented opportunity to revolutionize their operations and thrive in an era defined by precision, efficiency, and adaptability. Embracing this technological wave is not merely an option; it is a strategic imperative for those who seek to lead the way in the manufacturing landscape of the future.