Manufacturers cite GenAI as top tech investment, turn to emerging deep tech to fill skill gaps

Share this:
IMAGE: Rockwell Automation

In a global study conducted with over 1,500 manufacturers by Rockwell Automation, manufacturers are stepping up technology investment to counter risks caused by inflationary pressures and rising energy costs, with a collective view on technology adoption as the best way to mitigate against both external and internal risks. 

28 per cent of respondents came from Asia Pacific, particularly China, Japan, South Korea, India, and Australia and New Zealand.

The study shows that AI is core to technology strategies and roadmaps in the manufacturing sector, and is ranked as the top capability that manufacturers believe will drive the biggest business outcomes. 83 per cent of respondents expect to deploy GenAI in their operations in 2024. 

The global talent crunch remains one of the greatest challenges facing manufacturers in attracting and retaining skilled workers, but there is hope as they turn to emerging deep technology such as GenAI and robotics to fill skills gaps and amplify effort rather than replacing workers. 

Respondents plan to use new and emerging technology to amplify their workforce and maintain quality against a backdrop of employee turnover. Through the increased use of smart manufacturing technology, 94 per cent expect to hire more workers or repurpose workers to new or different roles.

Respondents believe those at the forefront of the manufacturing industry are using data to fuel AI/machine learning (ML) and optimise processes, However, those surveyed believe their own organisations use less than half of collected data effectively. Manufacturers with annual revenues less than US$500 million use only 38 per cent of their data effectively, compared to those with revenues of over US$30 billion which effectively use more than half (51 per cent) of their data.

83 per cent of surveyed manufacturers say the obstacles they face are in fact accelerating digital transformation in their organisations. 

IMAGE: Rockwell Automation

The race to capitalise on AI

GenAI and causal AI, collaborative robots (cobots) and autonomous mobile robots (AMRs) have already been adopted by manufacturers to enhance and complement the workforce, while reducing errors, increasing speed to value and improving quality.

85 per cent of respondents have already invested or plan to invest in AI/ML this year. 

Sustainability and ESG a core priority in manufacturing

Manufacturers have signalled their intent to make sustainability and ESG a core priority, through the use of smart manufacturing technology to track and quantify sustainable practices, mitigate risks, and upskill existing talent. 

98 per cent have a sustainability or ESG policy in place, with almost half of those having company-wide formalised policies. 

Building long-term business resilience with technology investment

Manufacturers are also looking to sharpen their competitive edge and establish business resilience in the long run by investing in technology, citing long-term business impact as the main driver for technology investment. 

Leaders will balance people, process and technology

Manufacturers reckon it is equally important between matching technology and talent with business needs, and managing people and resources effectively. Leaders will need to balance people, process and technology in order to navigate the demanding landscape ahead successfully.  

“A skilled workforce is the cornerstone of any successful manufacturing operation, but attracting, managing and retaining workers is proving to be an ongoing challenge,” said Cyril Perducat, senior vice president and chief technology officer, Rockwell Automation. “The survey found technology alone is not the answer. To remain competitive, manufacturers need to focus their staff on embracing new technology as a core part of their evolving organisational culture, creating a technology/worker partnership that drives their business forward.”

Search this website