Once upon a time surveys were the purview of analyst firms and media. None were mathematically rigorous. Most do show trends and yield ideas for thought.

Digital transformation is top of mind for companies who develop and market software solutions but maybe not so much for customers. This survey is from iBase-t. I knew them as an MES supplier, but now the are the company “that simplifies how complex products are built and maintained.” In other words, MES. That’s OK. My background in that application goes back decades.

This original survey of more than 100 discrete manufacturing executives in the U.S. found that a lack of a clearly defined roadmap is the biggest challenge for manufacturers looking to digitally transform their operations.

None of this surprises me. Many studies have found similar statistics. Upper management in manufacturing organizations “know” these problems. They don’t seem to know how to go about implementing solutions. Or, they don’t want to spend the money!

In brief, their study revealed:

  • 60% of manufacturers don’t have a clear understanding of the model-based enterprise
  • 67% of manufacturers say that less than half their operations are digital

A full 60% of respondents said they did not have a clear understanding of the model-based enterprise (MBE), which employs CAD systems, Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) systems and Manufacturing Execution Systems (MES) to help manufacturers fully digitize their operations.

Respondents confirmed that although paperless manufacturing and digital transformation are very important priorities, more than two-thirds (67%) of manufacturers reported that less than half of their operations are digital.

The survey found that more than half (54.5%) of respondents lack the interoperability across operations to adopt an MBE strategy. An additional 55% said that their manufacturing systems are not mature enough to support MBE.

Other Key findings:

  • According to the survey, 62% of total respondents said that they believe paperless manufacturing is “very important” to their organization.
  • The top four goals for manufacturers heading into 2024 are efficiency (66%), on-time delivery (66%), done-right first time (49%) and profitability (47%). An MBE strategy empowers manufacturers to reach all of these goals.
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