Global study reveals key challenges and opportunities for new technology in auto industry

June 7, 2023

Rockwell Automation has released its 8th annual “State of Smart Manufacturing Report: Automotive Edition” (Courtesy Rockwell Automation)
Rockwell Automation has released its 8th annual “State of Smart Manufacturing Report: Automotive Edition” (Courtesy Rockwell Automation)

Industrial automation and digital transformation technologies provider Rockwell Automation, Inc. Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA, has announced the results of its 8th annual “State of Smart Manufacturing Report: Automotive Edition.” The global study encompasses the responses of 197 leaders from automotive manufacturers, automotive suppliers, and electric vehicle manufacturers across thirteen of the leading manufacturing countries.

This year’s report emphasises the evolution of the automotive industry with a focus on the pursuit of quality, the impact of process automation, the adoption of smart manufacturing, and the essential role of technology when mitigating risks, navigating workforce challenges, minimising costs, and boosting production.

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According to the company, key global findings include the facts that:

  • 85% of automotive manufacturers expect to maintain or even increase their current workforce due to technology adoption – moreover, 64% of businesses are using software to automate processes, and 54% of leaders are increasing automation to address labour shortages
  • ‘Minimising costs’ and ‘improving quality’ are the number one drivers for the acceleration of digital transformation
  • 31% of automotive manufacturers either plan to or have already invested in AI and machine learning technologies, which is expected to continue growing as more use cases develop along with ease-of-use applications
  • 42% of automotive manufacturers expect to repurpose their existing workforce, and 27% believe they’ll hire more workers as a result of technology adoption, indicating technology can both address current issues and act as a catalyst for growth
  • In practice, 35% of these businesses report that smart manufacturing has helped mitigate issues with deploying and integrating new technologies; additionally, 29% believe it has helped with the lingering impact of the pandemic
  • 97% of automotive manufacturers and suppliers report having sustainability and ESG initiatives in place, with 49% pursuing sustainability and ESG initiatives as a competitive differentiator

“Over the last few years, the automotive industry has been tasked with navigating many new challenges and obstacles,” stated Paul Epperson, vice president, Global Industry – Auto, Tire & Advanced Mobility, Rockwell Automation. “From shifts in consumer demand and supply chain issues, to microchip shortages and manufacturing workforce challenges, the industry has been compelled to remain agile. For instance, with the automotive industry’s switch to electric vehicles, manufacturers are having to increase their workforce as they make the transition, not only at their existing facilities, but also as they open greenfield plants.”

“It is evident from reviewing the survey findings that navigating these challenges by adopting new technologies, while balancing quality with profitable growth, are top of mind for automotive leaders,” he added.

Based on the report, the automotive industry seems to be aware of the essential roles technology and automation play when navigating risks and striving towards profitable growth. Some 59% are mitigating internal risks by adopting technology, with 50% doing the same for external risks. Similarly, when asked how they intend to drive positive business outcomes, the number one response was increasing automation.

“Rockwell is uniquely positioned to serve as a trusted advisor in the automotive space for companies around the world, not only because of our dynamic portfolio of industry solutions but also our extensive partner ecosystem,” concluded Epperson. “Wherever companies are in their digital transformation and smart manufacturing journeys, Rockwell can meet them there and help drive innovative growth.”

The full report is available here.

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Rockwell Automation has released its 8th annual “State of Smart Manufacturing Report: Automotive Edition” (Courtesy Rockwell Automation)

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