Business Operations

Trend of the Week: Smart Factories

In 2024, factories will just keep getting smarter. From product design to supply chain management, the sophistication of Manufacturing 4.0 (the current wave of technological evolution) will keep on growing. Here’s what manufacturers should know about these advances and how the NAM can help.

What manufacturers should do: Manufacturers looking to make their factories smarter are focusing on four key strategies:

  • Creating efficiencies to improve the bottom line with automation and other M4.0 technologies
  • Leveraging smart factories to overcome challenges, such as the workforce crisis and supply disruptions
  • Ensuring connectivity on the factory floor to allow for use of plant data to create new business models and revenue streams
  • Using M4.0 technologies to improve quality control, speed time to market, enhance safety, boost profits, contribute to sustainability goals and engage employees

Expert opinion: Companies are increasingly investing in industrial connectivity, according to PTC Vice President of Market Development of IoT James Zhang.

  • “Rather than approaching industrial connectivity with point-to-point integrations, companies are developing holistic, enterprise-wide strategies,” he explained.
  • “This approach streamlines and standardizes data from heterogenous manufacturing environments to a single industrial connectivity platform to provide secure, reliable data for OT systems, including MES and SCADA, and IT systems, including data analytics and industrial IoT.”

Resources for you: Check out these NAM resources that will help guide you through these technological changes:

  • The Manufacturing Leadership Council, the NAM’s digital transformation division, offers extensive advice and expertise on Manufacturing 4.0 technologies and how to use them.
  • NAM Cyber Cover can help you protect your smart factories, as the increase in digitization also opens new avenues for cyber criminals.
  • Check out this podcast from the Innovation Research Interchange (the NAM’s innovation division), which covers current research into the adoption of cutting-edge technologies.

Read the full 2024 trends report here.

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