August 2023 | Report

The Future of Industrial AI in Manufacturing

Anticipating future challenges helps manufacturing executives prepare, fuel their vision, and shape strategic plans for long-term success

The Future of Industrial AI in Manufacturing

Artificial intelligence is rapidly becoming a force in the manufacturing industry, permeating various processes like semiconductors, software applications, and robotics. With its data processing and decision-making capabilities, AI drives better outcomes and predictive maintenance. 

Manufacturers must understand AI's potential impact on factory operations, workforce strategies, and overall business benefits. Emphasizing responsible implementation, the Manufacturing Leadership Council's Manufacturing in 2030 Project explored AI's opportunities and challenges in the industry. The project conducted a survey among industry stakeholders and provided these key takeaways.

The Future of Industrial AI in Manufacturing

Anticipating future challenges helps manufacturing executives prepare, fuel their vision, and shape strategic plans for long-term success.

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2-Minute Takedown

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Evolving Landscape of AI Adoption

Recent AI advancements and robust infrastructure fuel the manufacturing industry's adoption. The survey revealed that 57% of companies are actively experimenting with small-scale pilot projects, while 28% have successfully implemented operational AI projects. These statistics highlight the growing interest in AI's potential for transformation as the manufacturing sector embraces AI integration to enhance productivity and drive innovation.
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AI’s Impact on Workforce

The accelerated adoption of AI in manufacturing raises concerns about job displacement, but it also presents an opportunity to address the industry's skills gap—45% of respondents expect no impact on their workforce due to AI adoption by 2030, while 21% anticipate a potential decrease. Retraining and reassignment options are being considered for displaced workers. But 65% of companies have yet to allocate specific budgets for AI training, highlighting potential challenges for future workforce readiness.
people using vr equipment

Future Impact on Manufacturing

AI is here to stay and will significantly impact manufacturing by 2030. For 41% of respondents, the increase in AI adoption will lead to radical improvements in operations, efficiency, and competitiveness. Still, 35% are skeptical about major changes—but 18% see AI as a game-changer, transforming the industry from products and production to business structures. As technology advances, leaders must understand and manage this AI transition to succeed in the future. 

Data Issues Dominate the Challenges of AI Adoption

More than 60% of respondents pointed to data as the main culprit, including access, formatting, integration, privacy, and governance rules. 

About the survey 

Understanding the challenges that today’s manufacturing executives foresee for the future not only helps leaders develop higher level of preparedness but also fuels their vision and focuses their strategic plans to achieve competitive success and longevity for their companies in the years ahead.

That’s why the Manufacturing Leadership Council launched the Manufacturing in 2030 Project to enable manufacturers to envision what future manufacturing might look like. As part of the project, the MLC surveyed more than 260 senior manufacturing industry executives, spanning multiple functional roles, and representing large, small, and medium-sized manufacturing companies from multiple industry sectors.

Armed with this rich combination of real-world predictions and forward-thinking insights, the MLC hopes that manufacturers can better plan their longer-term future and find ways to enhance their value, competitiveness, and contribution to society.

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