The regional study found that the number of manufacturers supporting a fully connected factory would nearly triple by 2022. This means 46 per cent anticipate having the capability in five years’ time.
Manufacturers will continue to adopt Industry 4.0 and the smart factory. Workers will use a combination of radio frequency identification (RFID), wearable technologies, automated systems and other emerging technologies to monitor the physical processes of the plant and enable companies to make decentralised decisions. APAC manufacturers will lead the way globally, with 77 per cent of respondents expecting to collect data from production, supply chain, and workers in a holistic manner by 2020, compared to 46 per cent doing so today.
Executives across APAC cited achieving quality assurance as their top priority over the next five years. Forward-looking manufacturers are embracing a quality-minded philosophy to drive growth, throughput and profitability. In a sign that improvements made by both suppliers and manufacturers will ultimately boost the quality of finished goods, fewer respondents say quality-related issues will be a top concern in the future. Today, 55 per cent of manufacturers see quality as a top concern, but this falls to 35 per cent in 2022.
Manufacturers expect to expand the level of technology use between now and 2022, specifically mobile technology (27 per cent vs 72 per cent), wearable technology (33 per cent vs 65 per cent), location tracking (38 per cent vs 51 per cent), and voice technology (45 per cent vs 51 per cent).
Forty-two per cent of the manufacturers expect investments in visibility technology to spur growth. Fifty-five per cent will implement real-time location systems (RTLS) and 48 per cent plan to use RFID by 2022, providing the much-needed transparency across their operations.
By 2022, 44 per cent of manufacturers expect to enable Just-In-Time (JIT) notifications for their customers. The request will increasingly come from the high-tech (48 per cent), pharmaceutical (40 per cent), automotive (35 per cent), and food & beverage (36 per cent) industries.
Vice president and general manager of Zebra Technologies Asia Pacific Ryan Goh said:
“Manufacturers are entering a new era where there are increasing expectations of faster and higher quality production along with highly competitive margins. This trend is especially relevant for Asia Pacific – a region often regarded as the manufacturing hub of the world. The Zebra APAC Manufacturing Vision Study shows that savvy manufacturers have started to invest in smart factory technologies to reap benefits such as enhanced productivity, increased visibility, and the ability to predict demands. As we move toward Industry 4.0, this trend will continue to expand and shape the industry in the coming years.”