Survey finds 40% of manufacturers have no visibility into real-time status of their process


Ubisense reveals findings of its 2014 Smart Manufacturing Technologies Survey.


Ubisense (AIM:UBI), a global leader in location intelligence solutions, revealed the results of its 2014 Smart Manufacturing Technologies Survey which secured responses from 252 manufacturing engineers, product designers and quality management professionals. The survey revealed that lack of visibility into manufacturing processes is the most prevalent issue plaguing manufacturers today. In fact, according to the Ubisense survey, conducted by SME and Manufacturing Engineering Media, 40 percent of manufacturers have no visibility into the real-time status of their manufacturing processes.

Visibility is crucial for process improvement and control, but its value is far more fundamental. According to responses from the Ubisense survey, nearly 10 percent of factories spend half their day simply looking for equipment and products. This non-value-added time can result in significant wastage. For example, a few minutes spent finding each vehicle in a heavy vehicle plant can accumulate to several hundred thousand dollars in lost inventory costs annually.

“Ubisense works with global manufactures every day so we knew visibility was an area of concern, but the results of this survey gave us much greater insight into the blind spots that impact all areas of the manufacturing process and the level of efficiency that can be achieved,” said Adrian Jennings, CTO of real-time location intelligence solutions for the Americas, Ubisense. “The manufacturing world is talking about Industry 4.0 but this survey confirmed that most manufacturers are far from embracing cyber-physical systems which define the next Industrial Revolution.”

Industry 4.0, known today as “the next Industrial Revolution,” introduces cyber-physical systems in which machines communicate with each other and their users, digitally and in real-time, and factory processes become visible and controllable in virtual space. In this revolution, legions of networked sensors connect to intelligent data analytics in the cloud to create cyber-physical systems capable of sophisticated real-time decision-making. Supply chains can automatically adjust based on changes in demand or production capacity, and products can communicate to machines about how they should be processed. For a handful of manufacturers, the coming age of cyber-physical systems is the natural next step. But, according to the Ubisense survey, most factories have yet to embrace Industry 3.0, the automation age.

Additional key survey findings include:

  • While 40% have no visibility into the real-time status of their company’s manufacturing process, 30% of manufacturers do have access to instant, real-time status of every product.
  • 56% of manufacturers are using the limited visibility data they have to identify problems as they occur, meaning that over half of respondents only know about crises after they happen.
  • 40% of manufacturers are leveraging their visibility data to try to identify problems before they occur. In these situations, frontline managers can be much more proactive by identifying pending stoppage and making adjustments in advance to maintain flow.

To learn more about the Ubisense 2014 Smart Manufacturing Technologies Survey results and Industry 4.0, sign up for a free webinar on October 23. To register, select the preferred time based on location.

Europe: 10 a.m. BST:

Americas: 10 a.m. EDT:

Access the complete survey results at


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