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Tacton Annual Survey Reveals Trends in the Fourth Industrial Revolution

Tight Alignment Between Sales, Product, and Fulfillment Processes Emerge as Game Changers to Meet Customer Expectations

Stockholm/Chicago, Illinois, March 21, 2019 – Tacton, a global leader in Configure Price Quote (CPQ) and design automation solutions for the manufacturing industry, today announced the results of a new survey on the state of manufacturing which shows how Industry 4.0 and Smart Manufacturing trends are impacting businesses today and shaping future plans.

The survey findings, explained in Tacton’s annual report “The Current State of Manufacturing,” indicate a shift in mindsets and adoption of sales enablement and production technologies as manufacturers strive to embrace the digital revolution and leverage big data and AI to innovate faster and respond quickly to customer demands.

Based on responses from 100 large and mid-sized manufacturers worldwide with more than $250 million in revenue, the survey uncovers some of the largest challenges in implementing Smart Manufacturing strategies, explores how far manufacturers are along the Industry 4.0 adoption continuum, and offers a glimpse into how manufacturers are leveraging technology advances to reshape the industry.

Industry 4.0 Rising

The majority of manufacturers surveyed believe that Industry 4.0 is important, and want to implement strategies to remain competitive, but a lack of understanding and technical skills hinder adoption. 70 percent of respondents said that Industry 4.0/Smart Manufacturing is very important to companies. Yet, when asked how well industry 4.0 and Smart Manufacturing are understood in their organizations, 41 percent responded they are aware but not aware enough, 23 percent responded there is a decent level of awareness and understanding, and only 21 percent felt they have a very good understanding and already have a smart manufacturing strategy in place.

This gap between desire to implement and actual progress is further reflected in responses about progress toward smart manufacturing goals. Close to 60 percent of respondents said they’ve made average or decent progress toward their goals, but more than 30 percent said they’ve made limited progress and significant action is needed. 47 percent of organizations think there is a lack of knowledge on industry 4.0 and smart manufacturing.

These findings suggest that given the overall awareness of Industry 4.0 trends, most manufacturers still feel they are coming up short in creating and implementing a strategy. Manufacturers that are unable to catch up to the first movers risk facing strong competitive challenges that may impact business revenues and long-term business viability.

Technologies for Transformation

To help manufacturers turn interest into action, the report provides details on how manufacturers are starting to use various technologies to improve their businesses, and which technologies will be most important for future success.

  • Business intelligence and big data analysis are being used by firms to understand the market, forecast revenues, understand the customer buying process, and optimize pricing.
  • Sales enablement and production technologies are helping connect smart manufacturing to the front line and the top line. 60 percent of respondents have already started digitizing their sales processes to better facilitate individualized buying experiences. IoT and Big Data analytics were the technologies most often cited for success (50 percent), while production technologies such as machine to machine communication and advanced robotics dominated the next tier of responses.
  • In order to digitize the sales process, many manufacturers leverage Configure, Price, Quote (CPQ) technologies. When asked to specify the most important capabilities CPQ brings to manufacturing organizations, the top three capabilities were ease of use for sales reps, partners and customers, rapid quote generation, and accuracy of configurations (zero order errors).

Looking Forward

So, what’s next? 56 percent of respondents surveyed believe that meeting customer demand for highly configured and customized products will drive the most value. 33 percent feel that increasing the speed of innovation and time to market will be extremely important. Both of these top answers are closely aligned with Industry 4.0/Smart Manufacturing trends. Perhaps more importantly, both require tight alignment between sales, product and fulfillment processes in order to meet customer expectations.

To learn more about the survey findings:

Download the report: The Current State of Manufacturing

Rebecca Mettler
BOCA Communications for Tacton

Author: Ralf Gesswein