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PwC: Manufacturers Look to Boost Digital Spending

By Bill Koenig
Senior Editor

US manufacturers plan to boost spending on digital technology as they look to increase revenue and cut costs, consulting firm PricewaterhouseCoopers said in a report issued today.

PwC said manufacturers it surveyed invested an average of 2.6% of their revenue the past two years in such technology and are looking to raise that to 4.7% in the next five years.

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Four of 10 manufacturers surveyed said they project cost savings of 11% to 30% during that time, PwC said. “Nearly half” expect revenue gains in areas such as “digitization” of existing products and introducing new products, the consulting company said in the report.

The report covered a wide range of technology, including internet-connected machines, sensors, autonomous robots and 3D printing, where products are made using digital designs.

“’Smart manufacturing,' a US buzzword, already sounds quaint,” according to the introduction of the PwC report. “Whatever the label, the trend is real, forceful and momentous. Indeed, the race is on for manufacturers to digitize manufacturing.”

PwC said among US manufacturers, 59% are using some form of robots, “roughly” two of three “are currently adopting 3D printing in some way” and 35% are “currently collecting and using data generated by smart sensors.”

At the same time, surveyed companies reported barriers to adopting such technology included a “lack of digital culture and training” as well as the cost of going digital.

“Some companies anticipate high investment requirements with unclear return on investment,” PwC said in the report.

Published Date : 5/19/2016

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