Area Development
{{RELATEDLINKS}}It’s no surprise that PwC’s 2016 Industrial Manufacturing Trends report finds that investments in technology are “essential” for the growth of the U.S. manufacturing sector.

Innovation is building a “data-driven factory of the future with robotics, augmented reality, 3D printing, Internet of Things, and other technologies, creating an environment of higher productivity and reduced costs,” the report notes. Additionally, many of the technological innovations used in manufacturing today will be commonplace within the next 5 to 10 years, meaning that manufacturing executives “must lead with an eye toward that reality, and not merely the current bottom line.”

According to Nitin Rakesh, CEO and president of leading digital modernization firm Syntel, the digital age has disrupted many different aspects of manufacturing: “From research and development to marketing and sales, businesses cannot afford to put production on hold in order to modernize, but must transform their manufacturing processes in order to thrive in an increasingly competitive environment.” Rakesh continues, “Financial pressures in the manufacturing sector are prompting organizations to re-assess how they use technology in their manufacturing operations, to determine how they can best modernize their systems in order to maintain a competitive edge.”

The authors of PwC’s report — Robert Bono and Stephen Pillsbury — further note that although the emerging technologies are potentially transformative, they are unfolding against a backdrop of uncertainty among industrial manufacturing companies. Of the U.S.-based industrial-manufacturing executives responding to PwC’s Q1/2016 Manufacturing Barometer, only 24 percent expressed optimism about the global economy.