May 16, 2022

Despite a surge in pandemic-driven investments, a lack of digital maturity in the U.S. and U.K. is said to remain a serious roadblock to manufacturing productivity

FOOTHILL RANCH, Calif.— Manufacturers are lagging in digital transformation efforts despite earlier pandemic-driven investments in new technologies, according to a survey by the software firm iBASEt. The company, a developer of software designed to simplify how complex products are built and maintained, reported the results of its survey of more than 400 manufacturing executives in the U.S. and the United Kingdom.

Respondents confirmed that although Industry 4.0 advancements were critical to sustaining operations during shutdowns, most manufacturers today in the U.S. and the U.K. still grapple with a lack of system and process maturity. This lack of digital maturity prevents them from leveraging operational data for business intelligence and smarter decision-making, the company said in a release.

According to iBASEt, nearly three-quarters (72 percent) of respondents invested in new technologies during the pandemic, and 98 percent saw increased productivity. However, fewer than half of respondents (44 percent) said this modernization was providing them with additional actionable data, and 19 percent are not harnessing any data insights at all.

“As the volume of manufacturing data continues to explode, it’s critical that manufacturers modernize their systems and technologies to make use of critical data for business intelligence and more informed decision making,” said Naveen Poonian, CEO of iBASEt, in the release. “The ability to not just embrace Industry 4.0 at stage one, but to then convert critical data into actionable improvements is pivotal to a true digital transformation.”

The survey also found that although a majority of manufacturers embrace cloud transformation enthusiastically, few have made the full transition. Eighty-eight percent of respondents indicated they are increasing their investment in cloud technologies over the next 12 months, but only 21 percent are completely transitioned to the cloud.

Two-thirds (66 percent) of respondents believe this accelerated move to the cloud will unlock benefits that help drive operational efficiency. Only 8 percent have “no plans” to use cloud infrastructure as part of manufacturing operations, the company said.

According to the survey, 95 percent of respondents still use paper-based processes. More than a quarter (27 percent) use paper for more than half of all activities. Nearly all survey respondents (98 percent) indicated that they continue to use manual spreadsheets, such as Microsoft Excel, even while taking steps toward digital transformation. Half (50 percent) of respondents said they use these tools for “the majority” of processes.

Almost half (47 percent) of respondents in the U.S. strongly agreed that many discrete manufacturers in the U.S. could cease to exist in the next 10 years unless action is taken, the company said.

The research by iBASEt was conducted in March 2022 across the U.K. and the United States. In total, 403 manufacturers—201 from the U.K. and 202 from the U.S.—provided feedback. The manufacturers were from the aerospace and defense, medical device, industrial equipment, electronics, and ship building sectors, the company said.

An executive summary of the survey results is available for download at

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