Nearly two-thirds of manufacturers experienced unauthorized access to their companies’ networks and data in the past year, according to the report.

ATLANTA—Results of a U.S. National Manufacturing Survey released by accounting firm Aprio, LLP are reported to shed light on key areas of growth for manufacturing, including operational excellence, digitization, and cybersecurity, Aprio said in a press release.

According to statistics portal Statista, the manufacturing industry has been one of the sectors most frequently targeted by cyber criminals, with approximately 250 data violation incidents in 2022 in the United States alone. Aprio’s report revealed that nearly two-thirds of manufacturers experienced unauthorized access to their companies’ networks and data in the past year, and 18 percent reported five or more breaches. However, manufacturers are largely ignoring cybersecurity best practices: Fewer than half of companies surveyed reported having a cybersecurity policy and only 36 percent have enhanced IT security, according to Aprio.

Aprio said it is offering proprietary benchmark assessments to clients and prospects, who can receive a custom report tailored to their specific needs and situation.

“At Aprio, we have always had a vested interest in the manufacturing industry and recognize its direct impact on the economy,” said Richard Kopelman, CEO of Aprio, in the release. “We designed this survey to help support manufacturers and encourage continued growth in all areas of the industry. While these findings are a great first step, we are excited to also bring proprietary benchmark assessments to our clients and the manufacturing industry that will be customized to each company’s needs.”

The report also found that only 24 percent of surveyed companies are embracing artificial intelligence (AI). Although manufacturers can leverage digital tools to achieve competitive advantage, Industry 4.0 technologies, as a whole, are underutilized. Manufacturers can share information across functions and with supply-chain partners to improve productivity and respond in real-time to operational problems. But most companies are taking advantage of the opportunity. Only 39 percent of surveyed manufacturers are using 5G networks, and only 21 percent are using edge computing, Aprio said in the release.

According to Aprio, surveyed companies averaged just 81 percent for on-time deliveries, and only 34 percent of firms achieved 90 percent or better. Meanwhile, operational costs rose at 65 percent of surveyed firms in the past year, suggesting the need for improved operations to help control these costs. However, best practices for operational excellence are ignored by many manufacturers, with only 39 percent embracing a performance management system and 30 percent practicing standardized work, the company said.

“Aprio has been a long-time supporter of Next Generation Manufacturing (NGM), and we share a passion for driving innovation and growth within the industry,” said Regina Maddox, executive director at Next Generation Manufacturing, in the release. “At NGM, we connect manufacturers with the resources they need to share best practices while providing industry leaders with valuable networking opportunities. We are excited to be able to share these insightful findings with our manufacturing community.”

To learn more about the findings of the report and receive an assessment, visit