NYSE-listed Rockwell Automation, Inc., a leading MNC dedicated to industrial automation and digital transformation, has found that Indian manufacturers are in a big way taking up digital transformation, driven by both internal imperatives as well as external challenges.

A staggering 91 per cent of Indian manufacturers recognise the urgent need for digitisation, reveals the results of Rockwell Automation’s 9th Annual “State of Smart Manufacturing Report”.

The global study surveyed more than 1,500 manufacturers across 17 of the leading manufacturing countries, including India. This year’s report reveals a focus on harnessing new and emerging technologies to build resiliency, improve quality, maximise workforce potential, and drive sustainable growth.

In India, given the supply chain disruptions over the last few years, the warehouse and fulfilment industry sees the highest acceleration of digital transformation, followed by the renewable energy and chemical sectors, the study revealed.

Additionally, Indian manufacturers are actively improving their network infrastructure and leveraging the multitude of connected hardware devices. Networking hardware, with an adoption rate of 88 per cent and production monitoring software solutions, with a remarkable adoption rate of 92 per cent, lead the way in technology adoption across various industries in India.

Dilip Sawhney, Managing Director, Rockwell Automation India, said, “A wider adoption of digital transformation is crucial for India to become a trillion-dollar manufacturing economy — a vision of government of India under Make in India initiative”.

The report reveals that Indian manufacturing is rapidly evolving and is investing in smart manufacturing technologies to achieve growth, address workforce issues, improve quality control, mitigate cyber risks, and attain sustainability, he added.

The 9th edition of smart manufacturing report highlights the transformative impact of new technologies, including generative AI (GenAI), on the global manufacturing. From the accelerated need for digital transformation to the overwhelming adoption of technologies, the new study underscores shift towards smart manufacturing, globally.

Global findings

Artificial intelligence (AI) ranks as the top capability that manufacturers believe will drive the biggest business outcomes. As many as 83 per cent of manufacturers expect to use GenAI in their operations in 2024.

About 95 per cent of manufacturers are using or evaluating smart manufacturing technology – up from 84 per cent in 2023.

Rockwell Automation’s global study report also reveals that  94 per cent of manufacturers plan to maintain or grow their workforce due to smart manufacturing technology adoption, with a heavy focus on repurposing workers to new or different roles and/or hiring more workers.

For the first time, cybersecurity is listed as one of the top five external risks for manufacturers in 2024, ranking third overall.

Change management is the leading workforce-related obstacle for manufacturers in 2024, the report noted. 

Manufacturers cite “improved quality” as the top positive outcome they hope to achieve from existing smart manufacturing technology for a second consecutive year. Additionally, “quality control” ranks as the #1 AI/machine learning use case in 2024.