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New research by Plant Services and Augury shows that 81% of manufacturers say demand for their products is increasing. This report surveyed both corporate respondents and workers on the manufacturing front lines and found that 36% of corporate and 44% of frontline respondents rank unexpected machine downtime as the biggest risk to meeting production targets. Unplanned production downtime caused by unexpected machine failures is common and can last for days.

Both groups identified supply chain disruptions as the top challenge in their operation today (56.4% and 52.5% respectively). The next biggest challenges cited by corporate respondents are unplanned production downtime (40%) and compliance and regulatory hurdles (38%) while for plant floor respondents, workforce skills gap/upskilling (49%) came in second and workforce shortages (aggravated by the pandemic) tied with unplanned production downtime (48%) for third place.

Despite unplanned downtime being the biggest threat to meeting production targets, two-thirds of corporate respondents report an inability to visualize the real-time condition of critical assets across all sites at their company, which can have a devastating financial ripple effect throughout their businesses. Only 49% of frontline respondents reported having access to information about the cost to the business of the machine failures. 

Bar graph indicating the biggest challenges that manufacturers face when collecting data about their assets. The largest hurdles are the time it takes to collect the data, and the time it takes to analyze the data.

This lack of visibility means that 83% of maintenance and reliability teams use preventative maintenance strategies, which are labor-intensive and often lead to unnecessary maintenance tasks, while 46% run to failure, further stretching short-staffed and under skilled teams. Only 26% of manufacturers are employing real-time condition-based predictive maintenance. This technology most commonly uses a combination of AI and IoT to predict machine failures before they occur, minimizing unexpected downtime and keeping production lines running. 

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This report surveyed more than 150 professionals comprising both corporate and plant floor workers in food, beverage, CPG, building products, pulp and paper and other manufacturing sectors.

Read the full report by Plant Services and Augury. 

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