CSCMP's Supply Chain Quarterly
October 21, 2018
Forward Thinking

Robotics, automation seen as main tools of disruption and competitive advantage, "State of the Industry" report says

Automation will be the norm in five years, report says.

A state of the supply chain report released Wednesday at the ProMat 2017 conference in Chicago found that about 61 percent of 1,100 executives surveyed for the report chose robotics and automation as a source of supply chain disruption or a tool of competitive advantage.

About 57 percent of respondents said predictive analytics would be either a disruptive influence or a competitive weapon. About 55 percent classified the Internet of Things in such a manner, while 54 percent expressed similar sentiments about driverless vehicles and drones.

About 92 percent said at least one of nine listed technologies would be either a source of disruption or competitive advantage over the next 10 years.

Cloud computing and storage are the leading technologies in terms of current adoption rates, with about half of respondents using them. That was followed by "sensors and automatic identification" at 49 percent. Adoption rates for both are expected to soar over the next two years, according to the report, which was prepared by MHI, the association that hosts ProMat, and consulting company Deloitte.

Inventory and network optimization tools will show the strongest adoption rate of all technology by 2019, according to the report. About three-quarters of respondents said they will adopt the technology by then, according to the findings.

About 80 percent said that automation will dominate supply chain operations in five years. Currently, about 16 percent of respondents feel that automation is prevalent, the report said.

A copy of the report is available on the MHI website.

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