Manufacturing is going digital—but it isn’t easy.
Domestic manufacturers employ 150,000 software developers and programmers, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Seems like a hefty number, right? But 120,000 of those tech experts, or 80%, are concentrated in only two industries: computer and electronics manufacturing; and transportation equipment. These are also the industries that have been buying the great majority of robots. Indeed, roughly two-thirds of the industrial robots sold in North America go to the automotive industry.
Across the rest of manufacturing, most executives are cautiously inching rather than sprinting towards digitization. The slow progress shows up in the productivity statistics. For example, labor productivity actually declined in 15 out of 21 3-digit manufacturing industries in 2017.
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