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Manufacturing’s Digital Transformation in Numbers

Manufacturing’s Digital Transformation in Numbers

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Manufacturing’s Digital Transformation in Numbers

28 März 2022

Andy Pickard
Digital cloud

How many manufacturers have a digital transformation strategy in place?

What percentage of organizations have completed automation projects already?

And what impact is technology having on overall performance?

These are just some of the questions Aptean wanted to answer when we commissioned a major research project involving 275 North American process and discrete manufacturing companies.

Our aim was to benchmark how organizations are developing their smart manufacturing strategies, to create a new whitepaper and infographic. And we’d like to share some of the most insightful statistics from our study:


Digital transformation is a priority for two thirds of organizations.

66: The Percentage of Manufacturers With a Digital Transformation Roadmap

One of the critical insights our research revealed is that most manufacturers are taking smart factory transformation seriously. Digital transformation is a priority for two thirds (66%) of organizations, which have a roadmap across some or all departments and are committed to technology-driven change.

However, when we look further into this data, we see that business size plays a significant role in whether manufacturers are prepared for digital change. Enterprise companies are more likely to have sophisticated plans in place, with 68% of companies already putting a roadmap in place across all their departments. This figure is significantly higher than medium-sized manufacturers (27%) and small businesses (29%). 

It makes sense that larger companies have more budget and resources to devote to digital transformation. However, automation goes hand-in-hand with business growth. Therefore, small and medium-sized manufacturers need to focus on ensuring you have a digital transformation roadmap in place for all operational areas if you want to compete on even terms with bigger competitors.


of North American process and discrete manufacturers have completed digital transformation projects.

10: The Percentage of Manufacturers That Have Completed Digital Transformation Projects

In addition to looking at how many manufacturers have created a digital transformation roadmap, we wanted to understand how much progress organizations made with their DX execution strategy and uncover any disconnects. And our research revealed a huge gap between intention and achievement.

Just 10% of North American process and discrete manufacturers have completed digital transformation projects and realized the benefits. In reality, most companies are still rolling out their roadmap and planning which operational areas to automate next.

Concerningly, our research discovered that almost a quarter (22%) of manufacturers describe their digital transformation as non-existent, which means they are yet to put their roadmap into action. This may be because smart manufacturing was not a top priority pre-pandemic. However, the events of the past two years have shown that efficiency, innovation and digitalization are critical to surviving market challenges.


of companies still have significant gaps in their business data.

64: The Percentage of Manufacturers With Gaps in Their Business Data

We also quizzed manufacturers on their current capabilities to understand why there is a gap between mapping objectives and deploying digital transformation strategies. And our study revealed that 64% of companies still have significant gaps in their business data.

Data quality is critical to manufacturing’s digitalization because trustworthy insights improve decision-making, which ultimately drives better outputs. Without 360-degree business intelligence, accessible in real time, it’s difficult to make smart, strategic choices.

Part of the challenge that manufacturers face with extracting integrated data insights is the approach they’ve taken to digital transformation so far. Optimizing one business area might generate targeted results, but manufacturing software implementations can be disparate. Adopting a holistic digital transformation encourages end-to-end software investment, making data insights easier to extract.


of manufacturers in the advanced stages of digital transformation describe themselves as prospering.

28 & 44: The Percentage of Prospering Manufacturers in Early and Late Stages of Digital Transformation

The statistics we’ve shared so far benchmark how much progress manufacturers have made with their digital transformation strategies. But what impact is this having on their day-to-day performance?

When we asked manufacturers about their current financial status, only 28% of organizations with a nascent or non-existent digital transformation have returned to a state of prosperity post-pandemic. In contrast, almost half (44%) of manufacturers in the advanced stages of digital transformation describe themselves as prospering. A further 29% of digitally advanced manufacturers are fully recovered, compared to just 16% of digital laggards.

These figures underline the fact that digital transformation is not a strategy for its own sake. Instead, done effectively, it drives commercial results. And Aptean is helping organizations to enhance their performance through the implementation of discrete and process manufacturing ERP software that automates critical processes, integrates data and powers effective decision-making.

Learn more about digital transformation in manufacturing: download Aptean’s manufacturing digital transformation infographic for more statistics, or read our digital transformation whitepaper for strategic advice.

And if you're ready to accelerate your digital transformation strategy, explore our manufacturing software suitemade up of industry-specific, cloud-ready solutions to help you create a powerful technology ecosystem and drive business growth.

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