Technology Record - Issue 33: Summer 2024

96 BY RICHARD HUMPHREYS Manufacturers are investing in technology to retain workers and knowledge, use data more intelligently and improve productivity, according to Microsoft’s Alfonso Rodriguez The manufacturing industry is on the front foot. While the challenges within the sector have been widely reported. Supply chain issues, largely relating to the pandemic, geopolitical tensions and material shortages, are lingering. Attracting and retaining a quality workforce was highlighted as the primary challenge by manufacturing executives in a recent survey by the National Association of Manufacturers. And, earlier this year, Deloitte stated in its 2024 manufacturing industry outlook, that manufacturers are also expected to face economic uncertainty due to “the need for product innovation” to meet net-zero emissions goals and customer needs. But in the face of those issues, manufacturers are investing in technology, in particular artificial intelligence, to empower their workers and transform operations. Recent statistics from Deloitte’s 2024 manufacturing industry outlook reveal the level of this digital transformation, with over 70 per cent of surveyed manufacturers saying they have integrated technologies such as data analytics and cloud computing into their processes. Nearly half are now harnessing the power of internet of things sensors, devices and systems, and 76 per cent have adopted digital tools to gain enhanced transparency into their supply chain. “The market is undergoing a profound transformation, characterised by the rapid integration of advanced technologies and an increasing emphasis on data-driven FEATURE This is your copilot speaking