front page of report on smart manufacturing in SMMs in Nevada

Smart Manufacturing in Small and Medium Sized Manufacturers in Nevada

by Manufacture Nevada

Smart Manufacturing in Small and Medium Sized Manufacturers in Nevada

A Survey of Drivers, Barriers, and Technologies

Nevada’s small to midsize manufacturers are vital to the economic and environmental impact on the state. Manufacturing makes up $8.37B of Nevada’s economic activity and there’s only room to grow. Smart manufacturing opens the door for innovation, improved productivity and scalability, energy efficiency, and boosted employment. Commissioned by Manufacture Nevada, the insights gathered from this survey will help inform the next steps in growing and supporting Nevada's manufacturing industry.

What is Smart Manufacturing?

Smart manufacturing integrates technologies to improve communication between people and machines in order to enhance decision making, advance energy efficiency and productivity, and reduce waste. Research suggests that small and medium manufacturers (SMMs) face greater challenges to realize the potential of smart manufacturing (SM) than larger companies. However, little is known about how SMMs view smart manufacturing and what their experiences have been with it, which is key to developing and implementing effective scale-appropriate solutions.

The Study

This study surveyed representatives of SMMs in Nevada to assess their experiences with smart manufacturing solutions. Subjects were asked about their companies’ readiness level for adopting SM, their workforce training and hiring needs, and to identify the major drivers and barriers to adoption. Unlike most studies of SM, subjects were also asked about specific SM technologies that are used in their SMMs. Results from this study can be used to characterize the current landscape of smart manufacturing in Nevada’s SMMs, and help policymakers target identified barriers to adoption.

Key Findings

Drivers of smart manufacturing: The driver most often cited for adopting smart manufacturing was reducing costs—mentioned by 68% of subjects and reported as the top-most driver by 36%. Improving time-to-market was next for top-three mentions, at 38%, but is reported as a top-most driver only by 13%.

Barriers of smart manufacturing: The topmost perceived barriers to adopting SM were the additional investment of money (33%), uncertainty about the effects on profits (22%), and time (13%). Put together, these findings illustrate the essential challenge faced by many SMMs: they don’t have the money needed to invest in order to save more money, and although they’d like to improve their time-to-market, they aren’t confident about getting sufficient returns on their investment in SM.

Technologies of smart manufacturing employed: The SM technologies used most often are mobile phones (69%), cloud computing (54%), handheld scanners (48%), cybersecurity (48%), and tablets (45%). Several higher-end technologies were rarely used or even considered by these SMMs, including smart glasses and augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) headsets.

"Manufacture Nevada has its finger on the pulse of what Nevada manufacturers need and value most and we are primed and ready to support—from training and technology to research and development to reducing time-to-market through key partnerships. We work side-by-side with Nevada’s manufacturers every day to uncover smart solutions that lead to successful outcomes." -Tom Simpkins, Director at Manufacture Nevada

Read the full report here

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