Are we set for a surge in AI investment?

06 January 2020

According to new findings of research undertaken by IFS, a global enterprise applications company, manufacturers are planning to aggressively invest in Artificial Intelligence (AI) technologies.

The international research, which examined the perception and adoption of AI within the sector, revealed that  91% are planning to invest in AI strategies. Industrial automation and inventory planning & logistics were cited as the key focus areas by 54% and 40% of respondents, as manufacturers seek to enhance productivity and boost efficiency.

IFS’s study polled 383 manufacturing decision makers working with technology including Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP), Enterprise Asset Management (EAM), and Field Service Management (FSM). The study revealed that manufacturers saw AI as a route to create, rather than cull, jobs. Around 51% of respondents stated they expect AI to increase headcount, while 22% believed it won’t impact workforce figures.

Alongside investment in AI to support industrial automation and planning & logistics, scheduling was also viewed as an area of opportunity for investment, with 36% planning to use it to enhance production scheduling and 25% for service scheduling. Only 6% intended to invest in AI for customer relationship management, differing significantly from other sectors which see it as a major use case.  

“AI is no longer an emerging technology. It is being implemented to support business automation in the here and now,” said Bob De Caux, VP of AI and Robotic Process Automation (RPA) at IFS. “We are seeing many real-world examples where technology is augmenting existing decision-making processes by providing users with more timely, accurate and pertinent information. In today’s disruptive economy, the convergence of technologies such as AI, RPA, and IoT is bolstering a new form of business automation that will provide companies that are brave enough with the tools and services they need to be more competitive and outflank larger competitors.

“The findings of the study show that the time is right for manufacturers to reap both business and financial benefits from technology automation. Falling for the hype of AI is easy, but success requires disruption to existing business models.  The technologies themselves are not a panacea, nor are they a universal solution to any problem. However, with the right data model and viable use cases, AI can support improved productivity and deliver significant benefits to both operations and the wider business. AI will be used by the vast majority of organisations in some form in the near future, extracting real value from intelligent processes, for the long-term.”

CLICK HERE to download the IFS research study.  

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