Automotive Smart Factories: Putting Auto Manufacturers in the Digital Industrial Revolution Driving Seat

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Drawing on a survey of 320+ automotive manufacturers, our research reveals that smart factories could add up to $160 billion annually to the global auto industry in productivity gains by 2023 onwards.

This report is the third in a series of research on smart factories, after “Smart Factories: How can manufacturers realize the potential of digital industrial revolution” and “The Digital Utility Plant: Unlocking value from the digitization of production

Our analysis has some significant findings and implications for the automotive industry

Automotive—the most bullish sector on smart factories

The automotive sector is the most enthusiastic industry about smart factories – it is making larger investments and setting higher targets for its digital manufacturing operations than any other sector.

Few auto manufacturers have translated their enthusiasm into real progress

By the end of 2022, automotive manufacturers expect that 24% of their plants will be smart factories and 49% of automakers have already invested more than $250 million in smart factories.

However, few automotive manufacturers have translated this enthusiasm into real progress – 42% of smart factory initiatives are struggling and the digital maturity of their manufacturing operations is below par.

The smart factory success formula

Those who are making the best progress invest 2.5 times more than the companies who are struggling. Additionally, they are involving their leadership teams, developing their talent, and investing in the right areas. By the ‘right areas’, we mean those smart factory components that are critical for the future, such as manufacturing intelligence and predictive maintenance.

More manufacturers could make a success of this opportunity if they follow in the footsteps of a cohort we call the ‘digital masters’. This is a group that, in particular, has manufacturing operations functioning at a high level of digital maturity.

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