rsz_linkedin_mfgtechToday’s Manufacturing IT Support guest blog is shared from our partner at Informs:

One thing is becoming clear to the modern manufacturer: if they want to continue to succeed, they must develop and execute strategies that embrace technological innovations. Increasingly, manufacturers are leveraging digital technologies, the Internet of Things, and other advances to build better products, operate more efficiently, and communicate more effectively with their customers.

If you aren’t taking the technological leap forward, it’s time to get moving – your competitors may already be there. The majority of CEOs at industrial manufacturing firms today recognize the significance of technological advances for engaging customers, cyber security, and data mining and analysis. More than 75% regard using mobile technologies as important to their overall strategy.

For companies that are generally slower to adapt, seizing the latest digital innovation opportunities isn’t an intuitive strategy. After all, industrial manufacturing is not the technology sector. However, this makes it even more crucial to analyze your businesses and see how technology (in all of its different forms) might benefit your company.

One important place to look is what’s known as the Internet of Things (IoT)—you’ve probably heard this word buzzing around the technology industry a lot this year. The IoT is easy to understand; it’s basically a network of devices that are connected digitally and communicate with each other to provide manufacturers data about those devices. Connected devices and new data flows have already made substantial headway in manufacturing, with an expectation that this pace will only accelerate.

Currently, 35% of manufacturers in the United States collect and use data generated by smart devices to enhance manufacturing and operating processes, and an additional 17% plan to do so in the next three years.

These manufacturers are leveraging more data in their operations and are responding to customer needs by embedding intelligence into their products to increase functionality. By tracking product performance over lifecycles, these businesses are able to increase their efficiency and focus on their own product-related services.

Still, the majority of manufacturers have yet to engage with this technology. If you’re one of them, ask yourself if you’re falling behind the curve and letting those who are engaging the IoT gain a competitive edge. It’s up to manufacturing CEOs to develop strategies that seize innovation opportunities that will help their companies do business better—and grab customers from competitors that don’t.