Makers and Movers: How do you approach digital adoption?

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Conexus Indiana has charted Indiana’s digital transformation journey over the past two years with the help of Indiana’s leading manufacturing and logistics industries. By working with Conexus Indiana to advise where they are on this journey and what resources they need to accelerate it, policymakers and movers across the state have helped improve Indiana’s prospects in these rapidly changing industries. . The 2022 investigation was launched in early March, and we’re asking Indiana businesses to respond — by further explaining how Conexus Indiana can support their digital transformation journey.

In early 2021, the Brookings Institution released an in-depth study that showed Indiana businesses needed to increase their technology investments to prevent Indiana from losing its leadership position in advanced manufacturing and logistics. Indiana has the highest concentration of manufacturing jobs in the country, but has been losing its productivity advantage since 2007.

Conexus Indiana has worked diligently to determine the best way to help Indiana’s advanced manufacturers increase productivity and has found that the best solutions come from seeing the challenge more accurately. Recognizing the need for more data, Conexus Indiana and the Indiana University Kelley School of Business Manufacturing Center of Excellence conducted a 2020 survey of advanced manufacturing and logistics companies across the country. ‘Indiana, seeking to measure how companies are embracing today’s digital technologies, aka “Industry 4.0.”

What we’ve learned is that while large companies were looking at technology adoption – and thus benefiting from increased productivity and quality – small and medium-sized companies were struggling to find the resources needed to invest in the technology, and most lacked a concrete roadmap for technology adoption. to inform future strategies.

Enter the Manufacturing Readiness Grants, a publicly funded matching grant program that supports investments in smart manufacturing technology. The Indiana Economic Development Corporation, in partnership with Conexus Indiana, launched the program in mid-2020 with $4 million in grants available. The grant program proved so successful that the General Assembly quickly allocated an additional $20 million to be awarded through June 2023.

Results from our 2022 Technology Adoption Study found that Indiana businesses dramatically accelerated their technology adoption, with the number of businesses implementing or piloting new technologies more than doubling to 43 % in 2021 (compared to 20% in 2020). He revealed that companies are allocating more resources to high-tech and digital initiatives such as collaborative robots (cobots), machine vision, 3D printing, advanced sensors and big data and analytics. In fact, to date, 169 awards have been announced totaling over $13.4 million in manufacturing readiness grants. These grants support a planned investment of $93 million in Industry 4.0 technologies. And more rewards will be announced soon.

Employers also report that Industry 4.0 technologies do not displace workers, but rather allow existing talent to focus on functions that machines and algorithms cannot do. “You hear about automation killing jobs,” says Chad Nord, vice president of operations for Indiana Furniture. “But it really frees up the humans to do the human work.”

The bottom line is this: In less than two years, the data that Conexus has been able to collect and disseminate has led to programs – like the Manufacturing Readiness Grant Program – that are accelerating the rate of technology adoption.

We’re collecting more data this year, looking to gauge the continued impact of manufacturing readiness grants and identify other technology adoption trends.

We are convinced that this survey can have the same impact as the first two. But that will only be possible if we receive strong participation from Indiana’s diverse network of advanced manufacturing and logistics companies. Your response will help Conexus Indiana better understand what we can do to ensure we continue our momentum toward high-tech opportunities for Indiana’s advanced manufacturing and logistics companies and their employees.

If you are a member of the manufacturing and logistics industries, your participation in the survey is required. To visit www.conexusindiana.com/advancing-industry/research-reports/ to take the survey today.

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