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85% of Automotive Manufacturers plan to maintain or increase workforce: Rockwell Automation Study

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Rockwell Automation announced the results of the 8th annual “State of Smart Manufacturing Report: Automotive Edition”. The global study encompasses the responses of 197 leaders from automotive manufacturers, automotive suppliers, and electric vehicle manufacturers across 13 of the leading manufacturing countries.

This year’s report emphasizes the evolution of the automotive industry with a focus on the pursuit of quality, the impact of process automation, the adoption of smart manufacturing, and the essential role of technology when mitigating risks, navigating workforce challenges, minimizing costs, and boosting production.

Key global findings include:

  • 85% of automotive manufacturers expect to maintain or even increase their current workforce due to technology adoption. Moreover, 64% of businesses are using software to automate processes, and 54% of leaders are increasing automation to address labor shortages.
  • “Minimizing costs” and “improving quality” are the number one drivers for the acceleration of digital transformation.
  • 31% of automotive manufacturers either plan to or have already invested in AI and machine learning technologies, which is expected to continue growing as more use cases develop along with ease-of-use applications.
  • 42% of automotive manufacturers expect to repurpose their existing workforce, and 27% believe they’ll hire more workers as a result of technology adoption, indicating technology can both address current issues and act as a catalyst for growth.
  • In practice, 35% of these businesses report that smart manufacturing has helped mitigate issues with deploying and integrating new technologies. Additionally, 29% believe it has helped with the lingering impact of the pandemic.
  • 97% of automotive manufacturers and suppliers report having sustainability and ESG initiatives in place, with 49% pursuing sustainability and ESG initiatives as a competitive differentiator.

“Over the last few years, the automotive industry has been tasked with navigating many new challenges and obstacles. From shifts in consumer demand and supply chain issues, to microchip shortages and manufacturing workforce challenges, the industry has been compelled to remain agile. For instance, with the automotive industry’s switch to electric vehicles, manufacturers are having to increase their workforce as they make the transition, not only at their existing facilities but also as they open greenfield plants,” said Paul Epperson, vice president, Global Industry – Auto, Tire & Advanced Mobility, Rockwell Automation. “It is evident from reviewing the survey findings that navigating these challenges by adopting new technologies, while balancing quality with profitable growth, are top of mind for automotive leaders.”

The automotive industry is aware of the essential roles technology and automation play when navigating risks and striving towards profitable growth. 59% are mitigating internal risks by adopting technology, with 50% doing the same for external risks. Similarly, when asked how they intend to drive positive business outcomes, the number one response was increasing automation.

“Rockwell is uniquely positioned to serve as a trusted advisor in the automotive space for companies around the world, not only because of our dynamic portfolio of industry solutions but also our extensive partner ecosystem,” said Epperson. “Wherever companies are in their digital transformation and smart manufacturing journeys, Rockwell can meet them there and help drive innovative growth.”

Methodology

This report is based on the responses of 197 managers and executives from automotive manufacturers, automotive supply manufacturers, and electric vehicle manufacturers in 13 countries. It is part of the 8th annual State of Smart Manufacturing Report, which analyzed feedback from 1,353 respondents from 13 of the top manufacturing countries and was conducted in association with Sapio Research and Rockwell Automation.

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