By Conrad Leiva, Chair of MESA's Smart Manufacturing Working Group
The manufacturing industry continues to make progress towards the vision of a fourth industrial revolution—a vision of revolutionary productivity increase. How? Through the the higher levels of automation, orchestration and optimization enabled by Smart Manufacturing’s higher levels of connectivity and data transparency from each resource, plant and partner in the new manufacturing ecosystem.
In the Figure 1 below, we compare results from 2017 survey data compiled by IndustryWeek and MESA International  to results from a 2018 poll running at MESA International’s website . At first glance, it might seem that the number of Smart Manufacturing projects implemented are going down, but that decrease in percentage is explained by an increase in the percentage of companies planning and researching the topic and a decrease in the percentage of companies not doing anything.