Stacey Higginbotham: Smarter plants mean better products

An emphasis on quality improvement is driving adoption of many aspects of the internet of things according to Zebra’s 2017 Manufacturing Vision Survey.

The connected factory gets a lot of ink. Journalists describe a future where raw materials are tracked and production methods are measured so precisely that flaws can be prevented before they happen. Engineering improvements can be tracked back to something as random as the humidity in a plant on the day a certain item was made.

But according to Zebra’s 2017 Manufacturing Visibility report out this week, we still have a way to go before the connected factory arrives. 62 percent of the 1,100 executives surveyed said their companies use pen and paper to track vital manufacturing steps and half are using spreadsheets or a computer on wheels.

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