Research also shows that manufacturer optimism in the current administration’s regulation plans has declined

Fort Worth, Tex.  ECi Software Solutions, a leader in cloud-based business management solutions, today announced a new research report on the business and technology trends impacting the manufacturing industry. The report details the findings from an independent survey commissioned by ECi, which examined the impact of powerful forces like digital transformation, Industry 4.0, the current regulatory climate and automation on U.S. manufacturers. The findings indicate the role technology is playing in the American manufacturing resurgence, with 89 percent of respondents confirming they had increased investments in technology in the last 18 months.

Other Key Findings:

  • Optimism in the benefits of tariffs started to decline: From March to July, there was an 11 percent decrease in the belief that the steel and aluminum tariffs would benefit manufacturers, and a 12 percent increase in the belief that the tariffs would not benefit them
  • Manufacturers turned to ERP to manage regulatory ripple effect: 67 percent of respondents confirmed that ERP was either very effective or effective in managing the impact of tariffs, particularly by providing supply chain visibility, resource planning and job costing
  • Wearables have the potential to drive the most business value: In a similar survey conducted by ECi’s Macola Software in 2017, manufacturers indicated that big data analytics had the highest potential to drive business value, while this year’s respondents put wearables at the top
  • AI is more than just a buzzword: More than half (51 percent) of this year’s respondents indicated that they’re currently using some form of artificial intelligence (AI) in their operations; of those who don’t use AI, 56 percent noted they plan to in the future
  • Automation is a job augmenter, rather than a job cutter: 73 percent of respondents indicated that their core business processes are automated by software and that they are reaping the benefits—most notably by reducing errors and improving accuracy, employee job satisfaction and productivity
  • Cybersecurity concerns prevent technology adoption: Half of manufacturers indicated that they are concerned with the cybersecurity risks associated with adopting a new technology; cybercrime was also listed as a top external force contributing to changes in manufacturers’ business models or operations in the last 12–18 months

“Our research confirms what an exciting and tumultuous year this has been for U.S. manufacturers, and we can only anticipate that these trends will continue to impact their business operations in the year to come,” said Jeff Ralyea, ECi Manufacturing Division President. “The data also confirms the value of ERP in helping manufacturers of all sizes mitigate the challenges and chances the industry presents, and we’re committed to continuing to deliver the best-in-class, industry-specific software and services that help our own customers maintain a competitive advantage in the fast-paced and growing manufacturing market.”

The full industry report is now available for download on the ECi website here.

Survey Methodology

As commissioned by ECi Software Solutions, Berg Research surveyed 209 respondents from medium and large U.S. manufacturers who make or influence IT decisions within their organizations in March 2018. Berg Research also surveyed 203 respondents from medium and large U.S. manufacturers who make or influence IT decisions within their organizations in July 2018.

About ECi

ECi Software Solutions provides end-to-end business management software and services, focusing on cloud-based technologies. For 30+ years, ECi has served small to medium-sized manufacturing, wholesale/retail distribution, building and construction, and field service organizations. Privately held, ECi is headquartered in Fort Worth, Texas, USA, with offices throughout the U.S., Canada, Mexico, England, the Netherlands, and Australia. For information, email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., visit www.ECiSolutions.com or call (800) 959-3367.

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