A global study has revealed that nearly half of Asia Pacific manufacturers will have smart factories by 2022.

Zebra Technologies commissioned a global study to analyse trends and challenges, and found that the number of manufacturers supporting a fully connected factory would nearly triple by 2022.

This means 46 per cent anticipate having the capability in five years’ time.

Manufacturers will continue to adopt Industry 4.0 and the smart factory, the study said. Workers will use a combination of radio frequency identification (RFID), wearable technologies, automated systems and other emerging technologies to monitor the physical processes of the plant and enable companies to make decentralised decisions.

APAC manufacturers will lead the way globally, with 77 per cent of respondents expecting to collect data from production, supply chain, and workers in a holistic manner by 2020, compared to 46 per cent doing so today.

Executives across APAC cited achieving quality assurance as their top priority over the next five years.

Forward-looking manufacturers are embracing a quality-minded philosophy to drive growth, throughput and profitability.

In a sign that improvements made by both suppliers and manufacturers will ultimately boost the quality of finished goods, fewer respondents say quality-related issues will be a top concern in the future.

Today, 55 per cent of manufacturers see quality as a top concern, but this falls to 35 per cent in 2022.

Manufacturers expect to expand the level of technology use between now and 2022, specifically mobile technology (27% vs 72%), wearable technology (33% vs 65%), location tracking (38% vs 51%), and voice technology (45% vs 51%).

Forty-two per cent of the manufacturers expect investments in visibility technology to spur growth. Fifty-five percent will implement real-time location systems (RTLS) and 48 per cent plan to use RFID by 2022, providing much-needed transparency across their operations.

By 2022, 44 per cent of manufacturers expect to enable Just-In-Time (JIT) notifications for their customers. The request will increasingly come from the high-tech (48%), pharmaceutical (40%), automotive (35%), and food & beverage (36%) industries.


Food & Drink Business

Unilever has released its Future Foods initiative, outlining commitments to a healthier and more sustainable global food system. At its centre is a $1.63bn sales target for plant-based meat and dairy alternatives within the next five to seven years.

Coles and waste and recycling services company Cleanaway have launched an organics recovery facility in Brisbane to convert food waste into nutrient-rich compost, the first of its kind in Queensland.

Most of the world’s food is travelling thousands of kilometres through a complex distribution network often hidden from plain sight that’s leaving suppliers in the dark and consumers with inconsistent quality.