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How cognitive manufacturing is transforming electronics production


New equipment and automation are increasing data volumes from shop floors, but most is not used to its full potential.

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Electronics manufacturing executives face rising resource costs in traditionally low-cost production markets. They must address increasing customization, shorter lead times, frequently changing requirements, and shrinking order sizes—all while managing a sophisticated supply network.

Now, cognitive manufacturing is transforming production to address such complexity. These new systems address manufacturing issues, integrating cyber and physical systems for optimal output and interpreting data for value identification and realization.

To understand how the electronics industry is applying cognitive computing to manufacturing, the IBM Institute for Business Value (IBV) surveyed 140 electronics executives around the world and across all industry subsectors. We found that a core group of early adopters has kicked off a new generation of production success with cognitive manufacturing and shows greater returns on investment (ROI) with increased productivity.

Our analysis answers some important questions.

Who is ready for cognitive manufacturing? Those who have a good understanding of advanced analytics and the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) are prepared to embrace cognitive manufacturing more quickly than others.

What defines cognitive manufacturing maturity? Our study found three stages of cognitive manufacturing maturity. We call those organizations in the earliest stage Observers, followed by Starters and Actives, respectively.

These groups differ on two key characteristics: the presence of an overall strategy for cognitive manufacturing, and degree of strategic execution of multiple projects that enable higher project success and significantly fewer failed projects.

Strategy is the crucial enabler of higher maturity.

How do manufacturers get beyond the obstacles and barriers to increase cognitive manufacturing maturity? The obstacles encountered by our respondents are tied to organizational maturity. Overcoming them is fundamental to increasing cognitive manufacturing success.

In this report, we’ll first describe cognitive computing and how it gives rise to cognitive manufacturing. Then, we’ll review specific study findings and recommend actions for electronics executives.


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Additional content

Meet the authors

Quentin Samelson

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, IBM Senior Managing Consultant, Electronics Center of Competence


Hiroshi Yamamoto

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, IBM Distinguished Engineer, Global Electronics Industry CTO, IBM Member of Academy of Technology


John Constantopoulos

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, Director, Cognitive Product Development, Global Electronics Industry, IBM Global Business Services


Qin XK Deng

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, Director, Electronics Industry, IBM Global Business Services


Cristene Gonzalez-Wertz, Electronics Leader, IBM Institute for Business Value


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