Lucidworks’ Second Study on Generative AI Highlights Manufacturers’ Concerns

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Enterprise software firm Lucidworks has released its second annual Generative AI Global Benchmark Study, based on input from over 2,500 global professionals responsible for making organizational  decisions on AI deployment. As with most industries, companies in the manufacturing industry appear more reserved on their AI initiatives thus far in 2024 than they’d reported in 2023.

One statistic, in particular, highlights that more cautious attitude: in 2023, 93 percent of surveyed manufacturing professionals reported plans to increase spending on AI, a figure that dropped to 58 percent this year. One explanation for that could be dissatisfaction with response accuracy, with 44 percent of manufacturers expressing concerns in that respect, which was among the highest levels for any industry.

Interestingly, at the same time, a similar proportion — 48 percent — reported they’re seeing cost-benefits with AI, which is also above-average amongst all industries. And, many may find it surprising that manufacturing companies demonstrate some of the lowest levels of concern regarding AI’s potential for job displacement, with only 3 percent of those surveyed expressing worries in that context.

In a press release about the second annual Lucidworks Generative AI Global Benchmark Study, Mike Sinoway, CEO of Lucidworks, said, “While many manufacturers see the potential benefits of generative AI, challenges such as response accuracy and cost are causing them to take a more cautious approach. This is reflected in spending plans, with significantly fewer planning to increase AI investments compared to last year. However, above-average reported cost benefits in 2024 could make them more bullish in the coming year. B2B companies and manufacturers have much to gain if they can balance cost and risk to improve efficiency, enhance the buyer experience, and reduce operational costs using generative AI.”

I think the Lucidworks CEO’s assessment there makes sense, as manufacturers may simply need more time to analyze the best uses of AI in their respective enterprises before resuming a ramp-up of  investment. Additionally, the fact that the manufacturing sector’s growth is still rather flat globally suggests that manufacturing-related AI investment could pick back up again in step with a broader manufacturing rebound.

Against this backdrop, those in the additive manufacturing (AM) industry who are ahead of the curve on AI could find a valuable niche for themselves by helping legacy manufacturers improve on the same proficiencies. This is especially the case given that 30 percent of manufacturing enterprise representatives told Lucidworks that they fear they’re lagging their competition on AI. They could establish a competitive edge for themselves by striking partnerships with AM companies in areas like component design and inventory management.

Finally, the manufacturing sector could see accelerated gains as more companies dedicated primarily to AI-based solutions enter the fold. For instance, Diagon, an AI-backed platform for sourcing advanced manufacturing equipment, recently raised $5 million in a seed round. Specialists in deploying AI in each aspect of the manufacturing process would likely maximize AI-related gains for the manufacturing sector as a whole.

Images courtesy of Lucidworks

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