2014 Information Integration Study

In August 2014, Control Engineering surveyed members of its audience who were involved in information integration projects—both current and future. The 2014 Information Integration study asked key questions on integration between manufacturing floor levels, facility data access, and benefits and challenges to information integration.

Weighing the benefits and challenges

When asked about the amount of integration between the levels of manufacturing in their facilities (see Table), respondents indicated the top reason for a lack of integration is that benefits aren't recognized or considered important enough to management, along with a possible unwillingness to assign resources for the integration project. Interestingly enough, respondents who have successfully integrated levels named the following benefits:

With that said, how is it that management is not recognizing the possible advantages of integrating levels? Perhaps a lack of time, lack of budget, and/or lack of resources are at fault. In fact, among the top challenges to integrating operations reported by respondents were not having an adequate budget for such a project, difficulty finding the time it takes to train workers, and a shortage of personnel assigned to these projects. Other challenges included confusion over scope and benefits, possible ongoing maintenance costs, and a lack of general cooperation.

Information access

89% of respondents reported having no known network intrusions despite their level of security. Source: Control Engineering, CFE MediaRegarding information access, mobility, security, wireless, and remote data access, respondents indicated a varying degree of security throughout their facilities, and in most cases limited access to any manufacturing data:

And despite all of the hesitation to allow access to manufacturing data via mobile devices and wireless connections, 89% of respondents reported no known intrusions or security threats to their networks. Of those 89%, more than half had minimal to no defensive measures in place to detect and protect their systems.

Access the full Control Engineering 2014 Information Integration report with additional findings and insights.

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