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Survey: Most Manufacturers Using AI, But Many Feel Behind in Meaningful AI Use Cases

Rootstock’s annual survey finds that manufacturers with a Signal Chain are further ahead in digital transformation and better able to navigate today’s market.

Note: TDWI's editors carefully choose vendor-issued press releases about new or interesting research and services. We have edited and/or condensed this release to highlight key study results or service features but make no claims as to the accuracy of the vendor's statements.

Rootstock Software, a specialist in the manufacturing cloud ERP space, released results from its 2024 State of Manufacturing Technology Survey. This study assessed how manufacturers view their digital transformation journeys, where they are currently making tech investments, and where they see opportunities for emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI). Despite 90% of manufacturers utilizing some form of AI in their operations, the survey revealed there is a level of imposter syndrome when it comes to AI implementation and progress, with 38% reporting they feel behind their peers. 

Based on a survey of 508 manufacturers across countries in North America, Europe, and Asia, Rootstock’s State of Manufacturing Technology Survey is a follow-on to the company’s inaugural 2023 report, designed to uncover how manufacturers are progressing in digital transformation year-over-year. The 2023 report found that the top two barriers to digital transformation were a lack of cross-departmental collaboration/coordination (37%) and limited access to data (34%). This year’s report uncovered a clear shift to constraints surrounding budget and resources (31%) and time (27%), which emerged as the new top obstacles to digital transformation initiatives in 2024. 

“Today’s economic climate is driving an urgent need for manufacturers to do more with less,” said Raj Badarinath, chief product and marketing officer at Rootstock Software. “To navigate the volatile micro and macro trends occurring at a local and global scale, manufacturers are recalibrating technology investments and resetting what ERP means in the age of AI. In years past, they’ve hobbled along on incremental benefits from legacy solutions. Now they’re seeing the benefits of a modern, cloud-first, AI-ready platform approach. Acquiring these capabilities will deliver the benefits that matter most to manufacturers, namely precise control over their resources, the ability to adapt to ever-changing conditions, and more time to focus on initiatives that truly deliver value.”

Additional key findings from the 2024 Manufacturing Technology Report include: 

  • Manufacturers are optimistic about digital transformation progress. Manufacturers show a positive outlook about digital transformation (63%), with the majority feeling they’re at least on par with peers (39%) or slightly ahead (24%).
  • Manufacturers anticipate significant negative impacts from current economic conditions. The top concerns were unreliable suppliers (39%) and decreased demand (36%).
  • Investments in enterprise software are critical to growth. Over half (51%) of manufacturers are planning to increase spending in this area (such as ERP, CRM, HCM, SCM, and finance), underscoring the importance of these digital tools for future growth.
  • Cloud ERP is bringing manufacturers significant benefits. Manufacturers leveraging Cloud ERP reported reduced overall costs (56%), improved IT security (46%), and enhanced business agility and resiliency (46%).
  • The adoption of a manufacturing signal chain translates to digital transformation success. Manufacturers that have deployed a signal chain strategy are farther ahead in their digital transformation journeys (76%) than those that have not (8%).

For complete survey findings and details, check out Rootstock’s study findings here: (short registration required).


In partnership with Researchscape, Rootstock conducted this research via an online survey fielded in February to April 2024. There were 508 respondents to the survey across 14 countries (Australia , Belgium, Canada , Denmark, Finland , France , Germany, Ireland, Japan, Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, United Kingdom , and United States) leading “digital transformation” in companies with revenues of $10 million or more.

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