Economists estimate that automation will replace 5 million jobs by 2020, and the Proservartner Automation Index analyses the broad swathe of sectors and jobs most ripe for disruption. The study finds that nearly nine in 10 manufacturing executives have incorporated automated processes into a part of their business between April and November 2018. These executives are most likely to be automating their own core manufacturing processes (51%), followed closely by IT and telecoms processes (25%) and supply chain processes (24%).

Despite such high levels of automation, the industry actually lags behind the blistering pace of AI adoption in other sectors. Manufacturing decision makers are less likely than financial services chiefs or marketing bosses to have automated in the past six months, perhaps a result of an earlier, or steadier, adoption process.

The Proservartner study questioned more than 600 UK businesses, from SMEs to major multinational companies. Responses also found evidence that, overall, mid-cap businesses (250-500 employees) are leading the charge when it comes to automation.

Commenting on the findings, Rakesh Sangani CEO and founder of Proservartner, says: “The findings of the Proservartner Automation Index show the manufacturing sector’s recognition that global industry is changing, and automation is key if businesses are to succeed. For manufacturers, automation – from the use of data analytics to collaborative robots on the production line – is essential for the agility and efficiency that customers demand.”