AI Lands in Manufacturers’ Sights

A new Xometry poll shows manufacturers investing in AI technologies for supply chain management and procurement use cases.

A new Xometry poll shows manufacturers investing in AI technologies for supply chain management and procurement use cases.

Image by Faisal Mehmood from Pixabay.

Whether the reason is a ChatGPT bounce or a desire to stay on cusp of leading-edge technologies, manufacturing companies’ interest in artificial intelligence (AI) is rising, with many taking the plunge with actual deployments.

According to the fourth quarterly American Manufacturing Resurgence Poll, released by Xometry, the preponderance of CEOs surveyed (80%) confirmed they are planning to deploy AI technologies within their operations over the next two years. Moreover, it's not talk or future casting—the Xometry survey found 61% of respondents confirming they are actively embracing AI, up 10 percentage points over those that said so in last year’s survey (51%).

Xometry, which delivers a digital marketplace for manufacturing powered by AI, also asked respondents about how they are using AI and what the results have been to date. Nearly 70% of responding CEOs that said their teams have already implemented AI and that they have seen a near-immediate return on investment in the initiatives. Most said they are currently or planning to leverage AI for supply chain management and manufacturing procurement, according to the quarterly poll, which tracks CEO and decision-maker sentiment at 150 leading companies and is conducted with Forbes, Xometry, and polling company John Zogby Strategies. AI is also now tied with automation to be the most significant tool CEOs plan to leverage to drive efficiencies and productivity within their organizations and to boost competition on a global scale.

While manufacturers are actively experimenting with AI, and pundits are trumpeting AI’s power for wholesale transformation, there is mounting concern about the societal impacts of the powerhouse technology. Many are worried about large-scale layoffs as automation replaces jobs, and there are countless issues related to bias and disinformation. CIOs interviewed for the latest poll minimized the impact AI will have on the workforce—nearly 90% of respondents said they believe white-collar jobs will remain secure over the next few years. In addition, 86% said they support federal regulation to govern use of AI within the broader society while 83% back the creation of a presidential task force to study and recommend regulations.

“For the first time in our polling, AI has pulled even with automation as the No. 1 investment CEOs are making to drive efficiency, strengthen supply chains, and get goods to market faster,” said Randy Altschuler, CEO of Xometry, in a press release. “As they race to implement AI in their shops, a record number of American CEOs have reshored or are planning to reshore their operations to protect against future supply chain shocks.”

The survey also found:

  • 48% of CEOs have reshored all or some of their facilities, up from 35% last quarter;
  • 73% agree that American manufacturing can address supply chains for the entire world, up significantly since January;
  • 71% are optimistic about the future of the economy, up significantly from 62% last quarter.

Xometry is squarely on the AI bandwagon, making significant use of the technology in its two-sided marketplace, which connects enterprise buyers with suppliers of manufacturing services. It recently announced improvements to its AI-powered Xometry Instant Quoting Engine, including capabilities for instant-quoting of inserts, multi-part assemblies, and expanded sheet-cutting processes. The proprietary AI technology learns from each interaction, enabling Xometry to continuously evaluate, build, and roll out new products and offerings.

Watch this video to learn more about the Xometry platform, including how to get instant quotes.

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Beth Stackpole's avatar
Beth Stackpole

Beth Stackpole is a contributing editor to Digital Engineering. Send e-mail about this article to [email protected].

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