Document Type


Publication Date

Winter 2018


Chambers College of Business and Economics


Bureau of Business & Economic Research


Smart Manufacturing


The manufacturing sector is currently reinventing itself by embracing the opportunities offered by the industrial internet, automation, and machine learning, just to name a few. This development is commonly referred to as the Fourth Industrial Revolution or Smart Manufacturing. While Smart Manufacturing can be observed around the globe, there are distinct differences in how it is adopted and embraced between countries, industries, and companies of different sizes. Small- and medium-sized manufacturers are generally understood as the backbone of the manufacturing sector. However, these manufacturers face specific challenges when it comes to the transition toward Smart Manufacturing. This report presents the results of a recent 2017 survey conducted by Dr. Thorsten Wuest and Patrick Schmid of West Virginia University on Smart Manufacturing adoption in West Virginia. The survey analyzed West Virginia’s manufacturing landscape and preparedness, as well as existing challenges when it comes to Smart Manufacturing and associated technologies, with a special emphasis on smalland medium-sized manufacturers. Based on the results of the survey, we present six recommendations for how the small- and medium-sized manufacturers in West Virginia can be supported in their Smart Manufacturing journey and ultimately profit from this new reality.