According to a recent ARC Advisory Group report, the manufacturing industry needs great flexibility to stay in step with today's market expectations. Automation engineering has taken on that challenge. Even out on the production floor, intelligent production management is using tools, such as lean production, production on demand, mass customization, and supply chain management is no longer feasible without intelligent, adaptive automation systems. The increasing importance of automation system networking is also apparent. The traditional distinction between discrete manufacturing, process, and building automation is be coming less and less relevant as the boundaries become blurred. Intelligent power supply equipment is now integrated into automation networks, providing preventive maintenance infor mation for controllers and SCADA (Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition) systems. There is also work to be done to make the equipment more user friendly, and that is an area where there are plenty of opportunities for innovation. The earnings generated following the economic crisis now need to be invested in R&D. You can read the full trend report here.