Global Survey Highlights Performance Optimization And Decarbonization As Key Drivers For 2024 OpEx Spending

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Global Survey Highlights Performance Optimization And Decarbonization As Key Drivers For 2024 OpEx Spending

The 2023 Verdantix operational excellence global corporate survey provides a deep insight into the budgets, business priorities and technology preferences of 304 senior executives in maintenance, operations, engineering, process safety, and data science and IT departments. As a whole, the respondents represent 20 industries in 14 economic regions, and all have revenues of over $250 million. Of these, 84% have revenues of over $1 billion and around a fifth have more than $20 billion.

Despite inflation remaining high – rising from a 1.6% average for 2013-2019 to 9.3% in 2022 and 6.6% in 2023 – 95% of respondents plan to either maintain or increase their operational excellence spend. Similarly to the 2022 survey, efficiency, safety and sustainability remain key areas of spending for industrial firms, and digital transformation is seen as a key tool to achieve in these areas, especially with the advent of generative AI. More specifically:

  • Organizations prioritize production and yield optimization. A quarter of survey respondents are planning to increase spend on production and yield optimization by double digit percentages as a means of improving process efficiencies. An additional 40% are planning single-digit percentages. By investing in this optimization, firms will also gain the benefits of reduced waste and GHG emissions.

  • Energy management and corporate decarbonization targets drive digital transformation spending. Energy insecurity is an ongoing concern since the February 2022 invasion of Ukraine, despite energy prices having widely stabilized since then. As a result, 84% of survey respondents see cost reduction and efficiency improvement programmes as ‘very significant’ or ‘significant’ drivers of digital transformation of their plant operations. In parallel, industrial firms are being pressured to decarbonize their plants faster, with 62% of those surveyed planning single- or double-digit percentage increases in spend for this. A means of achieving this is offered by AspenTech’s Sustainability Pathways solutions, which comprise over 100 out-of-the-box models designed to assist process firms in incorporating sustainability across the entire asset life cycle.

  • Industrial firms increasingly recognize the value brought by generative AI. 2023 saw LLMs explode in popularity, with 39% of industrial firms already utilizing them to automate administrative tasks. Nonetheless, 9% of respondents reported that they do not understand how generative AI will impact their operations, and more are keen to learn of use cases of gen AI beyond administrative tasks. Moreover, a significant barrier to achieving operational excellence with generative AI is attaining a robust DataOps infrastructure. 92% and 78% of executives respectively find that data integration from multiple sources and data quality are ‘significant’ or ‘very significant’ data management challenges that their firm needs to overcome.


To gain a deeper understanding of budgets, priorities and tech preferences in operational excellence, read the Verdantix operational excellence global corporate survey report or watch a recording of the associated webinar here.

Sayanh Alam


Sayanh is an Analyst in the Verdantix Operational Excellence practice. Prior to joining Verdantix, she completed an MSc in Chemistry with Molecular Physics at Imperial College London. Here, she undertook research in renewable energy, focusing on improving the thermal stability of organic solar cells under manufacturing and operating conditions.