process manufacturing test
2021 has been a busy year, with process manufacturing plants struggling to rediscover “normal” as the global economy opened up, digital transformation zooming ahead, and sustainability increasing in importance. At Precognize, we’ve covered these new and ongoing challenges, while sharing information and guidance about predictive maintenance and digital transformation. 

After a year of action-packed blog posts, we offer you a light-hearted quiz to see how much you know about process manufacturing in 2021 and beyond. Did you know the right answers? All the answers at the bottom of the blog post.

1. In an oil and gas plant, the average cost of an hour of unplanned downtime is:

  1. $50,000
  2. $100,000
  3. $250,000
  4. $350,000
  5. $600,000

2. The biggest issue driving digital transformation in food and beverage companies is:

  1. Sustainability
  2. Safety in the workplace
  3. Food safety standards
  4. A need for greater agility
  5. A desire to streamline operations

3. The most common type of safety violation in process manufacturing plants is:

  1. Long-term health issues from chemical hazards
  2. Injury from industrial machinery
  3. Unexpected release of energy from heavy machinery during repairs
  4. Trips and falls
  5. Back damage from lifting heavy items

4. In pharma, the difference in carbon intensity between the best and worst pharmaceutical companies is:

a) up to 2x

b) up to 3x

c) up to 4x

d) up to 5x

e) up to 6x

5. The biggest obstacle holding back oil and gas companies from achieving their plans for digital transformation is:

  1. Legacy assets and outdated infrastructure
  2. The skills gap
  3. Lack of commitment from leadership
  4. Lack of digital alignment between different parts of the ecosystem
  5. Uncertainty about which area to prioritize

6. What is the main aspect of digital transformation that chemicals plants intend to focus on?

  1. Artificial intelligence (AI) 
  2. Edge computing
  3. Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT)
  4. Cloud computing
  5. Digital twins

7. 2021’s worst industrial plant incident was:

  1. An explosion at a food processing plant in the US
  2. An explosion at an automotive plastics factory in Italy
  3. A chemical tanker explosion in South Korea
  4. A fire at a chemical plant in India
  5. An explosion at a wastewater treatment plant in the UK

8. The digital maturity profile of the chemicals manufacturing industry is, on average:

  1. 32.7%
  2. 92.5%
  3. 42.2%
  4. 17.8%
  5. 63.1%

9. Which region has the most digitally advanced chemical plants?

  1. Asia-Pacific
  2. Europe
  3. North America
  4. Latin America
  5. The Middle East

10. In the pharma industry, sustainability means:

  1. Reducing carbon emissions and pollution
  2. Cutting water and energy consumption
  3. Ensuring fair access to pharma products
  4. Improving anti-corruption and transparency processes
  5. All the above

11. The hazards in a food and beverage processing plant are:

  1. Inhalation of hazardous substances
  2. Temperature hazards
  3. Biological hazards
  4. All of the above
  5. None of the above

12. The percentage of manufacturing executives who described themselves as optimistic about markets in Q2 2021 is:

  1. 30.3%
  2. 46.5%
  3. 78.2%
  4. 90.1%
  5. 64.6%

13. The manufacturing vertical that saw the most growth between July 2020 and July 2021 is:

  1. Pharmaceuticals
  2. Computer and electronics
  3. Electrical equipment
  4. Paper and pulp
  5. Automotive manufacture

14. Which manufacturing vertical has the highest sustainability score when it comes to environmental issues?

  1. Pharmaceuticals
  2. Construction
  3. Food and beverage
  4. Petrochemicals
  5. Paper and pulp

15. The percentage of CEOs in the manufacturing industry who accelerated their digital transformation during the pandemic is:

  1. 81%
  2. 43%
  3. 96%
  4. 62%

16. How much renewable energy is produced by European energy companies?

  1. 3.87GW
  2. 6.87GW
  3. 1.87GW
  4. 10.87GW

17. Advanced water treatments could reduce water consumption in the food and beverage industry by:

  1. Up to 80%
  2. Up to 40%
  3. Up to 60%
  4. Up to 30%

18. The number of skilled positions in manufacturing companies that could go unfilled by 2030 is estimated at:

  1. 35.6 million
  2. 2.1 million
  3. 0.7 million
  4. 16 million

19. The top concern in the chemicals industry for the year ahead is:

  1. Increasing resilience
  2. Increasing revenue
  3. Increasing transparency
  4. Increasing diversity 
  5. Increasing sustainability 

20. The oil and gas industry is collectively responsible for how many metric tons of methane emissions each year?

  1. Over 13 million
  2. Over 47 million
  3. Over 86 million
  4. Under 13 million


1. C. $250,000. In the past three years, 82% of oil and gas plants experienced at least one incident of unplanned downtime, at an average cost of $250,000 per hour. The average plant had two incidents of unplanned downtime, and the total cost amounted to over $2 million per plant. Read more here

2. A. Sustainability is the leading issue for 79% of food and beverage companies, in response to pressure from consumers to provide better product traceability and visibility. Rising food safety standards, a need for more agility to respond quickly to rapidly fluctuating customer demands, and the need to support hybrid and remote working through streamlined operations are also serious concerns that play a part in driving digital transformation in this industry. Learn more about digital transformation in food and beverage plants

3. D. Mundane though it may seem, trips, slips, and falls are consistently the most frequent safety violations, according to the US Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). Part of the reason why falls are so common is precisely because they’re mundane; the unguarded machinery of a raw feed mill is an obvious risk that draws attention, but worn-out non-slip taping or a cord trailing across the floor are easy to overlook. Chemical hazards, physical hazards, electrical hazards, and hazards from industrial machinery are other safety violations that occur frequently. Read more about safety concerns in process manufacturing

4. D, up to 5x. Some companies are already operating at the level needed to meet the Paris climate accords, for example, Johnson & Johnson, Roche Holding AG, GlaxoSmithKline, Amgen Inc., and GSK. But the laggards have a carbon intensity that’s up to 5 times greater than the leaders. Read more in our blog post about sustainability issues pharmaceutical industry 

5. B. Only 55% of executives feel they have the necessary skills to see value from advanced analytics; just 50% said the same about edge computing; and 43% about AI and ML. In areas such as data analytics, AI, cloud computing, digital literacy, and data science, the gap between the importance given to the skill and the skill level within the organization is enormous. Legacy assets, outdated infrastructure, and a lack of digital alignment within the ecosystem are also leading challenges to digital transformation in oil and gas companies. Read more in Digital Transformation & Industry 4.0 in Oil & Gas 

6. C. Over the next two years, 67% of chemicals companies expect leading applications for digital transformation to center around IIoT, 64% said AI, and 61% said cloud computing. 

Read more Digital Transformation & Industry 4.0 in the Chemical Industry

7.  D. A fire following an explosion in a chemical in Pune, India in June 2021 killed 18 people. Other deadly incidents at industrial manufacturing plants in 2021 include a fire that killed 7 people at a chemicals plant in Russia, an explosion at a food processing plant in the US that injured 10 people, and a leak of the poisonous gas styrene monomer which killed 1 person and injured 33 more at a chemical plant in Thailand.

Read more Predictive Analytics and AI Can Prevent Process Plant Accidents 

8. C.  The manufacturing industry as a whole has a digital maturity profile of 39%, but the chemicals vertical is slightly ahead at 42.2%. 75% of chemicals companies predict that they’ll have reached advanced digitalization by 2026. Read more here

9. A. Chemicals plants in the Asia-Pacific region are further advanced in their digital transformations, seeing strategic opportunities arising from digitzalition while those in Europe and North America are still focused only on operational improvements. Read more here

10. E. Although environmental concerns like cutting emissions and pollution, reducing pharma in the environment (PIE), and lowering energy and water consumption are top of the list for pharma companies, they are also aware of and taking steps to address a wider set of ESG issues that include cutting wate, improving anti-corruption and transparency practices, and ensuring fair access to pharma products. Read more in Big Pharma is Cleaning Up its Act.

11. D. As well as the same hazards shared by all manufacturing industries, such as the risk of falls, crushing or cutting, or electric shocks, employees in food and beverage plants are also at risk of injury through inhaling flour or hazardous substances, exposure to extreme high or low temperatures, and parasites, bacteria, and viruses in animal parts and animal waste. Read more Preventing Hazards and Safety Concerns in Process Manufacturing  

12. D. The National Association of Manufacturers’ report for Q2 2021 shows that 90.1% of manufacturing executives feel optimistic about their future revenues, representing a 4th consecutive quarterly rise in market optimism among participants. Read more 

Process Manufacturing 2022: Digitalization Is the Foundation for Success 

13. A. While most industries saw at least some growth in the 12 months between July 2020 and July 2021, pharmaceutical production outstripped every other vertical, rising by more than 30%. At the other end of the spectrum, metal ore mining, motor vehicles and trailer production, and clothes manufacturing contracted at rates of -9.9 %, -9.0%, and -4.6% respectively. 

Read more Process Manufacturing 2022: Digitalization Is the Foundation for Success 

14. C. According to research by ESG consultants EcoVadis, food and beverage is the highest scoring vertical for environmental Issues, and it comes in third, just behind construction and finance, for overall sustainability.  Read more in Sustainability in the Food and Beverage Industry

15. C. A KPMG study reported that 96% of CEOs in the manufacturing industry speeded up digitization projects following the outbreak of COVID-19. Read more Process Manufacturing 2022: Digitalization Is the Foundation for Success 

16. A. Europe-based companies are focusing their decarbonization efforts on increasing renewable energy production, with leading European energy companies producing 3.87 GW of renewable energy and planning projects to generate another 5.76 GW, while American companies have zero current output, and future plans amount to less than 1GW. Read more in Sustainability Challenges in the Oil & Gas Industry.

17. A. Advanced processes like wastewater recycling can help cut water consumption. Ultrafiltration, reverse osmosis, and other water treatments can reduce water consumption in beverage operations by up to 80%. Read more in: Sustainability in the Food and Beverage Industry 

18. B. Due to a number of factors, including more workers than expected retiring during the pandemic and younger workers growing more picky about the positions they accept, there could be a shortfall of 2.1 million skilled jobs in manufacturing by 2030. Read more Process Manufacturing 2022: Digitalization Is the Foundation for Success 

19. E. A PWC survey revealed that 58% of CEOs in the chemical industry are already planning investments in sustainability in the coming year, making it their top concern. Read more Sustainable Manufacturing is the Future of the Chemical Industry 

20. A. Research has found that the oil and gas industry emits more than 13 million metric tons of methane each year, which has a global warming potential that’s 28-36 times greater than CO₂, and is the second largest single contributor to greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Read more Sustainability Challenges in the Oil & Gas Industry