Fictiv has released its third annual State of Hardware Report. This year’s survey polled 1,136 developers and manufacturers spanning 72 industries to provide detailed data-driven insights on the most critical challenges and opportunities for more streamlined collaboration throughout the manufacturing process.
“The State of Hardware report is part of our commitment to make hardware development easier and more accessible and to ultimately unleash the next wave of innovation in engineering and design,” says Dave Evans, co-founder and CEO of Fictiv.
Results from the survey suggest that while speed to market is a top priority for developers, various inefficiencies constrain the process of moving from digital to physical quickly. Hardware developers are increasingly relying on nearshoring for earlier stage projects because of short timelines. However, local manufacturing capacity remains limited and those that can support projects are constrained by a lack of technology to efficiently meet project deadlines.
These local limitations are contributing to an overall delay in project turnarounds for broader manufacturing needs. Inefficient processes and technologies are forcing personnel to perform redundant roles and activities, extending manufacturing timelines unnecessarily.
“Manufacturing continues to be an outdated process that is increasingly in need of the digitization that has already swept through industries like transportation, grocery and hospitality,” says Evans.
Key insights gathered from the survey include:
- Speed is a priority: To iterate on designs quickly, 71% of product teams say they depend on external manufacturing shops with fast lead and response times as well as to expedite services;
- Manufacturing runs on email: While most software development teams have moved beyond email-based communication systems to save time and improve efficiencies, 93% of product developers and 94% of manufacturers rely heavily on email, followed by phone, to discuss part designs and manufacturability, leading to unnecessary production delays;
- Manufacturers are strained by limited resources: Although hardware teams rely on external shops to help them move quickly, shops are time and resource constrained as 75% of manufacturing personnel report that they perform three or more roles in their organization which limits their ability to deliver on speed;
- Strong demands for domestic supply persists: Despite challenges, nearly half of developers (49%) say their external vendors for 3D printing or CNC machining are “often or always local”, likely because of fast delivery times; and
- Communication lines are crossed: The survey revealed a wide gap in perceived manufacturing knowledge between engineers and manufacturers, as well as infrequent manufacturability feedback and common miscommunications with 66% of developers reporting a miscommunication with a CNC machining or 3D printing shop in regard to design intent on a part and 74% of manufacturers reporting a similar miscommunication.
Sources: Press materials received from the company.