Manufacturers are focused on improving their design processes far more than on improving their design tools, according to a recent study.

The report, “The State of Product Development & Hardware Design 2019” pinpoints the top priorities of today’s design and manufacturing teams. It identifies the most urgent priorities of design and manufacturing teams seeking to boost productivity and innovation.

Covering companies of all sizes, the study gathered insights from executives, engineering managers, product designers, project managers, sales technical engineers, CAD administrators, and quality assurance engineers. Respondents were representative of companies using the most widely adopted professional design and manufacturing tools, without regard to specific brands.

Respondents were asked to identify their most important needs for improvement in the product development process. The top two areas were communication and version control.

According to the study, 89 percent say they want earlier and better communication between members of their extended design team. This could be addressing mis-communication or not enough communication between internal teams or with external partners — or even missed opportunities to get design feedback from contributors who could have game-changing ideas.

In addition, 86 percent of respondents say they need to reduce errors resulting from working on the wrong version of a design or receiving important information too late. These are preventable data management issues that result in costly manufacturing mistakes, and ultimately, a slower time to market.

In contrast, for managers and executives at these same companies, the top priority for improvement is visibility: 89 percent say they want the ability to monitor their product design team’s progress anytime without having meetings, sending emails, or making phone calls. Executives at manufacturing companies want realtime information and actionable data.

“It’s surprising to see that improvements to processes are rated as higher priorities than some of the trendier media topics like additive manufacturing and generative design,” says Onshape CEO Jon Hirschtick. “Better team communication, visibility and data management clearly leads to an improved design process, and those improvements are clearly a key success factor for product developers who are trying to stay on top.”

The independent study was commissioned by Onshape, a cloud product development platform that combines CAD, release management, workflow, and collaboration tools. The study provides insights from 850 executives, engineering managers, and product designers, covering companies using all brands of design tools. None of the respondents are current Onshape customers.

Sherrie Trigg

Editor and Director of Medical Content

To download the report, go to here .