Graphic courtesy of PTC/Onshape/Business Wire.

BOSTON—In a new industry survey of nearly 1,000 product development professionals from around the world, 80 percent of manufacturing companies surveyed said they need to minimize the time their engineering teams spend on non-design related activities, such as data management and administrative tasks. The State of Product Development & Hardware Design 2020 report explores the unprecedented challenges facing product development teams during the coronavirus pandemic and identifies significant opportunities for improvement.

The independent industry survey, commissioned on behalf of PTC’s Onshape® Software as a Service (SaaS) product development platform, concluded that manufacturing companies risk missing strategic goals due to cumbersome processes and outdated design tools and technologies that are not suited for a flexible and remote workforce. In the vast majority of the 15 product development categories asked about in the survey, companies reported a disconnect between what they believe are capabilities that are critical for driving productivity and innovation, and their actual performance in each of these areas.

“This report offers a fascinating look at companies’ self-reported strengths and weaknesses in the product development process,” said Jon Hirschtick, executive vice president and president of SaaS, PTC, in a release. “The capabilities gap between where engineering teams say they want to be and where they believe they are right now is a reminder that successful companies have to be hyper-agile. The need to constantly re-evaluate existing tools and processes is especially vital to not just surviving but thriving during unpredictable times.”

The survey reported several notable gaps in product development capability. While 82 percent of respondents rated the minimizing of time spent on non-design related activities and overhead as critical for success, 41 percent rated their current capabilities in this area as good or excellent. Seventy-seven percent rated the ability to monitor activity/progress at any stage in the design process without meetings, emails or calls as critical for success, and 43 percent rated their current capabilities as good or excellent.

An exploded view of an assembly in Onshape. Graphic courtesy of PTC/Onshape/Business Wire.

Moreover, 75 percent rated their satisfaction with simulation tools as critical for success, with 43 percent rating their current capabilities as good or excellent. And while 69 percent rated their satisfaction with PDM or PLM tools as critical for success, 40 percent rated their current capabilities as good or excellent.

The report also explored companies’ top priorities for improvement in the product development process, as well as the obstacles blocking these goals. The most urgent priorities include resolving version control issues, increasing earlier communication and collaboration across the company, and making computer-aided design (CAD) data less siloed and more available throughout the design process.

Amid extended work-from-home policies due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the report concluded that cloud-based productivity tools give companies more confidence in their ability to support remote work. Of companies that scored themselves highest in productivity, 87 percent stated they are now able to effectively support work from home.

With a cloud-based CAD and data management platform, companies can drive earlier collaboration and boost productivity and innovation, PTC said in the release.

A full copy of the report is available at

 PTC and Onshape are trademarks or registered trademarks of PTC Inc. and/or its subsidiaries in the United States and other countries.

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