Design Engineering Teams Choose Process Over Products

The State of Product Development & Hardware Design 2019 survey results contain some surprises.

The State of Product Development & Hardware Design 2019 survey results contain some surprises.

A total of 850 design engineers, engineering managers and executives share their opinions on the state of product development and hardware design.

Survey takers sometimes keep their results locked up tighter than Fort Knox, unless you want to fork over some of yourtreasure in the hopes of finding gold in their data. That’s not the case with Onshape’s “The State of Product Development & Hardware Design 2019.” The results are freely available, and they’re full of valuable insights.

“Onshape?” You might ask. “What’s a company known for shaking up the CAD and data management markets withcloud-based software that runs via a browser got to do with market research?” Being a skeptic, I assumed it was akin to my wife asking if her new outfit looks nice: She’s looking for compliments, not critiques. That’s not the case here. 

When Onshape asked product development professionals to identify the most important areas of improvement to boost productivity, maybe the company was thinking the respondents would say “browser-based CAD software.” Instead, the 850 respondents didn’t point to particular design tools or technologies; the overwhelming majority said improving design processes was more important than improving their CAD tools, usage of additive manufacturing or generative design. 

(Side note: To help avoid bias, Onshape excluded its paying customers from the survey results.)

Another surprise: While word on the street is that design engineers hate product data management (PDM), the survey shows that they understand its importance. They’re just looking for a better way to do it. 

Some not-so-surprising results: Companies that self-reported as innovative also self-reported as productive and were more likely to embrace cloud tools. The survey found that 78% of companies that rated themselves as “excellent” for innovation used one or more public cloud file-sharing services. Seventy-five percent of firms using cloud-based PDM/PLM systems said their ability to drive innovation was “good” or “excellent,” while those using cloud versions of those platforms were twice as likely to be bullish on their innovation capabilities compared to companies using on-premises PDM/PLM platforms.

This is the first time Onshape has fielded this survey, but it’s unlikely to be the last. Check out the 26 pages of data presented with easy-to-follow charts, graphs and data points. Interesting stuff.

Thanks for reading DE.

—The editors

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