A Walk Through Fictiv’s Manufacturing Survey Shows Significant Change Underway

By on July 22nd, 2020 in research

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Fictiv’s annual manufacturing survey is published [Source: Fictiv]

Fictiv released their annual “State of Manufacturing” report, and there are some notable changes from previous years’ reports.

Fictiv operates a growing manufacturing network, able to service requestors with CNC, injection molding, urethane casting and 3D printing capabilities provided by their partners. Last year Fictiv secured a large investment that has allowed them to continue their growth.

Fictiv State Of Manufacturing

For the past five years Fictiv has undertaken an annual survey of their manufacturing clients. We’ve obtained a copy of their latest survey results and while perusing it noticed some very interesting trends that echo some of the effects we’ve seen recently elsewhere.

This year is quite unlike any other, and as a result the 215 survey responders had different answers for many of the questions.

Let’s take a look through the survey and focus on some of the numbers I found particularly interesting.

Impacts: It’s no surprise that almost 9 in 10 report the pandemic has affected their operations in some way. What is surprising is that almost the same number say they “see opportunities” admist the crisis, and almost 100% say the situation has “created new opportunities”.

This is congruent with our observations happening at 3D printing companies worldwide, who were forced into different business models as a result of business purchases being paused. However, many were successful due to 3D printing technology’s ability to rapidly deploy into new applications.

It seems that other manufacturers in Fictiv’s orbit are seeing the same phenomenon.

Another interesting result from the survey is confirmation that “supply chain resilience” is of great importance. Previously the top factor seemed to be cost efficiency, but now companies that experienced component delivery lags are focusing their attention on rebuilding their supply chains for resilience, or at least 99% of Fictiv’s respondents think so.

Almost all are actively working on supply chain redevelopment, and most are working towards a dual- or even triple-sourcing strategy. This is quite different from past strategies. Also a majority of Fictiv respondents are planning to minimize “reliance on China”, but readers should be aware that Fictiv’s survey involved only US-based respondents and non-US manufacturers may have different strategies. However, 74% say they will continue to source parts from China. About half

Aside from rethinking supply chains, moving to remote work and hiring now-free talent, it seems many companies have been working on new products to address new demands. While some might have used 3D printing tech to do so quickly, other manufacturing tech would catch up later.

A significant number of companies are working on digital transformations as a result of the crisis. With many staff forced to work from home, the lack of digital artifacts has been quite difficult for some. Competitors that happened to have previously digitized had an advantage, and now it seems most companies are attempting to catch up.

In looking at what exactly should be fixed with a digital transformation, the top moves seem to be:

  • Becoming more agile to react to situations
  • Increasing productivity
  • Better inventory management
  • Improved products
  • Speed up new product development

All good things.

If you’re interested in looking at the survey yourself, Fictiv offers a free download of the full results at their site.

Via Fictiv

By Kerry Stevenson

Kerry Stevenson, aka "General Fabb" has written over 8,000 stories on 3D printing at Fabbaloo since he launched the venture in 2007, with an intention to promote and grow the incredible technology of 3D printing across the world. So far, it seems to be working!

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