Fictiv released their annual report on the State of Manufacturing.
The San Francisco-based company operates a manufacturing network that focuses on startups. Their participating manufacturers offer a broad spectrum of making services that are accessed through a unified and easy-to-use interface.
Each year Fictiv runs a survey to find out more about their client base and others, and it presents some interesting views on the future of 3D printing and industry in general. You can see our thoughts on previous editions from 2020, 2019 and 2018.
The past year has been interesting to say the least, and while we’ve seen many manufacturing businesses suffer, others have grown tremendously. Surveys offer a way to find the truth among all the anecdotal stories we’ve been hearing over the past 15 months.
According to Fictiv, the key takeaways from the report are:
- Industry leaders believe now is the time to accelerate the pace of change, with 95% saying the pandemic has had long-term effects on their business and that same number (95%) agreeing that digital transformation is essential to their company’s future success;
- The pandemic laid bare deep weaknesses in supply chains as 94% of survey respondents report concerns about their current supply chains and 92% say their supply chains act as barriers to new product innovation; and
- As companies move into a post-pandemic era they are looking to future-proof their manufacturing with 62% pursuing a reshoring strategy, 89% reporting that sustainable manufacturing is a growing priority, and 84% having turned to on-demand manufacturing as a solution.
As we’ve seen with other reports, the challenge of supply chains is the root cause of much change in 2020 and beyond. For many 3D printing companies this has been a way to dramatically grow as new clients have suddenly opened up to the notion of using 3D technology in ways they have never done previously.
Fictiv’s report suggests that a majority of companies in several industry segments intend on onshoring portions of their operations in the future in order to lower supply chain risks and increase flexibility. However, they also report that there are barriers to doing so.
The major barriers are workforce training, cost and capacity. All of these can be achieved over time, but in the meantime this opens up a big roadway for companies like Fictiv that can scale up to provide a bridge to that future through the use of their services.
One very interesting finding is that companies are discovering the advantages of flexibility. Jean Olivieri, Fictiv’s COO, said:
“The pandemic also served as a proving ground for new ideas. A super majority of those polled said that their comfort level with work from home influenced their positive attitudes towards flexible manufacturing arrangements. With 84% having used on-demand manufacturing solutions over the past year, it’s obvious the industry is becoming less reliant on the ownership of physical spaces and wholly owned processes.”
It seems that we’ve stepped into a new world of manufacturing, with 3D printing as one of the key elements.