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Hexagon Report Warns: Manufacturers Must Address Data Challenges to Avoid Falling Behind

by Anna

A recent report from Hexagon has revealed that manufacturers who fail to address data challenges risk falling behind their competitors in today’s rapidly evolving landscape. The global survey, conducted by Forrester Consulting and commissioned by Hexagon, involved over 500 manufacturing leaders, shedding light on critical issues surrounding data management within organizations.

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Key findings from the report indicate that a staggering 98% of manufacturers encounter at least one issue with data within their organization. Despite considering real-time collaboration, AI, and automation, persistent data challenges hinder innovation and hinder the implementation of advanced manufacturing technologies.

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Published today, the Advanced Manufacturing Report underscores fundamental shifts in how high-value products are designed and manufactured, emphasizing three digital enablers: data quality and availability, workforce collaboration and empowerment, and automation.

Data Utilization and Collaboration: A Major Concern

The report highlights that data challenges contribute to 97% of manufacturers facing difficulties in collaboration and productivity, impacting their ability to innovate and respond promptly to customers’ needs. Improved collaboration is seen as crucial, with 88% of respondents believing it can enhance product quality, 86% expecting it to reduce time to market, and 82% foreseeing benefits in sustainability efforts.

Despite recognizing the benefits, nearly three-quarters (71%) of business leaders express concerns about the lack of synergy between their design and manufacturing teams.

Regional Disparities in Data Confidence

While access to high-quality data is identified as a universal issue, the report reveals regional disparities in confidence in applying data. Asian manufacturers, in particular, demonstrate higher confidence in utilizing data for tasks such as simulation, virtual manufacturing, and predictive maintenance.

Digitalization Leaders vs. Laggards

Only 2% of manufacturers claim to be free of data problems, highlighting the urgency for action. With the majority of companies at risk of missing their business goals, manufacturing leaders cite improving operational efficiency, increasing manufacturing output, and enhancing the quality of new products as top priorities. However, failure to make cultural and technical changes required for digitalization poses significant challenges.

The report categorizes 37% of manufacturers as ‘laggards,’ indicating their failure to highly or fully automate any phase of their manufacturing process. In contrast, a quarter of manufacturers are identified as ‘leaders’ for highly or fully automating at least two phases of their manufacturing processes.

Industry leaders demonstrate a distinct edge in workforce productivity and efficiency, with 58% reporting increased staff productivity and innovation compared to 35% of laggards.

Investment in Advanced Automation

Manufacturers globally are increasingly turning to advanced automation technologies to boost productivity. Notably, 58% of Asian companies plan to invest in AI-powered or generative automation over the next three years, compared to less than half in North America (45%) and EMEA (38%).

The report, commissioned by Hexagon and conducted by Forrester Consulting, provides valuable insights into the challenges, successes, and opportunities in the manufacturing sector, offering in-depth analysis across the value chain from product design to finished product and quality processes.

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