Machine DesignMachine Design: How to Reduce Non-Value-Added Work (survey results)

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Machine DesignHow much better would your machine designs be if engineers wasted less time on non-value-added work? 

Unfortunately, machine designs have grown so complex that engineers waste significant time on non-value-added work. Consequently, they often lack the bandwidth to meet all of these expectations. An overwhelming, 98% of machine designers report that their challenges negatively impact the business. Consequently, it can be hard to identify conflicts and find the time to fully evaluate essential engineering decisions affecting quality and cost. As a result, many struggle to avoid cost overruns and risks to delivery dates. 

This research identifies six strategies machine designers can implement to reduce non-value-added work.

Please enjoy the summary below.* For the full report, please visit our sponsor Dassault Systèmes SolidWorks (registration required).

For related research, you may be interested in our other eBooks How to Reduce Non-Value-Added Work in Engineering and Industrial Design: 7 Ways to Reduce Non-Value-Added Work which provide additional insights on reducing wasted engineering effort.

Table of Contents

  • Executive Summary
  • Importance of Machine Design
  • Identifying Machine Design Top Performers
  • Strategies to Reduce Non-Value-Added Work
  • 1. Access Product Data from Anywhere
  • 2. Maximize Reuse
  • 3. Improve Collaboration
  • 4. Automate Machine Design Tasks
  • 5. Streamline Mechanism Design Tasks
  • 6. Solicit More Feedback
  • Conclusion
  • Recommendations
  • About the Research
  • Acknowledgments

The Value of Increasing Engineering Bandwidth

Imagine the Impact of Reducing Non-Value-Added Engineering Work in Machine Design

How much better would your machine designs be if engineers wasted less time on non-value-added work?

Engineering work is critical to competitive machine designs. However, as designs become more complex, engineering decisions become more challenging. Unfortunately, engineers waste so much time on non-value-added work, it impacts their bandwidth. Consequently, it can be hard to identify conflicts and find the time to fully evaluate essential engineering decisions affecting quality and cost. As a result, many struggle to avoid cost overruns and risks to delivery dates.

About the Research

Based on a survey of 228 manufacturers, this research study examines machine design practices, where engineers waste time, and best practices to avoid non-value-added work. These best practices will improve your ability to produce higher quality machines in less time, while improving your ability to meet your customers’ expectations.

Importance of Machine Design

Machine DesignEngineers Need Empowerment

For companies that develop machines, especially industrial equipment manufacturers, engineering is critical to success. Global competition is so steep that much of what makes a machine stand out is the engineering behind it. However, many challenges hold engineers back (see graph).

Increasing Complexity

As machines become more innovative, they also get more complex. More components, smarter products, numerous configurations, mechanism calculations, and more drive product complexity. In turn, the more complex machines become, the more complicated engineering decisions get, making it difficult to balance cost and quality. These factors make predictability difficult. Plus, minor errors easily contribute to cost overruns and delays. Changes also require agility to quickly pivot and adapt without compromising lead times.

Business Impacts

Machine DesignAn overwhelming 98% of machine designers report that these challenges impact the business,
hurting profitability (see graph). If engineers are not more empowered, products will cost more. Meanwhile, quality issues can lead to missed delivery dates, market delays, or fewer key features, making you less competitive. Consequently, customers may go elsewhere, leading to revenue losses. At the same time, dealing with increasing complexity or addressing problems related to errors, manufacturability issues, and other difficulties hurt productivity.

Increase Engineering Bandwidth

Engineers need to be empowered to be as productive as possible to have the capacity to deal with the top machine design challenges. Unfortunately, previous Tech-Clarity research has found that engineers waste 33% of their time on non-value-added work.1 By reducing some of that time, engineers will have more bandwidth to address the top challenges of machine design.

Conclusion

Ideal Machine Design Solution

Regardless of their performance, machine designers indicate numerous business advantages to using an ideal machine design solution (see graph). While products will still get out even without an ideal solution, engineers waste so much time on non-value-added work, companies miss out on opportunities that would give them a competitive advantage.

An ideal solution that supports easy access to product data from anywhere, maximizes reuse, improves collaboration, enables design automation, including mechanisms, and facilitates more opportunities for feedback will reduce this non-value-added work and free up engineering bandwidth. As a result, engineers will have more time to improve design quality, lower costs, and innovate. There will be less risk for errors, which will save time. The result will be happier customers, helping you win customer loyalty and capture market share.

Machine Design

Recommendations

Recommendations and Next Steps

By limiting the time machine designers waste on non-value-added work, you can increase engineering bandwidth, empowering them to produce higher quality designs, in less time, at a lower cost. Based on industry experience and research for this report, Tech-Clarity offers the following recommendations:

  • Ensure machine designers can easily access product data in real-time from anywhere. This will limit their time searching for data, recreating work
    because they couldn’t find the data, or reworking designs due to outdated information.
  • Maximize reuse by making data easier to find and with a reuse library. This will save engineering time by using previously proven work, reducing the risk of introducing new errors.
  • Improve collaboration by making it easier for stakeholders, especially analysts, to access design data in real-time.
  • Automate machine design tasks to limit the amount of time engineers waste on tedious tasks.
  • Streamline mechanism design tasks with specialized applications tailored for mechanism design that enable engineers to design mechanisms in the context of the entire assembly.
  • Solicit more feedback by improving the efficiency of design reviews by extending access to all stakeholders, including customers. A cloud platform allows the flexibility to extend access to third parties and then turn it off so that you never lose control of your intellectual property.

*This summary is an abbreviated version of the ebook and does not contain the full content. For the full report, please visit our sponsor Dassault Systèmes SolidWorks (registration required).

If you have difficulty obtaining a copy of the research, please contact us.