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Outdated perceptions about design technology are hampering growth according to new survey

08 March 2010

A new survey from Autodesk, polling the views and opinions of more than 100 senior decision-makers, primarily working for mainstream manufacturing companies in the UK, finds that these companies see increasing margins (48%), improving quality (30%) accelerating speed to market (29%) as the three most important drivers of business growth. 
The most important barrier identified is the cost involved in achieving this growth (highlighted by 62% of respondents), followed by market conditions (cited by 58%).
“This emphasis on cost is significant, particularly when you consider that manufacturers believe that the same commercial drivers seen as critical to their growth will also require the largest increases in design technology investment to achieve,” says Amina West, sales director, Autodesk Manufacturing Solutions, Northern Europe. 
83% of those surveyed felt that it would take a rise of more than 10% in annual investment in design technology solutions to achieve ‘improved margins’ while 37% felt that an increase of more than 50% in annual investments would be required to deliver ‘accelerated speed to market’. 33% thought that a similar increase would be the minimum needed to attain ‘reduced product development costs’ (ranked as the fourth most important growth driver).
“These perceptions are understandable but they do not reflect the reality: that streamlined and efficient design technology solutions do not have to be expensive to implement and operate,” adds West. “At Autodesk, we believe we can address the inaccurate perception that they do - both through our cost-effective, easy-to-use digital design solutions and our focus on digital prototyping.
“With the UK Government now showing a renewed focus on the manufacturing sector and the market showing positive signs of recovery, it is important that outmoded attitudes to design innovation do not hamper this upturn,” she continues. 
“We need to highlight the message that the benefits of digital prototyping not only address the perceived drivers and barriers identified by the survey but also manufacturers’ concerns about the high investment levels needed to achieve them.
“Digital prototyping allows manufacturers to optimise and validate their ideas before creating a product, helping to remove time and costs from the product development process, and get the ‘right’ product to market faster,” adds West. “Delivering quality is clearly as important here as speed. The market cost of poor quality is clearly illustrated by recent high-profile product recalls.”
The survey, conducted in January 2010, collated the opinions of 107 senior decision-makers working for small and medium-sized manufacturing companies across a broad range of industry sectors. Respondents came from three primary sources: IMechE members, Autodesk customers, and manufacturers polled at a recent industry event. The majority of respondents worked for either original equipment manufacturers (55%) or contract manufacturers (25%).

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