As economic storm clouds gather on the horizon, now is the time for action. There is no better time like the present to evaluate the barriers to your company's growth and develop strategies to circumvent them.

According to the 2022-2023 State of Product Development and Hardware Design report, nearly 8 out of 10 engineering and manufacturing professionals expect their company to grow in the next year despite uncertainties in the global economy.

expectation level of business growth graph(Source: 2022-2023 State of Product Development and Hardware Design)

This finding is statistically consistent across industries, with the highest growth expectation coming from medical, high tech, aerospace, and robotics – all sectors that are early adopters of new technologies.

expectations of business growth by industry(Source: 2022-2023 State of Product Development and Hardware Design)

These sectors embrace an innovation culture, and, as a result, expect growth by encouraging employees to take risks, think outside the toolbox, and experiment with new solutions.

However, respondents of the survey stated that they do see potential growth roadblocks despite feeling optimistic about the future. The four biggest barriers to company growth: 

  • Lack of staff (77%)

  • Manufacturing challenges (80%)

  • Lack of budget or resources (73%)

  • Inefficient processes (77%)

Let’s explore how Onshape – the fastest-growing cloud-native product development platform – proactively addresses these problems.

Company Growth Factor 1: Lack of Staff

In our tight labor market, skilled labor is a driving force behind successful product development. Many business leaders consider a lack of qualified employees as the most immediate hurdle to growth. 

In fact, according to the survey, more than 6 out of 10 manufacturing companies report difficulty finding job candidates with the right knowledge or skills – especially if leaders rely on a labor pool that is solely within a few miles radius.

A solution to this ordeal is to open up the labor pool and access talent from around the world. 

Onshape’s cloud-native product development solution gives companies the technological ability to recruit top engineering talent from anywhere. With Onshape, employees are no longer restricted to specific locations, allowing them to access design data and collaborate from anywhere in the world on any web-connected device.

For instance, leaders at Vermont-based BETA Technologies leverage Onshape’s remote access and collaboration tools to form a talented team from all over the United States. BETA is a leader in developing electrical vertical take-off and landing (eVOTL) aircraft for the cargo and logistics market, which calls for top talent regardless of location.

Learn more about BETA Technologies.

beta aircraftThe ALIA aircraft by BETA.

Company Growth Factor 2: Manufacturing Challenges

Poor communication between design and manufacturing teams can be a major hurdle for companies, resulting in a slower time-to-market, increased risk of manufacturing errors, customer dissatisfaction, and reduced revenue.

According to the survey, 43% of product developers recognize that communicating with external suppliers is one of the greatest sources of friction during product design 

Onshape improves how engineering teams collaborate with manufacturers by offering real-time access to the latest and greatest design data. Utilizing a single source of design truth, Onshape significantly reduces the risk of human error in the design process. 

This is especially true for VIKASO, an industrial automation startup based in the U.K. specializing in integrating collaborative robots, called cobots, into production lines to automate repetitive tasks. VIKASO reports that Onshape has helped them speed up communication between core designers and external partners since implementation. Because Onshape is cloud-native, the entire product development process is visible to all stakeholders, eliminating the time it takes to send and access CAD data.

Learn more about VIKASO.

a cobot in actionA VIKASO "cobot" in action.

Company Growth Factor 3: Lack of Budget or Resources

Creating more with less is a dilemma that many companies face today. In the quest to bring the next innovative product to market, companies must streamline their processes to make the most of scarce resources and limited time. 

The survey found that 7 out of 10 product developers recognize slow time-to-market as an obstacle that could hinder company growth 

Onshape reduces time-to-market by eliminating common design bottlenecks such as version control problems and data crashes. In addition, Onshape’s lower cost of ownership – due to built-in PDM and zero IT overhead – makes it the ideal solution for any budget-conscious company.

A prime example: The team behind created Rise Emergency Ventilator was able to take the product to market within 21 days and below budget. By utilizing Onshape, the team was able to streamline design work and produce ventilators used to assist in nationwide shortages amid the beginning of the pandemic. 

Learn more about the team behind the Rise Emergency Ventilator.

Company Growth Factor 4: Inefficient Processes 

Hardware engineers are eager to get things done when they sit down at their desks. However, their primary competency – product design – is frequently jeopardized when their file-based CAD or PDM software disrupts their operations. Some of the most common causes of delays are status updates/team meetings that could have been emailed, locating or accessing CAD information, CAD crashes, software incompatibility, or CAD software licensing administration.

Product developers report they are most inefficient when collaborating with external suppliers or manufacturers (43%) or with non-CAD stakeholders (36%) within their company. 

Instead of the painfully slow, serial processes of traditional file-based CAD, cloud-native Onshape allows product development teams to collaborate on the same designs simultaneously. By streamlining communication between core engineering teams, internal corporate stakeholders, and external partners, Onshape ensures that all parties are on the same page from prototype to production.

That’s exactly what the Doris Dev team accomplished after implementing Onshape. The New York and Hong Kong-based product development agency work on a variety of projects from inception to production. Because of Onshape’s unique Sharing features, the team was able to share design iterations with marketing, sales, and other non-CAD users to incorporate feedback sooner, rather than later. 

Learn more about Doris Dev.

canopy humidifier sketchThe concept sketch for the Canopy humidifier by Doris Dev.

Stop Hindering Company Growth: Try Onshape!

Cloud-native CAD addresses the four barriers to company growth by improving internal and external communication, automating redundant tasks, granting users greater autonomy, and flexibility in the product development process.

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