Now more than ever, companies that design and manufacture products are facing multiple challenges to their businesses.

Customers, acclimated to the one-click immediacy of e-commerce sites and services like Amazon and Uber, are bringing that expectation for instant gratification to all areas of their lives.  

Employees, many accustomed to the freedoms and work-life balance of working from anywhere, are increasingly averse to returning to the "old way" things used to be at the office.   

Competitors now have few barriers to entry in any industry. With fast, available cloud computing power and the ability to recruit talent across the globe, new startups can quickly usurp larger, established businesses in a flash.   

To better understand these ongoing challenges, Onshape commissioned the independent third-party research firm Isurus to conduct a broad-based product development industry survey.

Key Insights on Product Development Processes

In The State of Product Development and Hardware Design 2021 survey, which took the pulse of nearly 800 engineering and manufacturing professionals across the world, we asked engineers, project managers and executives to candidly assess their strengths and weaknesses. We measured how professionals rate their team’s productivity and ability to innovate, their views on workplace flexibility and culture, and asked about the pros and cons of their current product development software.

In this industry report, you will gain key insights on the following topics:

  • The Capabilities Gap – How do companies judge their actual performance vs. their desired goals across specific areas of the design and manufacturing process? What do product development teams need to improve most in 2021-2022?

  • The Perception Gap – Do executives, project managers and engineers have differing views about the strengths and weaknesses of their product development teams?

  • Reducing Wasted Time – What universal blockers are getting in the way of productivity and innovation? And more importantly, what can you do about them?

  • Data Management Challenges – Why do half of on-premise PDM/PLM users say that their software gets in the way of team collaboration and slows down the overall product design process?

  • Workplace Flexibility – How does supporting employees to “work from anywhere” and offering flexible work hours impact company productivity?

  • Pandemic Impact on Product Development – What aspects of engineering and manufacturing changed as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, and how do these changes impact how teams will work moving forward?

  • The Generation Gap – How are the workplace expectations of millennial and Gen Z engineers different from mid-career professionals, and how will these differences affect company culture and future talent recruitment?


When asked to assess their company’s productivity, only 11% of professionals gave their teams the top score of “excellent” on a scale of 1 to 5. Put another way, an overwhelming 89% of engineers, project managers and executives believe their companies have plenty of room for improvement. 

Nobody who cares about their business or career leaps out of bed in the morning and asks themself, “What can I do at work to be average today?” 

Get your copy of The State of Product Development and Hardware Design 2021 and learn the biggest challenges facing today’s product design teams – and their top priorities for improving business agility.