Collaboration Insights from 200 Manufacturing Companies - Part III

The Goal

Have you ever heard the phrase “meet them where they are”? Sure, you have! But have you ever heard of a collaboration platform that successfully does it for everyone across your organization? Most manufacturers have not.  

This was the problem Anark set out to solve for manufacturers by developing Anark Collaborate, a modern content collaboration platform designed for manufacturers that combines file-sharing app convenience and communication app simplicity with a deep understanding of technical product data.

The Theory

To do this, Anark needed to know the facts direct from manufacturers to validate that this was a problem worth solving. After all, PLM vendors have developed extensions to improve technical data sharing with non-engineering teams, while ERP and SCM vendors are doing the same in their applications. But none of these approaches meet the diverse manufacturing workforce and their suppliers where they are. In fact, they did the opposite, forcing compromises on the people that need the data the most. Meanwhile, the use of generic content collaboration, file sharing, and email spirals out of control as these tools meet people where they are, but remain disconnected from systems of record, and don’t support the technical data and processes that manufacturers need to operate.

Lifecycle Insights conducted research with 200 manufacturers to understand the state of technical content collaboration. Their work revealed the extent of the problem for manufacturers, the key capabilities required to solve the problem, and the value that could be gained by solving the problem.

In part I we reviewed the problems uncovered by the research. In part II, we revealed the key capabilities manufacturers need to solve the problem. And in this post we will detail the value gained by solving the problem. 

The Value Confirmed

The research concluded with an assessment of whether the technical content collaboration challenge is a problem worth solving. In short, it is. The research revealed that technical content collaboration tools in place today are not working, resulting in Engineering teams spending 50%* (20.1 hours per week) of their time on average focused on unnecessary tasks, Figure 3: answering/clarifying questions from downstream consumers, generating additional documentation for clarification, and creating special 3D or 2D snapshots or views for downstream consumers. When you look at the collaboration tools and techniques reported in the research, these results are not surprising, but that result alone is a huge opportunity for manufacturers to improve overall operations. And when you factor in the project delays associated with each design project transaction, that adds up to significant returns for manufacturers who successfully solve the technical content collaboration challenge.
*Many engineers report that they need to work more than 40 hours per week, and now we know why.


Figure 3: Manufacturer’s Collaboration Performance Metrics.  
Source: Lifecycle Insights Research – The State of Technical Content Collaboration. n=201 

Of course, it’s more than just operational efficiencies and unforeseen cost reductions. IP security is a real concern for manufacturers sharing product documentation and design data with 3rd parties, Figure 4. More than half of the respondents reported moderate or extreme concerns about their ability to protect their IP. 76% of manufacturers have some level of concern with IP security. And only 24% of manufacturers have robust IP security measures in place or simply have no IP protection concerns. This is what you would expect to see with the tools and best practices manufacturers are commonly using for technical content collaboration. 

Lifecycle Insights Research IP Security

The Complete Results

With the complete 30-page research report, Anark had the facts direct from manufacturers to validate that this was a problem worth solving.  In addition to the data shown in Figure 1 above, the research provided detailed insight across:

  • Company and respondent demographics
  • Business processes and challenges
  • Internal and External collaboration and product data sharing tools and techniques
  • Desired technical content collaboration capabilities
  • IP security considerations 

Anark used this detailed research to strengthen product and go-to-market strategy as it prepared to launch Anark Collaborate, the world’s only content collaboration platform designed for manufacturers.

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