Improving Supply Chain Visibility, a Top Priority for Manufacturers

Global supply chain disruptions caused by the pandemic in 2020 persist and manufacturers continue to deal with cascading events in a variety of ways, according to a 2022 manufacturing survey conducted by on-demand digital manufacturing company Fictiv .

Improving supply chain visibility and increasing customer satisfaction topped the list of priorities for survey respondents. Fifty-nine percent said improving supply chain visibility was their most important business priority in 2022, while 45% chose improving customer satisfaction. This indicates companies are using recent supply chain disruptions as an opportunity to address their business fundamentals, Fictiv said.

Image courtesy of Fictiv

In fact, 88% of manufacturing companies surveyed said they wanted to streamline production by using fewer suppliers. In addition, a majority said they were working on better coordination with suppliers. In particular, they seek tighter integration with fewer suppliers to gain control and predictability over their supply chains, which they see as essential to meet growing customer demand. Only 12% of respondents said they had the right number of suppliers.

Over 90% of companies are using or implementing some type of digital manufacturing technology. The survey defines digital manufacturing as supply chain analytics and visualization platforms, on-demand manufacturing platforms, industrial internet of things, intelligent asset management, management product life cycle, advanced industrial robotics, virtual or augmented reality and digital twins.

Of these digital manufacturing technologies, 94% of companies surveyed use or implement supply chain analytics and visualization, making it the most widely used digital technology.

A foundation of manufacturing, productivity continues to be a high priority. Companies are aiming to improve productivity by better integrating remote workforces and improving collaboration between their engineering and supply chain teams.

Some 75% of companies surveyed believe there is room for improvement in the way their engineering and supply chain teams work together. And 72% said their engineers regularly spend 10% or more of their time sourcing parts. How fast could engineers innovate and develop new products if they recouped that time, the survey asks.

The remote workforce is here to stay, according to the survey. Half of respondents said they have more remote employees due to COVID-19, down slightly from the 2021 survey. Keeping digital information flowing smoothly across organizations is critical to have high-performing remote employees, Fictiv said. The continued presence of distributed teams makes the technologies that connect these teams critical to their success.

Information security has emerged as a risk as the adoption of remote workforces and new digital manufacturing technologies becomes more widespread. More than 90% of respondents use or implement digital manufacturing technologies, and 97% of leaders are concerned about digital security.

The Fictiv 2022 State of Manufacturing Report was based on an online survey conducted from April 26 to May 3, 2022. A total of 234 people from 234 companies responded. Attendees included high-level decision makers who work in supply chain, engineering, research and development, technology, or business leadership roles at companies that manufacture medical devices, robotics, technology, and technology. automotive, aerospace or consumer electronics. Many of these companies that design, develop, and supply physical products in each of these industries produce plastics and use plastic manufacturing processes including 3D printing and injection molding.

Fictiv operates a globally dispersed digital manufacturing system designed to deliver custom mechanical parts on demand. Its portfolio of manufacturing services includes 3D printing, CNC machining, urethane molding and injection molding. Fictiv said it has manufactured more than 19 million pieces over the past eight years.

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