Driving efficiency based on data-led insight

What steps should manufacturers take to ensure they remain competitive in the next 5-10 years? Do they know what the hurdles are in their way? 

At a time of rapid change in many industries, the answers to these questions will shine a light on the pathway to future manufacturing. This is why Hexagon’s new Advanced Manufacturing Report is a must-read for anyone with an interest in the direction of travel within leading manufacturing companies; influenced by the pressures, the trends and the goals. 

509 executives participated in this insightful document and identified key areas of focus that need to be  made a central part of any conversation related to future investment. Nearly 60% of responders were either director level or C-suite. 

As manufacturers strive to gain advantages against their competition, a multitude of options are available to them. New technologies and new strategies are plentiful, but making the wrong decision can have dramatically negative consequences, so making those decisions based on data is paramount. 

Let’s take a look at some examples of the data produced in the report.  

Accelerate and automate 

One area that raises its head repeatedly is automation. This is such a crucial factor when manufacturers are focused on improving operational efficiency and scaling up production. But automation projects are not a straightforward undertaking and many fail to implement them successfully. The Advanced Manufacturing Report reveals that while 57% place workflow automation as their number one three-year investment priority, 6 out of 10 businesses face at least 3 automation challenges today. 

This shows that although manufacturers recognise the critical importance of automation, it is also an area that can lead to significant struggles if not well supported.  

Ultimately, automation is the most obvious pathway to improving efficiency of operations, but it is also a powerful tool when faced with the challenge of skills shortages, a major pain point across most manufacturing industries. 

Bridging the skills gap 

44% of manufacturers report that automation has already helped limit the impact of talent shortages, while 56% expect this benefit from future automation efforts. It is clearly both a short-term fix and a long-term strategy to deal with an issue that has been decades in the making. 

Driving efficiency to gain competitive advantage is not just about specifying new machines and simply automating them, it’s also about making people work together in better, more efficient ways. That’s why the subject of collaboration also featured heavily in the report. The figures were stark. 

Let’s work together 

97% of manufacturers report collaboration challenges. Just 3% report no issues. 

Although initially shocking, when you take a step back, it’s no wonder that this has become the case. As companies grow and evolve, especially when acquisitions are added into the mix, a patchwork of systems and platforms becomes embedded into the overall ecosystem that generates as many dead ends and bottlenecks as clear routes for data. 

The result is a perfect environment for silos to grow, reducing the possibility of efficient, real-time collaboration between departments. Instead, files are shared haphazardly, version control becomes impossible and nobody is sure where the single source of truth actually sits. In addition to this, low or zero levels of collaboration mean that errors are repeated indefinitely, which in turn leads to dramatic losses in capacity at a time of severe labour shortages. 

The benefits of enhanced collaboration are clear. As the report shows, 88% of respondents believe that improved product quality would be a likely outcome of better collaboration, while 86% said they would benefit from faster time to market. 

To achieve this, something is needed that can cut through a disjointed, fragmented array of point solutions to unify disparate teams, empowering real-time collaboration and visibility. Hexagon has developed a platform that can do just that: Nexus. You can learn more about it here. 

Ultimately, driving greater efficiency in manufacturing means focusing on multiple factors, and few vendors can offer solutions in all of these areas. Hexagon goes closer than most to achieving this. If you would like to dive a little deeper into the ‘automation’ and ‘collaboration’ topics, take a look at this new eBook we have produced, also based on the findings in the Advanced Manufacturing Report: Collaboration and Automation: Actionable steps to manufacturing transformation (hexagon.com) 


  • Johannes Mann

    Johannes has over 15 years of experience within the automotive industry with achievements throughout the complete product lifecycle; from project acquisition, product development, series production and sales and business development. In his current role as Senior Director Industry Solutions, Johannes is in charge of combining Hexagon's various product offerings to support industrial processes, empowering customers to get the most out of their data.

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