Tighter constraints: Leading performers expand on traditional engineering tasks to go "Lean and Green"
In a study of more than 600 discrete and process manufacturers, Boston-based Aberdeen Group names these top three top factors as impacting performance of the engineering organization:
Shrinking development schedules;
Decreasing product price points, and
Rising raw materials costs.
Assessing and optimizing product performance under tighter constraints is a tall order, but some manufacturers are balancing them in a way that allows meeting requirements while still achieving cost and time targets on an 88-percent or better average.
"The capacity [of Best-in-Class companies] to consistently achieve engineering targets takes on additional meaning in light of multifaceted pressures on these organizations," says Chad Jackson, a director with the Product Innovation Practice of Aberdeen. "Shrinking schedules are cited as the top pressure on engineering organizations, and while the Best-in-Class are hitting their targets at a high pace, Laggards are struggling, meeting 'release to manufacturing' targets only 42 percent of the time, and engineering-related development costs only 57 percent of the time. These companies are no less aware that speed and cost are a problem, but they are still searching for the means to resolve it."
Jackson says companies are doing this by pursuing a blend of both traditional and nascent strategies that address the performance of the product and the engineering department itself. This includes Lean engineering initiatives, Design for Manufacturing and Quality, Green Product Development programs, and cultivating innovative use of simulation tools to optimize product performance within tight constraint of cost and time.
While identification of differentiated strategies offers executive direction, more detail often is required for lasting change. The report, The Engineering Executive's Strategic Agenda , identifies the common characteristics of Best-in-Class performance, as well as the next steps companies can take to drive the programs they adopt to improve the performance of the engineering organization.
Download the report .
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Annual Salary Survey
Before the calendar turned, 2016 already had the makings of a pivotal year for manufacturing, and for the world.
There were the big events for the year, including the United States as Partner Country at Hannover Messe in April and the 2016 International Manufacturing Technology Show in Chicago in September. There's also the matter of the U.S. presidential elections in November, which promise to shape policy in manufacturing for years to come.
But the year started with global economic turmoil, as a slowdown in Chinese manufacturing triggered a worldwide stock hiccup that sent values plummeting. The continued plunge in world oil prices has resulted in a slowdown in exploration and, by extension, the manufacture of exploration equipment.
Read more: 2015 Salary Survey