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43% Of Electronics New Product Introductions Are Delayed Because of Engineering Inefficiency and Low Technology Adoption, Instrumental Survey Finds

  • The 2021 State of Electronics Npi Survey Reveals That, Even Before 2020, Electronics Manufacturing Has Experienced Engineering Inefficiencies That Put a $1 Trillion Market at Risk.

Instrumental, the leading manufacturing optimization platform, recently
completed and shared its first annual State of New Product Introduction (NPI) Survey findings. The
study gathered feedback from over 100 leaders in electronics design, manufacturing, and
engineering to identify trends, changes, challenges, and industry innovation that arose as a result
of the 2020 pandemic.

The data revealed that, in the past five years, 43% of new electronic products have missed their
initial launch dates, indicating a long-term industry failure to adapt to the intensifying forces of
increasing product complexity, faster delivery timelines, and increased supply chain volatility.

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Key takeaways from the 2021 State of New Product Introduction Survey include:
● Electronics manufacturing is experiencing an efficiency crisis: While NPI leaders cite
their #1 responsibility as on-time product delivery, they report that 43% of new product
programs in the last 5 years were delayed – indicating a problem that existed before the
COVID-19 pandemic and further worsened during it.
● Leaders know engineering capacity is a massive problem: Leaders cited that engineering
bandwidth and headcount is as significant a threat to program delivery as supply chain
disruption, even at a time when supply chains are seeing historically high volatility. When
breaking down engineering time, teams report that 76% of engineering time is spent on
non-engineering tasks like inefficient communication, reactive issue discovery, and
stakeholder management.
● Leaders have struggled to deploy technology to expand engineering capacity: Despite
acknowledging the need for improved engineering capacity, most organizations are lagging
when it comes to adoption of technology that could automate time-consuming
development tasks like forensics and data analysis. Only 10% of teams reporte using an AI-based defect detection system, and over 91% still rely primarily on spreadsheets for
things like task tracking and analysis.

When planning for NPIs this year, the report tells us that leaders are most concerned with hiring
and improving existing teams. Of those who participated in the study, 65.43% are focused on
improving engineering efficiency and 50.62% of respondents are planning to explore suppliers or
CMs in a new region.

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The report also shines a light on how 2020 has driven innovation in the processes deployed in 2021.

When asked what the most impactful change teams had made to their NPI process since 2020,
respondents cited:
● Changes to their manufacturing process e.g. formalized and standardized checklists etc
(31.15% of respondents);
● Made changes to people and training e.g. hired more staff, re-defined roles, increased
collaboration efforts (24.59% of respondents); and
● Implemented new tools and made more use of virtual meetings (19.67% of respondents).

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“If there’s one takeaway from the 2021 State of Electronics NPI, it’s clear that 2021 is presenting an
opportunity for electronics brands to leapfrog their competitors by updating their product
development processes to truly embrace new technologies that let them do more with existing
engineering teams,” said Instrumental Co-Founder and CEO Anna-Katrina Shedletsky.

“The companies that use data do better, and we believe it’s because they’re able to actually
measure and optimize their team’s performance” said Shedletsky.

The survey additionally found:
● Leaders overwhelmingly do not agree that their companies are advanced in implementing
innovative technologies, which suggests the industry is brittle and slow to change.
● People operations are the key theme when considering barriers to supply-chain level
issues.
● Builds are delayed frequently enough for them to have a measurable and notable impact on
business costs and staff efficiency.

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