How do companies use data to develop products?
providers about it
If data is collected from products already in use, new products can be customized more specifically to customer needs. A study by Fraunhofer IPA examined the capabilities and competencies of manufacturing companies to obtain such data.
Are product functions already used? Which ones can be left out? Until now, it was difficult for many companies to define requirements of this kind and adapt their products to them. In developing data-supported products, data is collected from products that are actually used. In this way, new products can be developed in a more targeted manner in a shorter period of time. But where are the manufacturers? Researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Manufacturing Engineering and Automation IPA investigated this in the “Data-Enabled Product Development” study and evaluated the approaches of companies of all sizes and from different industries to the areas of data management, analysis and use.
Where does the data come from so far?
The results show that, to date, most product data has been collected using traditional methods rather than the Internet of Things (IoT). As reported by Fraunhofer IPA, 20.4 percent of the data comes from feedback from sales and 18.5 percent from on-site maintenance work. Only then did raw data via IoT (8.1 percent) and preprocessed product data via IoT (7.1 percent) follow.
Smart products increase the data foundation
However, smart products can provide a much larger database in a short time. However, they are still rare among the companies surveyed. According to the Fraunhofer IPA, the majority of those surveyed (43 percent) stated that their product range contained ten percent (9.9 percent) or less of smart products. But that will change: The companies surveyed expect a significant increase in smart products over the next five years. However, there has not yet been a systematic approach to data analysis. More than two-thirds (68.4 percent) of people surveyed stated that a systematic approach to analytics was not put in place in their company.
Technical conditions for data collection available
However, the technical requirements for product data entry are usually already in place. According to Fraunhofer IPA, half of companies already use digital twins to create product data. This means that product usage, error reports, and operation data can already be recorded. However, study participants stated that in product development, above all, it would be beneficial to increase the reliability (32.6 percent) and increase usefulness (30.3 percent) of data.
The study is based on an online survey of 58 companies from Germany, Austria and Switzerland. The survey was completed with five expert interviews with company representatives. The study is available for free.