Smart Advances in Engineering
Engineering's impact on advancements in research, development and manufacturing has never been more evident than in recent years. From IoT-enabled products to enhanced R&D to hybrid onshore/offshore delivery options, engineers are at the forefront of modern innovation.
For manufacturers of any size, the Internet of Things (IoT) and the rise of smart technology provide a matchless opportunity to revolutionize their product lines and successfully compete on a global scale. The demand for smart products, driven by younger consumers as well as industrial users who want better ROI from their tools, is sure to grow.
Actalent has helped consumer and industrial companies with a smart strategy to enhance current products, from mattresses to farm and mining equipment to cars. At one end of the IoT spectrum is data collection via sensors and actuation of control mechanisms to perform remote functions. The next level of function deals with data storage, namely, what is commonly referred to as the Cloud or Fog. The technology involved within this space is responsible for the secure storage of data collected from the sensor stage.
The most complex level of function in embedded systems is data analytics, which deals with the accumulation and learning associated with the vast amount of data collected and stored.
Research & Development
While research and development (R&D) budgets have many components, engineering R&D is considered the most complex and is often at the forefront of the R&D portfolio for manufacturing companies. Engineering R&D is where most of the innovation happens, due to diverse teams with talent in various engineering disciplines and leaders with strong business acumen. The R&D engineering delivery teams work on devising new solutions to solve complex product and process problems, comprehensive planning, ideation, implementation and on-time delivery.
How work gets done for these complex and organization-specific requirements, and what it takes to achieve optimal returns on every dollar invested into R&D, forms the basis of R&D strategy and efficiency for the enterprise. While the execution teams' challenges are mostly around flexibility to accomplish program milestones with high quality, business leaders' challenges are not only to provide what the execution teams want but also to keep the budgets under control and to yield the enterprise R&D value.
Consumer expectations regarding product functionality, user experience and connectivity are higher than ever before, and getting the "latest and greatest" product to market first returns a significant reward. Conversely, each second-to-market product results in an opportunity cost that can't be recouped.
Because of this, world-class engineering teams are increasingly opting for a hybrid strategy that leverages the benefits of offshore, domestic/near-site and onsite options to create the most optimal solution for each process or product. This strategy is called "right-shoring" — when a business analyzes and understands the complexity and strategic value of required tasks, deploying its resources and focusing its efforts in optimized arrangements that provide the best combination of cost, quality and efficiency.
Companies seeking solely to cut costs through offshoring were narrowly focused on the bottom line. In contrast, right-shoring drives growth by increasing the top line. Companies capture market share and increase revenue, more than compensating for investments associated with improving the speed and quality of their engineering operation.