It’s been 27 years since Strategic Systems Group (SSG) was founded and we’ve never wavered from our original mission, which was (and still is) to improve the functionality of ERP software systems utilized by manufacturing companies. So, it’s no surprise that 100% of our clients are manufacturers – small and large, discrete, continuous, process, batch, and mixed mode.

From time to time, we come across an article or report about manufacturing trends that catches our eye. As a company that serves the manufacturing industry, it behooves us to stay on top of such trends and to understand how they might impact our clients or provide insights that might benefit our clients. Indeed, we have shared some of those insights with our clients by writing about them in the SSG blog.

It’s time to do that again.

The article that caught our eye this time was a survey conducted this past June by Informa Engage, Machine Design, and IndustryWeek on behalf of aPriori. The topic was Product Lifecycle Trends and 271 manufacturers completed the survey, the majority of which (57%) were companies with fewer than 500 employees. And by far the largest portion (86%) were discrete manufacturers.

Here are a few of the questions and answers that we found interesting. If you’d like to see the full report, just contact SSG and we’ll send it to you.

Question: How has the percentage of components and subsystems purchased from outside suppliers changed for you over the past three years? Answer: 46% reported an increase.

Question: What are the primary obstacles to your company’s ability to deliver a product within the projected timeline? (Choose up to 3) Answer: 40% chose “Supply and demand for components and subsystems (especially in volume situations)”; 34% chose “Late or multiple change orders”; 33% chose “Organization and communication between design and manufacturing”; 31% chose “Manufacturing processes due to changes in design”; and 29% chose “The need for product certification and testing necessary for specific industries.”

Question: In which phase(s) of the design to the delivery process are you most likely to encounter issues that compromise your company’s ability to deliver a product within the projected timeline? (Select all that apply.) Answer: 61% said Manufacturing Stage and 55% said Design and Prototype Stage.

Question: How have product design-to-delivery costs changed over the past three years? Answer: 67% indicated that costs have increased.

Question: What are the top two contributors to increased product manufacturing costs over the past five years? (Select up to 2.) Answer: 68% said “Increasing cost of materials”; 40% said “Excessive burden on product development team (e.g., overcapacity, understaffed)”; and 35% said “Discovering manufacturing issues and cost overruns late in the design cycle”

Do the answers to the above questions resonate with you? Would you have responded differently? Are these topics of interest to you? There were many other points covered in the survey that might be of interest to SSG’s manufacturing clients. Feel free to request the complete report, whether you’re an SSG client or not.

And as always, we’d love to hear from you if you want to discuss improvements to your Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system. Because that’s what we’re all about. And you can reach us at 310.539.4645 or email us at

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