Apr 27, 2021

2021 State of Manufacturing Report Reveals Industry Recovery

Tilly Kenyon
3 min
The 2021 State of Manufacturing Report has produced insights into how the industry is recovering from the COVID-19 pandemic and its future outlook
The 2021 State of Manufacturing Report has produced insights into how the industry is recovering from the COVID-19 pandemic and its future outlook...

The new 2021 State of Manufacturing Report from Fictiv has revealed that the industry is quickly bouncing back from the disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Investments are being seen in digital transformation, with the aim of improving speed, resilience, and sustainability. 

There are still areas of concern, but the report found that lessons learned from the pandemic have enabled companies to implement and create new innovations. Industry leaders believe now is the time to accelerate the pace of change, with 95% saying the pandemic has had long-term effects on their business and that same number (95%) agreeing that digital transformation is essential to their company’s future success.

The pandemic also brought to light weaknesses in supply chains as 94% of survey respondents reported concerns about their current supply chains, and 92% said their supply chains act as barriers to new product innovation. 

Moving forward, companies are looking to future-proof their manufacturing, with 62% pursuing a re-shoring strategy, 89% reporting that sustainable manufacturing is a growing priority, and 84% have turned to on-demand manufacturing as a solution.

Fictiv CEO Dave Evans said: “Companies moved quickly and decisively to solve short-term problems but recognised that the limitations of their current supply chains required long-term investment and innovation. Looking ahead, industry leaders are nearly unanimous in their expectations that those digital investments will help them build faster, greener, and more resilient supply chains.” 

This was the sixth annual report, which polled hundreds of senior manufacturing and supply chain decision-makers from across various different companies. Themes that emerged from the report include:

Right-shoring vs Re-shoring

  • Among those industries with plans to onshore in 2021, 80% of medical device companies report it is a key strategy, followed by 67% in robotics, 61% in automotive, and 45% in consumer electronics;
  • 55% report that workforce training is the number one barrier to increasing their US-based manufacturing footprint, followed by cost (43%), insufficient capacity (36%), and lack of access to needed technologies compared to global suppliers (31%);
  • Only 10% of survey respondents report they see no barriers to manufacturing in the US.

Supply Chain Concerns Stifle Innovation

  • Externally, respondents reported that slow feedback loops with manufacturing partners as well as difficulty sourcing fast, high-quality options to manufacture low-volume builds are among the top NPI barriers;
  • Internally, 45% report that rigid internal processes hamper their team’s ability to innovate;
  • Moreover, 97% of companies report that supply chain management consumes a significant amount of employees’ time;
  • 81% report that quality issues in their supply chain have resulted in cost overruns in the past year; 
  • 55% report that their existing supply chain presents IT security risks, and 42% report concerns around IP protection risks.

Workforce Challenges

  • Limited budgets are a key barrier to hiring new innovation talent for 45% of respondents;
  • 44% report difficulty hiring manufacturing talent with the necessary digital expertise;
  • 95% of companies agree that expert guidance around manufacturing feasibility for new product innovations would be of great benefit.

Power of On-Demand Manufacturing

  • Of the 84% of companies using on-demand solutions, 100% reported a benefit from this strategy; 
  • The top three advantages were reported as improved quality (62%), transparency (61%), and speed (60%). 

Fictiv COO Jean Olivier explained how the pandemic has allowed for new ideas and impacted the industry. “A supermajority of those polled said that their comfort level with work from home influenced their positive attitudes towards flexible manufacturing arrangements. With 84% having used on-demand manufacturing solutions over the past year, it’s obvious the industry is becoming less reliant on the ownership of physical spaces and wholly-owned processes.” 

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May 10, 2021

Timeline: Tesla's Construction of Gigafactories

Georgia Wilson
3 min
Sustainable Manufacturing | Gigafactory | Electric Vehicles | EVs | Tesla | Smart Manufacturing | Automotive Manufacturing | Technology
A brief timeline of Tesla’s Gigafactory construction progress over the years, furthering its efforts in sustainable energy and electric vehicles...

Tesla's mission to accelerate the world's transition to sustainable energy

Founded in 2003, Tesla was established by a group of engineers with a drive to "prove that people didn’t need to compromise to drive electric – that electric vehicles can be better, quicker and more fun to drive than gasoline cars." Almost 20 years on, Tesla today is not only manufacturing all electric vehicles, but scaleable clean energy generation and storage too. 

"Tesla believes the faster the world stops relying on fossil fuels and moves towards a zero-emission future, the better," says Tesla. "Electric cars, batteries, and renewable energy generation and storage already exist independently, but when combined, they become even more powerful – that’s the future we want. "

Tesla Gigafactories

In order to deliver on its promise of "accelerate the world’s transition to sustainable energy through increasingly affordable electric vehicles and energy products," Tesla's Gigafactory journey began in 2014 to meet its produciton goals of 500,000 cars per year (a figure which would require the entire worlds supply of lithium-ion batteries at the time).  

By ramping up its production and bringing it in-house, the cost of Tesla 's battery cells declined "through economies of scale, innovative manufacturing, reduction of waste, and the simple optimisation of locating most manufacturing processes under one roof." With this reduction in battery cost, "Tesla can make products available to more and more people, allowing us to make the biggest possible impact on transitioning the world to sustainable energy."

2014: Giga Nevada and Giga New York begin construction

Born out of necessity to meet its own supply demand for sustainable energy, Tesla began the construction of its first Gigafactory in June 2014, in Reno, Nevada, followed by its Buffalo, New York facility the same year. "By bringing cell production in-house, Tesla manufactures batteries at the volumes required to meet production goals, while creating thousands of jobs," said Tesla.

2016: Reno, Nevada grand opening

Tesla’s construction of Giga Nevada came to an end in 2016, the first of its Gigafactories to complete its construction project. The factory’s grand opening took place in July 2016, and by mid-2018 reached an annual battery production rate of 20 GWh, which made it the highest-volume battery plant in the world that year. 

2017: Giga New York begins production

Two years after Tesla’s second Gigafactory began construction, Giga New York was complete, and started its production operations in 2017.

2019: Giga Shanghai construction to production in record time

In 2019, Tesla selected Shanghai as its third Gigafactory location. The company constructed the factory in record time, taking just 168 working days from gaining permits to finishing the plant's construction.

2019: Giga Berlin begins construction

Announced in November 2019, Tesla began the construction of its first European Gigafactory in Berlin. The Gigafactory is still under construction.

2020: Giga Texas begins construction

The following year in August 2020, Tesla began the construction of its Giga Texas factory. The company’s third Gigafactory in the US is still under construction.

2021: Giga Texas and Giga Berlin expected completion of construction

Looking to the future, Tesla expects to complete the construction of its Giga Texas and Giga Berlin factories in May 2021 and July 2021 respectively.

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