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Scanning Realities

Laser-focused insights into the current geospatial landscape and beyond

NavVis Digital Factory Survey 2021
Bulent YusufApr 8, 20212 min read

Enterprises to prioritize updated factory documentation within 2 years

Maintaining up-to-date documentation is a top priority for enterprises according to the NavVis Digital Factory survey, where 62% said it should be tackled within the next 24 months.

According to the findings of a new survey, 62% of professionals in the manufacturing sector expect to prioritize bringing their factory documentation up to date within the next 24 months.

The significance of this statement is that maintaining factory documentation is not a simple task. In most industrial organizations, keeping documentation such as layouts, 3D models and photos in line with the actual as-is condition of production lines – and making it widely available to all stakeholders – is complex and challenging.

There are many reasons why this might be the case. Production sites are often located in different parts of the world, and wildly oscillating standardization from region to region. There’s also the matter of senior-level stakeholders, e.g., Global Operations Managers, having limited oversight if the only people who can make sense of the data are specialists proficient in CAD tools.

But perspectives have changed in the past 12 months or so, where international crises like the COVID-19 pandemic have sparked a major reassessment. Today, the manufacturing sector seeks ways to maintain continuity of operations when unexpected events can lead to restrictions in travel and the need to observe physical distancing rules. They want to make decisions quickly, based on the most current information available.

“Before COVID-19, the timeline for bringing our factory documentation up to date was between 2-5 years,” one respondent told us. “Now, in the present moment, it’s accelerated to 1-2 years.”

Insights like these and more can be found in the NavVis Digital Factory Survey 2021, where a multidisciplinary research team interviewed experts across key industry verticals to identify how decision makers are addressing the issues and opportunities presented by 3D virtualization.

NavVis Digital Factory Survey chart

Travel restrictions have transformed engineering and planning

In total, we conducted 50 in-depth interviews with industry professionals, each with varying levels of experience and responsibility.

Another important insight we gleaned from our respondents was their view on how travel and remote work would continue to develop over the next three years. 68% of those surveyed were certain that home office use will continue to grow in adoption, while companies will choose to dial down their global travel regardless of restrictions.

Regarding the implications for budgets, one person was straight to the point: "Travel budgets are going to be cut massively,” a Senior Manager in the automotive vertical told us.

This viewpoint was echoed elsewhere, by a Vice President in the electronics industry. “Before it was common to fly in engineers or consultants,” they said. “Now it’s still possible, but very costly. We’re rethinking and shifting more into the direction of a technological solution.”

With the reduction in travel, however, a CIO in the process vertical told us about a correlating benefit. “A reduction in workers on-site has really helped security and safety in general,” they said.

To get the complete picture, including a full breakdown of the respondents by industry vertical and company sizes, download a copy of the NavVis Digital Factory Survey 2021 here. You’ll learn about the prevailing vision for a digital factory in industries like automotive, process and electronics, the maturity of implementation, and outlook for the future.

Download report