Fictiv Publishes 2023 State of Manufacturing Report

Fictiv’s 2023 State of Manufacturing Report Finds Leaders Grappling with AI Adoption, Workforce Productivity, and Innovation Speed 

 Findings include:

  • 93% of manufacturing leaders are preparing for a shortage of skilled engineering talent. 
  • 85% have plans to or have already adopted AI technologies to help drive productivity and operational efficiency gains. 
  • 2023 reveals an 11 point increase from 2022 in companies prioritizing innovation speed as a top priority, signaling a focus on growth. 

Fictiv, called ‘the operating system for custom manufacturing,’ announced today the release of its eighth-annual State of Manufacturing Report, conducted in partnership with technology market research firm Dimensional Research. The report tracks decision-maker sentiment across hundreds of U.S. manufacturing companies and finds an industry marked by economic uncertainty and workforce challenges, but eager to adopt new technology solutions — especially those powered by artificial intelligence (AI). 


Almost all manufacturing leaders (93%) are preparing for a serious shortage of skilled engineering talent by taking proactive steps to address the labor gap. More than half (51%) are investing in technology solutions to drive productivity gains while 85% say their company is already adopting AI solutions. 

97% of leaders expect AI to impact product development and manufacturing functions, as technology becomes increasingly important for leaders to navigate a challenging economic environment, tight labor market, and workforce productivity barriers. 

“The silver lining of the macro environment is that it’s pushing technology to the forefront in the manufacturing industry,” said Fictiv CEO and Co-Founder Dave Evans. “Leaders are set on accelerated growth and product innovation, but recognize they need better digital tools to empower their workforce and protect against economic risk. The industry is ready to see hardware development accelerate to the speed of software development and AI is a major catalyst.” 

Notably, 2023 survey data shows an 11 point increase — 49% now vs 38% in 2022 — in leadership focus on accelerating the speed of new product innovation, signaling a strategic shift from survive to thrive. While there are certainly challenges to overcome (94% report barriers to new product innovation), 78% are actively evaluating technology solutions for more efficient product development.  

Additional survey findings include: 

  • Improving manufacturing and supply chain visibility remains the top business priority overall, consistent with 2022 data; 
  • 53% predict quality control and inspections will be the product development and manufacturing function most impacted by AI; 
  • The number of leaders reporting engineers spending more than 6 hours a week on procurement or tasks outside their engineer role jumped from 30% to 52% since 2022; 
  • On-shoring is on the rise: 71% of leaders plan to increase U.S. manufacturing, a 6 point increase over 2022 (65%). 


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