Keysight Technologies, a technology company that helps businesses, service providers and governments accelerate innovation to connect and secure the world, has released the results of a study conducted by Dimensional Research, which shows that almost all companies that design and develop electronic products experience costly and avoidable delays related to problems with misconfiguration, maintenance or training of test equipment.
The survey revealed that 98 % of R&D engineers reported workflow problems related to calibration, configuration, equipment misuse or breakdowns. For 971 % of them, the delays caused had directly resulted in lost revenue for their company, with 53 % reporting more than $100,000 lost per day waiting for these technical support issues to be resolved. More than half (59 %) experienced more than 6 problems requiring technical support intervention each month. To reduce these problems, 89 % of R&D engineers explain that their test teams work more efficiently if they can quickly access test experts and knowledge resources.
"Electronics companies are under constant pressure to shorten new product development cycles to meet time-to-market targets, says John Page, President of Keysight Global Services. These companies can no longer afford to wait days or weeks to resolve technical support issues on test and measurement equipment; they need fast, expert answers with guaranteed, reliable response times".
Here are the main findings of the survey of 305 R&D engineers in several markets, such as the technology and telecommunications sectors:
- Test equipment problems cause delays for almost all companies: 97 % of respondents said they had experienced project delays due to test equipment problems. Equipment breakdowns requiring repair are the most common, cited by 63 % of respondents, followed by equipment misconfiguration (56 %) and uncalibrated equipment (50 %).
- The costs of lost days due to test equipment problems are high: 53 % of respondents said their company lost more than $100,000 a day when R&D teams were unable to make progress due to test and measurement equipment problems. According to 12% of respondents, their company was losing more than $500,000 a day.
- Problems with test and measurement equipment are frequent: in a typical month, 95 % of respondents said they had to contact their test equipment supplier's technical support team at least once. Furthermore, 59 % of respondents said they encountered six or more technical support problems per month, and 13 % said they encountered more than 20 problems per month.
- The impact of equipment problems on business: 53 % of those surveyed said that product manufacture was affected by malfunctioning test equipment. Forty-seven percent said a product had been rejected by a buyer, and 45 % said they had experienced an increase in product returns, while 28% had experienced product recalls. The result is direct damage to their quality and reputation, which is not easy to recover from.
- The value of expert test support services: 90 % of respondents say they would appreciate access to external technical support. Troubleshooting is the most desired service (cited by 54 %), followed by answers to technical questions and discussions (53 %), understanding how a particular test or piece of equipment works (49 %) and calibration services (46 %).
"Manufacturing test and R&D engineers are really on the front line in this battle. In the past, they had time to become experts in test equipment and standards, says Ted Burns, Global Director of KeysightCare at Keysight. However, with test matrices multiplying and use cases increasing dramatically, they simply don't have the time to research equipment functionality, how to optimize test configurations, or how to troubleshoot complex tests in complicated environments. The result is a reactive approach that leads to costly delays, lost revenue and engineering teams who have to work late nights and weekends to keep up with their schedules."
To help companies meet these challenges, Keysight offers KeysightCare, a comprehensive and scalable model for test and measurement support. KeysightCare offers design and test engineers proactive, dedicated support for instruments, software and solutions. It provides a priority connection to highly qualified live technical experts, as well as a knowledge center with technical content and programming examples. KeysightCare offers guaranteed response and turnaround times for repair, calibration and technical support, to accelerate innovation and time-to-market for customers' products.
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