Companies across all industries today are facing a broad array of challenges as they strive to develop products faster, improve efficiencies, and streamline their organizations. These challenges include the need to reduce time and cost to market, and the desire for fueling a pipeline of innovation.

A survey performed by the International Data Corporation, an advisory services organization for the information technology and consumer technology markets, shed some interesting light on the current mindset of the manufacturing industry. The organization surveyed several hundred global players in the automotive, aerospace and electronics fields and found that a majority of organizations – about 60 percent – believe that product innovation and product value-added services are the key to growth. Further, product innovation as the key to growth was ranked highest by almost 80 percent of the respondents in the automotive and high-tech electronics areas.

As far as what was considered to be key components to innovation, access to real-time up-to-date information and improved collaboration were cited by 60 percent, but almost 85 percent felt that faster business processes would be most helpful.

In fact, like a lot of organizations today, lack of strategy and poor decision-making cultures were cited as significantly hampering manufacturing industry growth. Much of the blame for the cultural barriers was attributed to inadequate processes, systems and collaboration.

It is true that information is necessary for reacting quickly to the rapidly changing environments that businesses face today, for streamlining operational processes and for improving collaboration.

Information and collaboration necessary for discovering the insights that catalyze true innovation and ultimately differentiate your business from it’s competition. These insights can take the form of technological advancements, undiscovered market opportunities, or previously unseen competitive advantages and are only brought to light by having the right information at the right time – from both internal and external sources.

Connecting the right people through collaboration to act on the insights gained from information is the engine that will drive timely, informed decisions for delivering innovative products, and getting them to the customer most efficiently. It’s good to know that the manufacturing industry understands this and is looking wisely to the future.

Cheryl Perkins is chair of CoDev 2015. Check out CoDev2015: Launching Products and Businesses with Partners, Customers & Ecosystems, to be held February 9 – 11, 2015 in Scottsdale, AZ.

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