element14 study identifies 'pain points' for engineers

September 15, 2011

element14 said an independent study conducted by Technology Forecasters Inc. (TFI) to determine critical “pain points” for global electronics engineers during the four stages of design - concept, design, prototyping, and pre-production found many several design challenges, including increasing time pressures, incomplete or inaccurate information from relevant sources, and difficulties comparing options and alternatives.

The study, “Design with Efficiency: Toward a Streamlined Process for Electronics-Industry Design Engineers,” surveyed over 300 design engineers of varying age groups, working in diverse industrial sectors throughout the Americas, Europe and Asia-Pacific. 

“We asked design engineers from around the world specifically what they need to significantly improve their design efficiency. An overwhelming majority of respondents believe they spend too much time on processes that could be improved through better approaches to managing the vast amount of information available. Our findings underscore the electronics industry’s need for a more consolidated solution that helps advance the design process," said Pamela J. Gordon, CMC, TFI.


Addressing Today’s Electronic Design “Pain Points”

The study, which underscored element14’s commitment to enhancing the design process, found:


  • More than 70 percent of design engineers rely heavily on online forums, blogs and engineering communities to collaborate with peers and share insight on components and design processes
  • Engineers spend about 50 percent of their research time online, coupled with the remaining time spent talking with vendors, customers and using internal tools
  • A majority of respondents cited the earlier stages of design as the most challenging, with an average of 41 percent of design time spent on concept development
  • Specialised information as well as performance failure rates and component lifecycle data are particularly difficult to collect
  • A lack of consolidated online tools and databases hinder their ability to make accurate comparisons 


Survey respondents also provided insight into the specific challenges they face when using online tools to sift through large volumes of data, including limited access to available data resources to ensure unbiased results and difficulty staying abreast of quickly changing legislation.

“The results of the TFI study underscore the value-add of a consolidated online resource such as the element14 knode, our unique intelligent online search and knowledge tool which helps engineers accelerate the design and development stages to bring products to market faster than ever before," said David Shen, Group Senior Vice President and Global Head of EDE and Technical Marketing, Premier Farnell. element14 is the first, innovative information portal and eCommunity specifically built for electronic design engineers, by Premier Farnell.

The growing database of design tools, services and components accessible through the element14 knode can increase productivity and accelerate time to market, including search automation and configuration for project specific design flows, development tools and application reference designs, operating systems and stacks, development and CAD tools, and PCB services and test solutions.  

“Engineering teams worldwide are faced with increasing pressures to find design resources faster, while running parallel projects, and need access to many services beyond just component supply. The element14 knode and community address many of the top challenges facing engineers globally by giving them immediate access to a wide spectrum of electronic design solutions to quickly research, evaluate and purchase quality solutions, software and services, helping save hundreds of hours in the design process. Some have even called it, ‘Google for engineers,’ underscoring the value it brings," said Shen.




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