The global pandemic hit industry fast, hard and unexpectedly.
Formerly engineering was in an exciting and rapidly advancing phase across many sectors. In automotive, innovations were accelerating the progress towards viable and practical electric powertrains and autonomous driving. Across industry, automation and the IIoT (with resultant improvements in quality and productivity), were being supported by electronics and Emech developments. And in medical, patient care was being enhanced by the miniaturisation of electronics and new sensing technologies to foster exciting solutions for implantable devices and remote healthcare – these are just a few examples.
From March the world’s focus shifted. Lockdown caused consumers to stop spending on cars for example, factories stopped producing in the face of curtailed demand, supply chains were compromised and social distancing became the norm.
At the front end of the process, collaborative environments such as R&D and design departments closed, and those responsible for engineering innovation and new product design were forced to work in isolation at home, with makeshift connectivity to colleagues and resources.
Now, as governments get a grip on the spread of COVID-19 and we begin to see a route out of lockdown for society, including industry, it’s time to make up lost ground. Innovation and design can regain lost momentum and there are hopes that pent-up consumer demand will speed recovery.
For device and component manufacturers that provide the constituent parts for vehicle electronics, wearable devices or factory automation systems, now is a crucial time. Engineers will soon be seeking the best suppliers, partners, components and system solutions to build into their products to get to market as soon as possible and with features and performance differentiated from their competitors.
For companies that either froze or scaled back marketing as their revenues were threatened or impacted, now is the time to restart in order to catch the wave of design and innovation post-lockdown. Businesses that postpone the restart of marketing activities risk missing out, being overlooked for evaluation or being left off the BoM for new product design.
Brand, technology, capability and product awareness are important at any time to sustain the flow of leads and engagement that are the lifeblood of business, and right now this is especially true as industry gets ready to release the pause button and make up for lost time.