Keysight Survey Reveals True Costs of Time Delays Caused by Test Equipment Misconfiguration, Maintenance and Training Issues
August 2020 by Keysight Technologies, Inc.
Keysight Technologies, Inc. has released the results of a third-party survey, conducted by Dimensional Research, that shows nearly all companies who design and develop electronic products, experience costly and preventable delays related to test equipment misconfiguration, maintenance or training issues.
The survey found that 98% of R&D engineers reported workflow issues related to calibration and setup, equipment misuse, or equipment failures. Ninety-seven percent had experienced delays that directly caused revenue loss to their business, with 53% reporting over $100,000 of waste per day while waiting to resolve critical technical support issues. Over half (59%) experienced six or more problems requiring technical support resolution each month. To mitigate these problems, 89% of R&D engineers said their test teams work more efficiently with faster access to test experts and knowledge-based resources. “Electronics companies are under constant pressure to shorten new product development lifecycles to meet time-to-market goals,” said John Page, president of Keysight Global Services. “These companies can no longer afford to wait days or weeks to resolve technical support issues with test and measurement equipment; they need fast expert responses with committed and reliable response times.”
Key findings from the survey of 305 R&D engineers across multiple industries such as the technology and telecom sectors, include:
• Test equipment related problems cause delays for almost all companies: 97% of respondents said they experienced project delays caused by test equipment issues. Equipment failures requiring repair were the most common, cited by 63% of respondents, followed by equipment misconfigurations (56%) and equipment being out of calibration (50%).
• Costs of lost days due to test equipment problems are high: 53% said their companies lost over $100,000 per day when R&D teams could not make progress due to test and measurement equipment problems. Twelve percent of respondents said their company lost over $500,000 per day.
• Test and Measurement equipment challenges are a regular problem: In a typical month, 95% of respondents said they needed to contact their test equipment vendors’ technical support team at least once. Meanwhile, 59% of respondents said they experienced six or more technical support issues per month, with 13% claiming more than 20 issues per month.
• The businesses impact of equipment problems: 53% of survey respondents said product yield was negatively affected by test equipment failing to work properly. Forty-seven percent said a product was rejected by a buyer and 45% said they had experienced increased product returns. Twenty-eight percent experienced product recalls. This directly results in a hit to their quality record and reputation, which is not easy to recover from.
• The value of expert test-related support services: 90% of respondents said they would value access to technical support expertise from outside the organization. Assistance with troubleshooting an issue was the most desired service (cited by 54%), followed by answers to technical questions and discussion (53%), understanding how a particular test or equipment feature works (49%), and calibration services (46%).
“Manufacturing test and R&D engineers are truly on the front line of this battle. In the past, they had the time to become experts on test equipment and standards,” stated Ted Burns, Global Director of KeysightCare at Keysight. “However, with test matrices spiralling, and use cases vastly increasing, they simply don’t have time to research test equipment functionality, how to optimize test configurations, or how to troubleshoot complex tests in complicated test environments. The result is a reactive, firefighting approach, which causes expensive delays, loss of revenues and engineering teams resorting to late nights and undesired weekend work as their only schedule mitigation.”
To help companies address these challenges, Keysight offers KeysightCare; a comprehensive, scalable test and measurement support model. KeysightCare offers design and test engineers dedicated, proactive support for instruments, software and solutions. It provides a priority-one connection to highly skilled live technical experts, as well as a knowledge center with technical content and programming examples. KeysightCare offers committed response and turnaround times for repair, calibration and technical support, to speed customer innovation and accelerate product time-to-market.