There are some very good reasons to consider switching to a new 3D CAD system in 2018. For example, if you switch from Autodesk Inventor to SOLIDWORKS you will be able to tap into a much larger user community that will make it easier to find skilled users. You will increase your range of licensing options, such as being able to choose either a perpetual lease or subscription. You can take advantage of a much larger ecosystem of product development solutions to increase user productivity. You will have the option of phone, email or web tech support instead of being channeled into using email support.
How to achieve the greatest benefits when switching to a new 3D CAD system
But achieving the greatest return from a new 3D CAD system requires fast and successful implementation to minimize any temporary slowdown in productivity. Tech-Clarity, an independent research firm, surveyed over 230 manufacturers to learn their experiences in migrating to a new CAD system and distilled what they learned in an eBook called “The How-to Guide for Adopting a New 3D CAD”.
Tech-Clarity rated how successful these companies were in migrating to their new 3D CAD system. The companies that achieved the greatest benefits were classified as Top Performing Implementers while the rest were classified as Average Implementers. The Top Performing Implementers:
- Reduced development measured in man hours by 14%
- Reduced development costs by 11%
- Reduced time to implement an engineering change order by 12%
- Increased the number of design iterations by 14%
Lessons learned when implementing a new 3D CAD system
The eBook details lessons learned from the Top Performing Implementers and how they were able to achieve these benefits during a relatively short implementation process.
For example, one of the biggest differences between Top Performing Implementers and Average Implementers is that they set a clear cutoff date for when all users are expected to begin using the new tool. Firm deadlines remove the uncertainty and minimize the length of the transition phase. Also, Top Performing Implementers appoint someone as the team champion who works with users to make sure they are getting what they need and that they understand the value of the new 3D CAD system.
How important is training when implementing a new 3D CAD system?
Top Performing Implementers emphasize training in the new 3D CAD system. They view online training as being the most helpful with instructor-led training and online user communities close behind. It’s important to note that survey showed Top Performing Implementer users have considerably more access to training than Average Performing Implementers, indicating that training is a significant factor in their success.
How to handle data conversion when implementing a new 3D CAD system
Top Performing Implementers differ from Average Implementers in that they convert more data before they start the transition and they also end up with more data converted. Top Performing implementers also tend to take a more selective approach in determining which data to convert, such as by electing not to convert discontinued products and old revisions.
Many also take advantage of SOLIDWORKS 3D Interconnect which makes it possible to open CAD files from design tools such as Autodesk Inventor, Siemens NX, SolidEdge, CATIA and PTC Creo directly and use them the same as native SOLIDWORKS files.
How important is the user community when implementing a new 3D CAD system?
There are also differences in what Top and Average Performing Implementers look for in their new 3D CAD system. Those who are more successful are more likely to prefer a CAD system with a large user community which makes it easier to hire users who already know their way around it. The presence of an enthusiastic and active online community can also be a great knowledge resource to new users.
How you manage your implementation process is an important factor in determining the benefits that your company receives from its new 3D CAD system. Much can be learned from the experience of the companies that achieved the highest benefits from their new 3D CAD systems.
Be sure to download your copy of The How-to Guide to Adopting a New 3D CAD ebook to learn best practices in implementing a new CAD system.
Image courtesy of flickr.
About the Author
Christa Prokos is a marketing manager at Fisher Unitech. She researches and writes about the latest business trends and technologies impacting manufacturers, including 3D printing, SOLIDWORKS 3D CAD design and product data management tools, product lifecycle management, virtual reality, and the Internet of Things. Christa has worked as a high tech marketing and communications professional since 2000. You can follow her on Twitter: @ChristaProkos.