CAD Implementation 5:
The importance of the CAD implementation review,
overcoming hurdles and challenges
9. 3D CAD Implementation 5: The importance of the reviewing CAD
implementation, overcoming hurdles and challenges
- A CAD implementation review is both desirable and important. It enables you to measure the success and impact of implementing 3D CAD in your business.
- The impact may be tangible, such as time and money
saved, as well as intangible,
for example satisfaction for your engineers.
- Demonstrating the impact
of 3D CAD implementation may well be necessary to demonstrate return on
investment (RoI), as well as justification more generally.
- You may decide to undertake a CAD implementation review at a set period following instalment. When exactly the initial review takes
place may depend on the size of your business, together with other factors
mentioned in the last point of the ‘Rolling out CAD’ section above.
- Suggestions for the timing
of any CAD implementation reviews include 6 months, 1 year and 2 years. Make sure you’ve used the
new system enough within the business to give a fair comparison. A few
measurement criteria include:
- Reduction in development time. How long would
the equivalent development take before and after 3D CAD?
- Engineering change orders / requests (closely
tied to quality)
- Product development costs
- Design Engineer satisfaction
- For this last point, how
satisfied are your CAD users? With all the investment in training, IT
requirements and making employees an integral part of the CAD rollout
process, it is definitely worthwhile assessing their satisfaction as a key
measure of CAD implementation review success.
To maximise the chances of implementation success, it is
worth understanding some the common reasons why businesses struggle with CAD
implementation. These are provided below, with some suggestions to overcome the
The Cost of the CAD
- Try free CAD downloadable software. They may not be the big industry-standard names, but functionally they may be good enough for you.
- Shop around! Get quotes and compare prices.
- Understand how many seats / licenses you need.
Once you’ve received quotes you may choose to reduce the number of seats
you initially decide to go for.
- Some software suppliers offer free pilot
licenses – often lasting 30 days. Try before you buy and see how you get
- Consider leasing or hiring seats. For many this
is a more affordable option and can be undertaken conveniently online. Leasing
may be time-bound or project-based and is renewable at the end of the period.
Resistance to change
because engineers are familiar with a set way of doing things
engineers to use 3D CAD
The amount of
legacy technical drawings currently in 2D
- Consider a gradual approach to converting CAD
data. Ideas include:
- Converting 2D CAD data only when you need to
- Converting 2D CAD data project-by-project or
- Alternatively, outsource 2D-to-3D CAD data
conversion to a third party supplier.
managing complicated 3D CAD assemblies
- Use training to understand the best way to go
about this. Ask questions and find out about hints, tips and best
- Practice, practice, practice! Become proficient
by increasing the complexity of the CAD assemblies you produce.
Constantly learn and capture knowledge as you progress.
- Tap into the knowledge and experience of CAD
suppliers and support services, trainers, online communities etc.
- Set up a spare CAD laptop or old PC for your
engineers to practice on. Load a student edition or trial software, and
access tutorials so employees can hone their skills at lunchtime, or
before or after work.
Managing CAD data,
including revision control and incorporating this into your existing data
processing and procedures
- Take advice from your CAD supplier’s support
- This will include Product Data Management (PDM)
training and documenting the processes that work for you.
- Plan how your new CAD data will be linked into
your existing systems. Consider factors like BOMs, materials lists,
bought-out-parts and drawing registers etc.
Successfully implementing 3D CAD involves integrating it into
the way you operate – your development processes, practical methods of working
and communication between engineers. For
this to work you need to plan and organise. Training, IT preparation and CAD
Vendor involvement are all part of this. Additionally, pilot projects and wider
rollout all help integration, as well as recoup return on investment. Finally a CAD implementation review is recommended to measure success, business impact and your return on investment. By
planning and getting organised, small manufacturing businesses just like yours can
reap the full benefits of 3D CAD
3D Printing (Additive Manufacturing): Explanation and Business
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