Every software platform, no matter how industry dominating and innovative, at some point finally outlives its usefulness. There is a reason why no one uses Visicalc anymore, and very few of us still use Lotus 1-2-3 or WordPerfect. At some point, we all outgrow our tools and must find something new to take our productivity to the next level. The cutting edge gets moved.
3D CAD is no different in that regard. The product design world is changing fast, and many struggle to keep pace with rapidly growing demands for greater flexibility, tighter controls over the manufacturing process, and advanced graphical tools that refine the accuracy of detailed designs.
Sooner or later, you will outgrow your current CAD solution. The trick is to recognize the signs early, giving yourself the time and space to plan a smooth, efficient upgrade process. If you see any of these scenarios on a recurring basis, the time to move may be closer than you think.
File headaches. One of the surest, most reliable historic signs that a CAD platform isn’t working for you is that the files you manage are becoming problems in their own right. Compatibility issues are an obvious problem - if you are regularly finding that your existing CAD platform has trouble opening more recent formats, you clearly need to upgrade.
However, CAD file problems aren’t limited to format version issues. You may find that large files are crashing your system, or that you regularly have to rebuild design files in your existing platform. If your CAD files are drawing more attention to themselves than they should, chances are good that the solution is to upgrade your platform.
Design changes are becoming difficult. In the modern, hypercompetitive marketplace, late stage design changes are often now the norm, and every additional day spent successfully integrating new engineering requirements into your product can mean significant profit losses.
Like any other tool, your 3D CAD platform should support your growth, not chain you to the way things have always been. If an inability to efficiently make fast, accurate design changes is starting to severely impact your design workflow, it may be time to take a closer look to see if your CAD software is the problem – and how an upgrade may solve it.
The best tools available are in your competitors’ hands. From advanced simulations to the latest in augmented reality applications, a whole new generation of 3D CAD engineering tools is now reaching the general marketplace. Companies ready and able to integrate innovation into their existing workflows will enjoy strong competitive advantages. If those companies don’t happen to include yours, they almost certain will include your competition.
Newer, more flexible 3D CAD platforms are designed not only to reinforce your existing strengths, but also to help you easily add new ones to your toolbox. If your current CAD software makes it difficult to adopt new technologies, then it stands in the way of your competitive progress.
It is time to take a fresh look at 3D CAD? Could updating your platform make a powerful contribution to your competitive abilities in a rapidly advancing marketplace? Not every solution is forever: as problems change, our approaches to them must change as well. By recognizing the signs early, your company can get a head start in the race to define the next state of the art.