Staying one step ahead of the market today requires a product design process ready and able to turn on a dime. No longer does any business have the luxury of years – or sometimes, even months – to contemplate design iterations or to implement a product design strategy. Time lost to inefficiency, confusion or task redundancy can translate into serious competitive losses.
One significant contributor to design time lost today is the modern multi-CAD environment. On average, companies use an average of 2.7 different CAD platforms, and they all have their own strengths and weaknesses. Everyone has their personal preference or file format requirements. However, recreating data for a different CAD platform takes time, often leading to translation problems, human error, and ultimately design intent compromises. All of these factors are significant challenges when your business relies on the ability to innovate rapidly.
In a multiCAD world, odd CAD file formats need to work together seamlessly.
So is the answer to stick to a single CAD platform? For some companies, perhaps. But no single product design solution is strong in every feature category, or is the best solution for every situation. Multi-CAD, it seems, is a situation that is here to stay. But the challenges of multi-CAD may not be, if you approach your next CAD solution purchase with these strategic goals in mind.
Think consolidation. The alternative to multi-CAD confusion is to invest in a scalable product design platform (such as PTC Creo) that supports a wide range of modern and legacy formats and models, enabling you to edit geometries directly and natively. Focus on platform consolidation rather than platform homogeny.
Prioritize collaboration. The single most important strategy that your business can pursue in a multi-CAD environment is to foster robust collaboration wherever you can. Invest in new CAD tools that strongly support an open, collaborative work environment, rather than simply standardization around a single format or set of software usage guidelines.
Enable more effective concurrent engineering – even if you don’t think you need it. Among many other advantages, effective management of a multi-CAD design and collaboration environment offers the ability to deliver concurrent engineering services at much higher levels. Take advantage of those powers by leveraging the strengths of your different CAD platforms into a single powerful design process.
Effective design is about growth, adapting to change and coming up with smarter, stronger solutions for tomorrow’s problems. Rather than presenting an insurmountable set of problems, your multi-CAD design environment could offer your best technological tool for success. With an eye towards consolidation, collaboration, and concurrency, your product design process can become a whole that vastly surpasses the sum of its parts.
*Goose image Misfit By USFWS Mountain-Prairie, via Wikimedia Commons.