As we enter into 2018, let me first wish everyone a profitable and happy new year. This is my 31st new year in the CAD/CAM industry, and I have seen incredible advances in the technology. I think it would be safe to say that half of my job is spent keeping up with the technological changes in our industry. Unfortunately, most of our customers are too busy making products, and lack the time to investigate, let alone learn, the latest technology. In fact, many current CAD, and CAM, users are not using the most efficient processes or commands in their systems. Simply because they are not aware of their existence or they lack the time to learn how to use them.
Profile of your average user
Based on my experience, the average CAD/CAM user has a definite assignment or workload to achieve within a given time period. This time period usually does not allow for any research or self-training. They must complete the task and move on to the next. As a result, users tend to find what works and will continue to use that method. No thought is given to researching better or faster methods. This may work for a period of time, but offers no chance for acceleration of work output.
For example; suppose a user has to place ten occurrences of a single component into an assembly, with each component in a different orientation. The user may place and align each component individually, which may take 10 – 20 minutes. If the user is aware of the new Clone Component command, this same task could be done in less than 2 minutes.
Furthermore, the user’s focus is on getting his/her work completed. Which, most managers would agree, is the proper focus. However, certain processes or methods may lead to problems downstream, in other areas of the company. The average user may not realize, nor even care, what happens once the job leaves their desk. But from an upper management level, this could be, and often is, a major concern. If a new or different method could be taught, to the front-end user, it may offer considerable time savings, in other parts of the company.
Some users will make the effort to learn and adopt the new technology, on their own. A noble cause, which may not always prove fruitful, and may actually cause greater confusion or frustration for the user. One user may find a more efficient way, but fail to share it with other users. Again, this could cause problems if the other users have to work with a model that has been created in a new way. I’ve had some users tell me that they like a lot of the newer technology, but it will never be adopted where they work.
Our role in your company
As mentioned above, part of our job is to learn the newest technology. As a Value-Added Reseller, we are constantly providing this knowledge to our customers. Owners, managers, and users often attend our productivity summits, and seminars, to be made aware of the latest enhancements. We also offer numerous courses, to train the users, in the latest and more advanced use of our products. It is estimated that 1 hour of professional training is equivalent to 16 hours of trying to teach yourself. Customers who have attended our courses have always been amazed at the knowledge and practical skills that they can obtain, in a short period of time.
Another service, that we provide, is a company wide productivity audit. We go onsite and review your design and manufacturing processes, gathering as much data as possible. We then analyze the data, and formulate a strategy, to streamline your processes, and improve your overall efficiency. This is designed for upper management to ensure that all their departments are working together, for the overall benefit of the company. It places the focus on the company rather than the separate departments, or the individual users. Our customers, that have used this service, have all shown positive results.
Benefits of these services
In past articles I have discussed the return on investment (ROI) for professional training. I won’t repeat that discussion here, other than to say that the ROI on professional training is faster than most expect. We’ve had some situations where the ROI is a week or two. But what is possibly more important is the overall benefits of professional training. One just has to do a web search, on the “benefits of professional training”, to view a myriad of articles on this topic. Many articles list the following benefits:
- - Keep up with industry changes
- - Be in touch with all the latest technological advancements
- - Stay ahead of your competition
- - Be able to see, and correct, weaknesses and skill gaps
- - Maintain knowledge and skill
- - Advance employee skills
- - Provide an incentive to learn and upgrade skills
- - Increase job satisfaction levels
- - Provide internal promotion opportunities for your staff
- - Attract new talent
Although most managers agree, they are reluctant to send their staff for training, due to cost in time and money. Designfusion courses are designed to pack as much knowledge as possible into manageable time slots. Our courses range from 2 days to 5 days in duration. The increase in productivity, following these courses, quickly makes up the time and cost invested.
The benefits of the productivity audit are similar to training benefits, but with on overall company perspective. These include:
- - Ability to determine, and correct, weaknesses and skill gaps
- - Ensure that your technology is being used correctly and efficiently
- - Eliminate duplication between departments
- - Streamline company processes to improve overall efficiency
- - Improve co-operation and communication between departments
Both training and productivity audits involve an investment in time and money. But the results have, and will continue to provide a fast ROI and significant improvement in efficiency throughout your design, engineering, and manufacturing departments.
“The only way to predict the future is to have power to shape the future” (A quote from Eric Hoffer).
When it comes to the CAD/CAM industry, knowledge is power. If you want to have the power to shape your company’s future, you need the knowledge of the latest technology. Only then can you accurately decide how to use the new technology. At Designfusion, this knowledge is one of our products. By attending our productivity summits, or purchasing one of our above-mentioned services, we will provide this knowledge to you. You won’t have to search for the knowledge, read numerous articles, or attempt to interpret technical documentation. We provide it, explain it, and teach it, to you and your users. With a relatively small investment in time and money, you can make 2018 a most productive and efficient year, for you company.
If you are interested in these or other services, please visit out Services page at http://www.designfusion.ca//services.html, or contact your Account Manager for more details.