The answer to the age-old problem above is often to add more resource to your design and engineering teams as the business grows.
Your customers demand more of you and are certainly expecting fast responses to their product enquiry submissions, no matter how they come into to your business, via traditional sales routes or increasingly from online enquiries.
The problem with anything online is there is an expectation of instant results and whilst you may be offering the best web experience to your customers, your engineering design processes may not be adapting to meet those demands.
So, what is the answer?
The answer is simple; automate your design process for your standard products that deliver the highest volume and revenue to the business. If you are a manufacturer of products that can be configured in different ways but have to conform to engineering constraints and design rules, then you should be able to add a high degree of automation around the design process.
In its simplest state you may consider using something like the iLogic tool in Autodesk’s Inventor product to enable your engineers to drive 3D model design via form-based data entry in the CAD programme. The rules are added to the model and designers can enter customer requirements in a form that automatically generates the 3D model and 2D drawing output as a result.
The time saving is incredible and allows engineering teams to meet sales teams and customer demands.
Take another small step and you may consider pushing your model online allowing your sales teams and customers the ability to drive product configuration via a web portal with no need for users to have access to any CAD programme. Online tools will produce the 3D model, 2D drawings, output multiple file formats for your consumers and even produce the quote, all based on your engineering and sales rules.
If you have a design team producing 3D models then an automated design environment is a small step away, your team need the skills and know how, they may need some additional tools, all of which are a small investment for a very considerable benefit and return.
In a recent client project, we were able to reduce the production of engineering drawings from an average lead time of 4 weeks to just over 30 seconds. This may seem unbelievable but is often the result of automating the configuration of the model.
Automated design improves the customer experience, significantly drives down your product time to market whilst maintaining the integrity of your engineering data. Ultimately, it creates the time in engineering to innovate and develop your product portfolio reducing the need to add additional resource to the business.