Efficiently using CAD tools has a dramatic impact on a company's success. A pair of recent studies by Boston based Aberdeen Group show how best-in-class manufacturers met their target times and costs nearly 90 percent of the time. How did they do it? In part, by using modeling tools to reduce prototypes and costly change orders made in the late stages of development.
The benchmark report on the transition from 2D drafting to 3D modeling notes that leading companies put 3D design tools directly in the hands of engineers, not just draftsmen. And, leading companies give the engineers time for training on the 3D software. These companies stayed ahead by getting products out an average of 41 days earlier with a savings of nearly $15,000.
Though 3D modeling tools have been around for years, some 85 % of CAD users still work with 2D drafting software. Making the decision to move to 3D Modeling used to be a function of the size of the company. Prevailing wisdom was, the bigger the company the more it needed 3D. Today’s thought is different. Instead of company size, it’s the complexity of a manufacturer’s products that determine the need for 3D CAD. More complex products call for more advanced CAD solutions. Moving to 3D can provide big benefits for even small companies in a high growth stage.
Aberdeen researchers note that only a few of the leading CAD suppliers have tools that address the full spectrum of needs of a growing company. The key to getting the most out of moving to 3D is to find a product that is fully scalable, that can grow with a manufacturer as its products become more complex. Real scalability means that design teams are compatible around the world, data management is simplified, and legacy data is more useful so mistakes aren’t repeated.
Moving from 2D to 3D CAD is a big step for any manufacturer, small or large. Take a look here for more thoughts on how to do it right.