Strategy 2: Develop skills and retain talents
Equally as important as choosing the right CAD tool to support your operations is putting it in the hands of skilled designers and engineers. No matter how automated technology becomes, product design will remain a creative, innovative process that depends upon the contributions of talented, highly skilled professionals. As a CAD leader, you are responsible for providing your team members with the tools that they need to perform their jobs successfully.
It’s also your job to provide for continuing skills development and find ways to retain your most valuable engineering talent. These goals go hand in hand. If you help your team members acquire skills, through ongoing CAD training and professional development, and help them remain motivated in their work by feeding them a steady diet of engineering challenges, you will have done your part in keeping them interested and satisfied in their work.
But not just any training will do. You should tailor your training program toward the needs of both your organization and the individual. Try to match your company’s needs with the interests and talents of specific team members. If your process requires advanced surface modeling and one of your designers has an obvious industrial design bent, providing that type of training addresses both needs. Look at your processes and assess your people. When it makes sense, customize training to meet the specific requirements of your group.
Some managers see the time and money allocated to CAD training as a budgetary item that they can cut. This view lacks foresight because the costs related to training are investments rather than expenses—investments in your organization’s ability to efficiently solve engineering challenges and investments towards retaining your most talented engineers. An effective CAD leader understands the important role that training plays in a team’s long-term success.
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*This article is an excerpt from the "Ten Strategies for Becoming an Effective CAD Leader White Paper", published by DS SolidWorks Corp.