Strategy 4: Foster collaboration and innovation
A rising challenge for many design and engineering managers is how to supervise interaction among the growing number of players in today’s product development environment. Because innovation has become an increasingly critical factor for manufacturing success in a global economy, more and more contributors, each bringing different areas of specialization, are now becoming involved in the process. While manufacturers once handled the bulk of product development—both design and manufacturing—in-house, many now work closely with strategic partners and vendors.
And even within a single product development group, the need for industrial designers to collaborate with mechanical engineers, and designers to work with analysts, and mechanical engineers to work with their electrical and manufacturing counterparts, can test a manager’s ability to guide this interaction into a collaborative, yet productive, workflow. The effective CAD leader needs to consider CAD tools in the contexts of collaboration, communication, and control.
By using an integrated suite of CAD tools, which are fully compatible with each other, you can streamline the various interactions among designers, engineers, partners, suppliers, and vendors. An integrated system establishes a single design data language for all contributors.
Combined with an integrated PDM system that supports automated workflows, integrated tools enable you to control and manage a diverse, collaborative product development approach. By facilitating communication among players and establishing standard workflows, you can promote innovation in an efficient manner.
You should also consider the roles that design visualization and data access will play in a collaborative environment. How difficult is it for you to illustrate innovative concepts using 3D visuals and animations? Can you easily share design ideas by email? Can you administer and control access to sensitive design information? By carefully considering the demands of collaboration, you can bring structure to potential chaos, and produce the innovations your organization needs to succeed.
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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.