Strategy 5: Focus on continuous quality improvement
Continuous quality improvement is the mantra of many manufacturing organizations. It is also a primary focus of effective CAD leaders. Your CAD system can have a significant impact on the quality of the products that you design, the efficiency of your development processes, and the ramifications of your work on downstream operations. How well your CAD tools help you eliminate design errors, maximize productivity, and foster innovation will determine the size of your group’s contribution to continuous quality improvement.
Everyone involved in product development wants to eliminate design errors, and with the right mix of CAD tools, you can pinpoint errors during design and avoid the delays and costs that occur when errors make their way into production. Are you using an integrated analysis/simulation application to identify potential performance issues? Are you ensuring sufficient clearances in your moving assemblies through the use of collision detection capabilities? Are you conducting draft analyses on injection-molded parts to ensure production of molds of consistent quality? Are you assessing the manufacturability of your machined parts? If not, there are integrated tools that can help you.
A focus on continuous quality improvement also applies to your development processes. How do you complete tolerance stackups: manually or using an automated CAD tool? What about prototyping? Do you conduct physical tests or take advantage of virtual and rapid prototyping technologies? Do you have an integrated PDM system that gives you tight revision control and allows you to reuse designs that perform particularly well?
Sustainable design is an emerging area of focus for achieving continuous quality improvement. As consumer awareness of environmental impacts and preference for “greener” products continue to rise, assessing the sustainability of your products and processes becomes increasingly important. To get out in front of this trend, you can use CAD tools that evaluate the sustainability of your designs.
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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.