Strategy 10: Demonstrate product development contributions
Perhaps the most critical strategy for becoming an effective CAD leader is to find ways to demonstrate the value of the contributions that your product development team makes to your entire enterprise. By showing management how your team’s performance contributes to your company’s bottom line, you will be able to secure and maintain the support that you and your group needs to grow, improve, and innovate.
As stated previously, capturing, documenting, and communicating the productivity gains within your group—such as time savings (shorter time-to-market), cost reductions, and quality improvements (reduced returns/warranty claims)—is one way to communicate your design team’s performance in business terms. In addition to tracking productivity internally, you can take advantage of vendor-sponsored case studies and other publicity opportunities to further promote your team’s success.
You can also establish how your team’s innovations impact sales and revenue. Take a look at your sales numbers. Is there a new product, product accessory, or product adaptation that is generating a sizable increase in sales? Much of that growth is attributable to the hard work, efficiency, and talent of your team. As an effective CAD leader, you should take advantage of every opportunity to promote the combined results of your leadership and the efforts of your design team in practical, business terms.
Product development represents the very genesis of your company. Without innovative, reliable, and exciting products to manufacture, market, and sell, your company wouldn’t even be in business. You work hard to develop successful products—from initial R&D through commercialization and production. As a CAD leader, you should not be shy or reserved about letting others know about your accomplishments, particularly when you communicate them in pragmatic terms that they can understand.
*This article is an excerpt from the "Ten Strategies for Becoming an Effective CAD Leader White Paper", published by DS SolidWorks Corp.