Strategy 7: Document and analyze productivity
CAD leadership requires more than intuition and observation. In order to make prudent, practical decisions about how to best deploy next-generation CAD tools to achieve your quality and efficiency goals, you need access to information about how CAD technology influences product development. The most accurate way to assess the collective and individual impacts of CAD tools is to establish baseline productivity statistics so you can document, evaluate, and analyze departmental performance.
How long is your average design cycle? What are your typical development costs? Do you track the number of design errors and engineering change orders (ECOs) per development cycle, or the volume of scrap produced on an annual basis? Are you monitoring the time and money that are spent on physical prototyping? In order to assess whether a particular design solution is having a positive effect on your bottom line—and generating a return on your CAD investment—you need to document and analyze your group’s productivity.
In addition to providing valuable information on your department’s overall performance, and the role CAD tools play in contributing to increased efficiency, documenting productivity can help you standardize on what works well, address areas that are problematic, and acknowledge success.
As a design manager, your performance, and ultimately, your compensation, is tied to the success of every member of your team. Their success relates to the tools, training, and processes that you put in place. As a CAD leader, you need a scorecard for determining how well your team is doing, so you can assess whether your CAD tools are helping your team members move forward or holding them back. With this information, you can embrace processes that are more efficient, rectify areas of weakness, and use objective, factual information to recognize and reward achievement.
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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.