Strategy 9: Communicate effectively with business personnel
3D CAD technology represents a quantum leap in your ability to communicate design information with important audiences outside of product development. Extrapolating what an actual 3D physical product will look like from a 2D engineering drawing can be challenging for many engineers, not to mention how difficult this can be for those who don’t work with drawings on a daily basis.
Effective CAD leaders appreciate how this obstacle can impede innovation and limit the potential for valuable input from key stakeholders outside of engineering, particularly when securing buy-in from management, customers, and partners regarding new product ideas or innovative concepts. They understand that a picture’s worth a thousand words and that a 3D model—or better yet, a 3D animation—communicates more effectively than stacks of 2D drawings.
Modern 3D CAD tools can dramatically enhance your ability to demonstrate the aesthetics, performance, and fit and function of product designs in formats that are easy for anyone to comprehend. You can use these communication capabilities to create virtual animations and simulations that show how a design will perform within the confines of its operating environment. You can also illustrate the limitations of existing designs and how new approaches can extend and improve performance. You can even create photorealistic renderings of products that are difficult to distinguish from actual photographs, which your sales and marketing colleagues can use instead of incurring the costs of studio photography.
As a CAD leader, you should pay attention to the visual and communication formats that your design systems can produce. Creating standard file formats such as PDF, JPG, and AVI represents the minimum set of capabilities. You should also consider tools that allow you to compactly package a model—including transparency, cutaway, and model interrogation tools—for email distribution.
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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.