Working for your computer

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I was recently visiting a customer who’s standard procedure for putting a BOM on a drawing was:

  1. Finish the drawing
  2. Type the BOM into Excel
  3. Copy/paste the BOM into the drawing
  4. Manually balloon the drawing, matching the items in the BOM to the balloon.

Don’t laugh too hard. I bet you are doing something that isn’t as efficient as it could be, I hardly ever leave a customer without giving them some sort of time saving tip.

How do you find weaknesses in your standard operating procedures [SOP]? First, look around your office walls. See any sticky notes listing several steps to do something in SolidWorks? Don’t you suppose after sixteen years and a million installs, someone would have turned in an enhancement request and a native SOLIDWORKS or [3rd party] solution exists?

So, how do you find a solution? First check out the help file, type in some key words and see if you get any hits. Next ask your user group or maybe the forums. Worst case get a macro written to help you. Macros usually have a very fast return on investment. A macro beats a lengthy SOP by: better adoption, better/more accurate data, time, less training, and apparently your sticky note budget.

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This is true not for just SOLIDWORKS tasks, but anything you do in your office. Go through your SOPs. Anything that is very long, complicated, repetitive, or you find people aren’t even doing, should be scrutinized. If it is a computer related SOP there has to be a better way. It is a computer -its job is to do long, complicated, repetitive tasks! You shouldn’t be doing your computer’s job.