Strategy 4: Foster collaboration and innovation
A rising challenge for many design and engineering managers
is how to supervise interaction among the growing number of players in today’s
product development environment. Because innovation has become an increasingly
critical factor for manufacturing success in a global economy, more and more
contributors, each bringing different areas of specialization, are now becoming
involved in the process. While manufacturers once handled the bulk of product
development—both design and manufacturing—in-house, many now work closely with
strategic partners and vendors.
And even within a single product development group, the need
for industrial designers to collaborate with mechanical engineers, and
designers to work with analysts, and mechanical engineers to work with their
electrical and manufacturing counterparts, can test a manager’s ability to
guide this interaction into a collaborative, yet productive, workflow. The
effective CAD leader needs to consider CAD tools in the contexts of collaboration,
communication, and control.
By using an integrated suite of CAD tools, which are fully
compatible with each other, you can streamline the various interactions among
designers, engineers, partners, suppliers, and vendors. An integrated system
establishes a single design data language for all contributors.
Combined with an integrated PDM system that supports
automated workflows, integrated tools enable you to control and manage a
diverse, collaborative product development approach. By facilitating
communication among players and establishing standard workflows, you can
promote innovation in an efficient manner.
You should also consider the roles that design visualization
and data access will play in a collaborative environment. How difficult is it
for you to illustrate innovative concepts using 3D visuals and animations? Can
you easily share design ideas by email? Can you administer and control access
to sensitive design information? By carefully considering the demands of
collaboration, you can bring structure to potential chaos, and produce the
innovations your organization needs to succeed.
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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.