Getting a good return on every investment is important and part of a manager’s responsibilities. But how do you as a manager ensure that your team is getting the most out of your investment in SOLIDWORKS?
Like many of the tools that we use every day, our efficiency is only as good as the training we have had on that tool. Have you dedicated time, resources, or money toward education? This is not just about attending a SOLIDWORKS training class at your local reseller (although that is the best foundation to work from.) This is an ongoing process of making sure your users are developing their skills each day. But why should you invest in training and development? And how can you best do it?
Best practices are extremely important in 3D modeling.
As anyone who has edited another user’s model knows, how you create a model is just as important as the finished product. Clean models mean less mistakes.
Consistency from one user to another. Consistent practices means anyone can easily jump in on another project efficiently, giving you more flexibility with your resources.
Users that are developing their skills are more engaged.
Users take a lot of joy and pride in being skilled at SOLIDWORKS. Leverage this to get more engagement out of your team.
With a more diverse skillset in SOLIDWORKS, users will save time and money by quickly accessing the best feature to accomplish the job (instead of doing it the hard way!)
Ideas for Training and Developing the Team
Formal training lays a solid foundation for SOLIDWORKS fundamentals. In the spirit of full disclosure, we are a reseller that benefits financially from users attending training classes. However, I have also taught more than my fair share of SOLIDWORKS Essentials classes and seen users go from dazed and confused on Monday to seeing a light bulb go on sometime around late Wednesday or Thursday. There is nothing like getting out of the office and concentrating on SOLIDWORKS with a certified instructor for a few days in a row. This cannot be replaced learning a few minutes here or there “on the job.” If possible, allocate a small budget each year for formal training.
Supplement training with other free resources.
Ensure your users have created a Customer Portal login at the SOLIDWORKS website. This will give them access to the knowledge base and other resources.
Ensure your users have access to and know about the new MY.SOLIDWORKS.COM. They are building new learning resources and videos in one central location.
Utilize YouTube! SOLIDWORKS, Resellers, and Users are all posting great content and how-to videos. These are a great way for users to learn new things. I suggest having an engineering group login and creating a playlist of videos that are relevant to your design practices. When a user sees a video and learns something, they can add it to the playlist. This would be a great resource for new employees as they come on board.
Store any training manuals in an engineering library and make them accessible to others.
Make sure your team is using your local reseller’s hotline when they get stuck or need help.
Hold a regular (I suggest monthly) internal SOLIDWORKS user group. I’ve seen many customers do this with great success. It creates an environment for sharing information and teaching others. Assign a leader or two and have them bring a prepared how-to presentation or bring a list of two or three topics to discuss that day. You will get valuable conversation that will improve your users immensely. And you’ll learn what is working and what isn’t. If things are busy, order a pizza and hold the meeting over lunch!
Encourage your users to attend a local SOLIDWORKS User Group. Attend with them to learn how others are using SOLIDWORKS.
Growing and developing people is one of the hardest and yet most rewarding aspects of managing. Hopefully, this article has sparked some ideas and challenged you to evaluate your investment in developing your team and their SOLIDWORKS skills. It will make a difference!