An increasing number of engineering enterprises have built successful business cases for 3D CAD validation; this demand for automated solutions has propelled the release of several validation software products within the last year. With a plethora of new CAD validation offerings now available, the industry’s attempts at commoditizing CAD validation poses substantial risks to the engineering and IT decision-makers that evaluate, procure, and oversee CAD validation initiatives.
As more applications enter the market, industry veterans of 3D CAD validation have experienced a substantial increase in the number of remediation engagements associated with failed projects that stem from untested and immature software applications. Validation software helps organizations avoid scrapped parts, labor waste, and product recalls, but sub-standard deployments will wreak havoc in many downstream processes. This article explores three ways managers can limit their exposure:
1. Know the Common Denominators of Failed Projects
There are three common denominators associated with failed CAD validation projects: 1) engineering managers were unfamiliar with the implementation requirements, process changes, and the downstream impacts associated with CAD validation and lacked the knowledge to mitigate the risks, 2) engineering influencers and technology champions assumed that all CAD validation software solutions were mature, and 3) IT managers applied the same decision-making processes and criteria to validation solutions as they do to a commodity purchase (i.e. hardware).
2. Use Specific Investigative Criteria During Your Discovery Phase
The CAD validation market is on the cusp of stabilization, but do not assume that the market has matured to the point of commoditization. Because of the impact validation poses to downstream applications and processes, decision-makers should rely on a consultative pre-acquisition strategy that requires potential validation suppliers to provide more than just data analysis results. Require your suppliers to provide pre-sales consultative input on process improvements, deployment architectures, diagnostic prioritization, usability, risk mitigation, standardization, statistics and reporting, and measurements for success.
3. Consider Possible Reuse Scenarios
Validation software is sold as a point solution or integrated into quality-centric software product suites; most are licensed for either desktop or server use and a few can be integrated into PLM environments. The wrong solution architecture or deployment strategy will negatively impact uptime, scalability, and skew validation results, particularly if the demand for the technology increases. Consult with your validation provider to determine all possible reuse scenarios for all points in the value chain (i.e. design, analysis, manufacturing, and sustainment). Doing so will ensure a successful deployment strategy and promote consistency in your analysis results, software availability, scalability, reporting, and performance.
Jamie Flerlage is a Senior Consultant for ITI TranscenData, an interoperability consulting firm specializing in strategic services and software products for Fortune 500 manufacturers. Since 1994, ITI TranscenData has assisted global enterprises with the acquisition, implementation, integration and customization of CAD validation solutions. For more information, visit www.transcendata.com or email Jamie, at firstname.lastname@example.org.