September 13, 2004 2005 Promotes Team Collaboration
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Jeff Rowe - Managing Editor

by Jeff Rowe - Contributing Editor
Each MCAD Weekly Review delivers to its readers news concerning the latest developments in the MCAD industry, MCAD product and company news, featured downloads, customer wins, and coming events, along with a selection of other articles that we feel you might find interesting. Brought to you by If we miss a story or subject that you feel deserves to be included, or you just want to suggest a future topic, please contact us! Questions? Feedback? Click here. Thank you! 2005 Promotes Team Collaboration

CoCreate Software, Inc., a provider of collaboration software and 3D CAD, announced the release of 2005, an online project data management and team collaboration solution that enables engineers, suppliers, customers, and experts to work efficiently and effectively across a distributed project team.

CoCreate knows that communications across multi-site, contract, and outsourced project teams today often get lost among too many databases, firewalls, e-mail attachments, engineering changes, and misunderstandings. 2005 offers an alternative for team collaboration: uniting the 'too many' into one place on the web. For product details or to register for a free trial of 2005, please visit

Synchronize through web folders: 2005 fits with how project teams work today, providing a simple way to control, track, and version project data. Through web folders, 2005 is now a part of each user's file system so that team members from any location can access the most up-to-date version of project data. Team members from inside or outside the company can work on this data from a shared location that behaves like a network drive. It's now easy to access team projects through Windows Explorer, as well as open and save files directly from applications such as Microsoft Office Suite that support web folders.

Synchronize with enterprise systems: In today's business environment, valuable product development data often is stored across multiple enterprise systems such as ERP, PLM, and SCM. As a result, project members struggle to find and obtain the right versions of their data. And many businesses now need to give customers, suppliers, or other outside team members up-to-date access to project data without giving them full access to proprietary company systems. 2005 collaboration software offers companies a middle ground between an "all or nothing" approach to data access for such team members.

By leveraging low-cost integration technologies such as XML web services and Microsoft InfoPath, companies can use the 2005 workspace to link project-relevant data from a source in any enterprise system. And there's no need to compromise IT policies or give individuals from outside the company uncontrolled system access. To protect proprietary data, project managers simply limit team member access to specific data needed from these systems through the 2005 workspace. Because any changes to the data in the enterprise system automatically synchronize with 2005, project members inside or outside the firewall can always get the right data version -- but
not sensitive company information.

Project use models: 2005 is designed for the reality that companies working with supply chain partners need a team collaboration tool that flexes to fit their existing processes, rather than forcing their processes to change. The 2005 release's new, out-of-the-box project templates support common inter-company scenarios such as enacting engineering change orders, working with suppliers to obtain bids, and coordinating with suppliers to take corrective action on sourced components. Project team members can now easily access template features such as light workflow with instant change notification. And because each company can configure the templates to fit its specific
processes, team members can use and reuse the templates across future projects.

"Companies involving suppliers and procurement groups in the new product development process at design inception and development are able to reduce costs by nearly 18% compared to companies delaying such collaboration until the product prototype phase," said Tim Minahan, VP of Supply Chain Research at Aberdeen Group. "Early involvement also provides 10% to 20% improvement in time-to-market cycles, allowing companies to capture greater market share and gain larger profit margins for being an early mover. Collaborative solutions, such as, can help even the smallest companies facilitate early collaboration between engineering, suppliers, and other key stakeholders involved in
bringing new products to market."

"Whether product development team members are spread out across town or across the global value chain, there's no excuse now for allowing costly misunderstandings and delayed schedules to be part of business as usual," said William M. Gascoigne, CoCreate CEO. " 2005 clears the way for project success by helping users access the right version of their data from any location, view it in a meaningful way, and engage with their team members to coordinate ideas and changes. We put customers on the fast track to delivering innovative products to market on schedule."

CoCreate develops 3D CAD and collaboration software for manufacturers and their project teams. Its mechanical CAD product, Designer Modeling, is for designers who need freedom to create and change 3D designs without misunderstandings or delay. Model Manager, a data management product, is for teams who can't afford to work on the wrong revision of a 3D CAD model or 2D drawing when creating assemblies. collaboration software is for project teams who are overwhelmed by the complexity of a design process that stretches across sites, contractors, or outsourced teams.

CoCreate's is one of the few successful implementations of combining a design tool with a collaborative environment. Several other companies have attempted this marriage, but few have succeeded, and some are no longer in business. A few years ago, during the dot-com blitz, collaboration software was supposed to be "the next big thing." Well, like many things technological, this is an area that really never took off like it was envisioned. Not that collaboration is necessarily a bad technical thing, because it isn't. It had more to do with the fact that not all people necessarily want to collaborate on a design. This reluctance to collaborate contributed more to the downfall
of many of the players in this class of products than anything strictly technical. The main thing that I've always liked about CoCreate's approach to collaboration is the elegant simplicity with which it does it. It is very Windows compliant and easy to learn and administer. These reasons alone are probably why CoCreate is still around with a bright future ahead of it.

Product Redesign -- Not Outsourcing To China -- Holds Cost Advantage For U.S. Manufacturers

Boothroyd Dewhurst, Inc., announced the results of a benchmarking study entitled "Improved Product Design Practices Would Make U.S. Manufacturing More Cost Effective." The study attacks longstanding assumptions about product costs that have troubled manufacturers for decades, both in the United States and worldwide.

The authors argue that U.S. companies should do a much better job of integrating cost analysis into product design. If rigorous cost analysis was instituted as a foundation for product design, the study states, U.S. manufacturers would be able to develop innovative products that are more economical to produce in the United States.

The complete text of the study, "Improved Product Design Practices Would Make U.S. Manufacturing More Cost Effective: A Case to Consider Before Outsourcing to China," coauthored by Nicholas P. Dewhurst and David G. Meeker, is available at

One of the more provocative conclusions of the study is that it can be more advantageous for U.S. manufacturers to lower costs by redesigning products than by outsourcing production to other countries such as China. In many instances, the study shows, redesigning a product and manufacturing it in the United States is a better option for saving money.

To support this idea, the authors identify two principles of design best practices that many U.S. manufacturing companies overlook when making outsourcing decisions:
  • It is possible to redesign products to reduce part count and cost. As an illustration, the study features an in-depth, quantitative analysis showing how the redesign of an electric drill would eliminate the cost advantage of offshore manufacturing and justify a decision not to outsource production.
  • It is necessary to account for all the additional costs associated with offshore manufacturing and to apply those additional costs to the product. The study warns that companies may not be accounting for the full costs of outsourcing when they consider sending production overseas to countries with very low labor rates such as China. The authors identify a number of hidden costs, including shipping and logistics, that can add an estimated 24 percent to labor and material costs at the offshore location.
  • The study demonstrates that if companies consider the potential for design improvement along with a realistic estimate of the full costs of outsourcing, it often makes more sense to manufacture products in the United States.

    "We know, from years of consulting with design engineers, that U.S. manufacturers have very little visibility into what their products should cost to make," said coauthor Nicholas Dewhurst, executive vice president of Boothroyd Dewhurst, Inc. "Companies historically do a poor job of integrating cost analysis into early product design. Many companies now rushing to outsource manufacturing still do not understand that the design of the product determines the final cost.

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    -- Jeff Rowe, Contributing Editor.

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