Materialise Releases Magics 9.5 For Rapid Prototyping

In the search for competitive advantage, a well-trained and flexible workforce can adapt quickly and easily to new opportunities. Working within a structure that is clearly aligned with corporate strategy, companies can drive revenues up, keep costs down, and clearly differentiate themselves in the marketplace.

Karen Bowman, president of Employee Care at Convergys said, "Aligning the workforce to business objectives is clearly top of mind among executives today. Convergys provides globally integrated HR solutions that help clients gain visibility into the trends and profiles of their workforce. This critical HR intelligence helps them accurately plan business initiatives and maximize their return on human capital investments."

Conducted between March and August 2004, Convergys' Workforce Agility Study consisted of two parts:
  • In-person interviews with C-level and top human resources executives at U.S. and European companies in a wide range of industries. Each of these industry leaders is a Fortune Most Admired Company and was selected based on its reputation for using human capital and its overall financial performance. The survey, conducted by Saratoga /PricewaterhouseCoopers and the University of Michigan School of Business and Education Professor Richard W. Beatty, sought to determine best practices in workforce agility and alignment.
  • Telephone interviews of HR, operations, and finance executives at some 300 companies in the US and Europe. Each of the companies reports more than $1 billion in annual revenue and most have more than 13,000 employees worldwide. Respondents have responsibility for setting or executing workforce strategy; roughly 40% were HR executives; 30% were operations executives; 30% were finance executives. The survey sought to determine the degree to which these companies had adopted the best practices identified in the first part of the study.
As telling as the results of this study are for somewhat generic businesses, a study that focused on specific and overall aspects of product development would be an even more interesting undertaking, especially from an operations point of view. Interesting because I would venture to guess that in companies that perform product design/engineering/manufacturing, the productivity gains would be shown to be more real and not as exaggerated as was shown by this study. So many companies that create products are doing a lot more with less out of sheer necessity to survive and compete - from the design workstation to the factory floor. As a specific example, the huge automotive supplier, Delphi, is employing a couple of home-grown methods (although it now also licenses them), known as Horizontal Modeling (HM) and Digital Process Design (DPD). When combined, these methods directly tie associative product and process design into a cohesive and comprehensive system that is standardized and flexible. These methods have led to significant (and quantifiable) gains in product quality and time to market, while resulting in significant reductions in time and material waste. The success at Delphi is but one of an increasing number of successes that are being realized by other product manufacturers having to deal with an ever-increasing competitive environment.

Jeffrey Rowe is the editor and publisher of MCADCafé and MCAD Weekly Review. He can be reached here or 408.850.9230.

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