Leveraging on Engineering to Drive Sales and Increase Profitability

autocad mechcanical Moving at the Speed of Business

Use Your Existing Engineering & Design Investment to Make Money & Save Time.

Engineering for some companies can be seen as a cost, requiring resources and energy to engineer, design, research and develop. Using the right tools can reduce design cycles, errors and time and also create better products that will generate more profit but what about using those same tools to generate more business, automating business processes and linking departments thus making the company more money and saving time, which in turn increases profit.

You can always spend more money on new technology like simulation software to make better products that cost less, which will increase profits, invest in data management on document control, workflows and other features or PLM to manage company wide processes, which will save time, reduce errors and eliminate bottlenecks, but if the money isn’t there to invest in new technology, here are some tips to get your Autodesk Product Design Suite making money for you with tools that will allow you to communicate better…

Get Cutting Edge Content On Your Website

  • Photo Realistic Images Content

Inventor has a nice renderer to make still images that you can put on your website, but if your too busy engineering or want something better, Product Design Suite has Showcase where anyone can open 3D CAD data and make stunning photo realistic images.

  • Photo Realistic Animations

Yet again, this can be done in Inventor, but while your engineering, marketing can access Showcase and create animations that will make most websites look ordinary.

This is a nice example of Showcase’s Alternative and Compare Scenes features. The visual setting is set to realistic due to the power of my PC. If Ray Tracing was turned on, the quality would be even better:

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lOFPItCjapc&w=640&h=390]

  • Web Based Product Configurator

Use Inventors iLogic module and link Inventor to the Web. Create a web configurator where customers or salespeople can jump on your website and in real-time  configure there own products and get 3D models, quotes, customised brochures with technical specifications based on the configured product or anything else that would add value.

  • Embed 2D or 3D DWF’s

The Autodesk DWF format will allow you to save 3D models in the DWF format and then you can embed 3D models in your website.

Since WordPress is feature locked, check this link out of sample DWF’s embedded into a Website.

This YouTube Video below demonstrates the Web Configurator & embedding 3D DWF files into your website:

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pi0BtCwZU08&w=640&h=390]

  • Link Showcase to the Web

Showcase can be setup as a Web-kiosk, so what that means is vistors to your website can in real-time view & modify photo-realistic 3D Models and change appearances or configuration types, and see what each variation will look side by side, using the compare scenes.

Common applications Salespeople can access Showcase from their iPads or Tablet PC’s and configure custom products as shown below:

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gArn14DQAuw?feature=player_embedded&w=640&h=360]

Product Configurator – Automate the Quoting, Engineering & Ordering Process

With the power of Inventors iLogic, the company’s databases and/or excel, you can automate the Quoting to Ordering process. If being able to do a quote in an external system to not only produce accurate pricing but also 3D/2D data and technical specifications interests you and then being able to use internal processes to order the quoted product and then automate the engineering data and documentation downstream when ordering would also be of benefit, then start allocating the time and resources, because you have the technology.

Further Applications of the DWF Format

  • Install DWF across your entire company

I.T. can perform a silent installation and have Design Review installed across the entire organisation, so everyone can have the capabilities you have and collaborate and communicate in 2D & 3D.

  • Incorporate 3D Models in Your MS Office Documents

[gickr.com]_b3fb7088-8b4b-eed4-e1fc-8f07b0d6e229You can copy/paste a DWF from Windows Explorer into MS Word, Embed DWF Objects in Excel or Drag & Drop DWF Files into PowerPoint Documents.

This link will go through the steps of embedding DWF in HTML & Office Docs. Another alternative to embedding DWF in HTML is to uplaod teh DWF to Autodesk 360 and copy/paste the embed code too.

  • Mark-Up, Measure & Animations

You can mark-up documents in Design Review with 9 different call outs. It will keep track of the history and you can import other mark-ups too. It has the ability to draw over your document with 10 different drawing options, measure with 7 different tools and use stamps and symbols.

If an animation was created, Design Review will also play the animation.

  • Autodesk 360

Like Design Review for your local machine, Autodesk 360 is a cloud based service with similar functions and available on any web enabled device. You can send a link to a client, and they can view your 3D DWF’s without a Autodesk 360 account.

Any Autodesk 360 account holder get:

  • 5GB storage
  • Collaborate in real-time, create project groups, invite team members to these groups.
  • Share and organise project data, not just design data
  • You can edit drawings or images
  • Deep searching functionality

Use Inventor ilogic

iLogic is an amazing product considering it comes free with Inventor & Inventor Professional. If you want to save time and turn weeks into days and hours of work into minutes and if you have Inventor but don’t know what iLogic is or are not using it, do yourself a favour and read this.

iLogic is different from other design automation tools where if your design is same but different, it’s good but if you make custom one-offs, design automation tools are not effective. Why ILogic is better and different to other automation tools is that it is more than that. It will automate design processes in 3D modeling, 2D drawings (automation features not available in other offerings), repetitive tasks, link to external applications and databases like Excel & SQL, set triggers, display prompts, produce forms, retrieve data, adhere to design standards, automatically save documents in other format,  and so on, all in one package. The article hyperlinked in the above paragraph goes into more detail.

Users of iLogic can save up to 50% in design times and other day to day engineering tasks like data entry. If it only saved 10% of time using iLogic and the cost of design to the company is $100k per year, that’s $10k the company is saving annually. Multiply that with a number of users and realistic time saving figures and we’re talking substantial OPEX savings.

There are many reasons to implement these technologies.

If business is slow and the work isn’t there, implementing these technologies now could improve the businesses bottom line, keep you in work and give people another reason to say your invaluable to the company.

If you need to stay ahead of the competition by providing better quality, streamlined communication and user experience, that makes your ordering process easy for a client, these ideas above can help achieve that goal.

If 10% saving in time or a 10% increase in profitability is worth considering, the options above can provide that if not double or triple your productivity and profitability in some circumstances.

If you want to learn more on how you can not only transform your engineering but the way you do business using Autodesk Inventor, feel free to email me at djovica@redstack.com.au, call me +61 3 9210 4428 or Skype damien.jovica