Solving Communication Breakdown – Part One: Integration

By Tracy Wettig on

“This is how we’ve always done it.”

Your current process might have helped define your success years ago, but is it honestly still relevant in today’s global and more technology-empowered competitive landscape? How much time and effort could you save by taking a fresh look at something as simple as communication between your product development teams? A lot, as it turns out!

One common drain on efficiency is software assets that require constant rework as project files are handed off between departments. Five minutes spent re-working one file sounds reasonable, but adding up these five minutes across a full project’s worth of data being exchanged through multiple departments can be a staggering number of working hours spent on repetitive work. Your teams are spending more time fighting the tools you acquired for them than utilizing them, which leaves no time for innovation.

Hazards of Using Different Software Platforms

Going from an idea to a finalized product can be complicated as it often requires cross-functional communication and collaboration between different teams. When a large number of people are involved, there can be room for miscommunication. However, things can get even more complicated if every team is using software tools that don’t directly talk to each other.

MiscommunicationWhen projects are managed without a unified platform, each step requires unique software with specific requirements and trained personnel. There is nothing inherently wrong with that, and the software may be perfect for that one specific stage of the product. It’s when you try and share that information, which ends up being imported and exported from one software to the other, that opens up room for all kinds of data integrity issues. If something changes in one system, the data needs to be translated and transitioned down the line and some departments need to start the process all over again. With so many versions floating around, there’s no central source of truth for the design. With traditional disparate design systems, there’s a waste of money, efforts and time.

SOLIDWORKS Unified Design to Manufacturing Solutions

Cross-functional communication is vital for the success of any project. Imagine a scenario where your technical publications group could create content concurrently to mechanical designers and not have to wait for 100% completion. Wouldn’t this be great? In a unified platform, such as SOLIDWORKS, mechanical design updates (made in SOLIDWORKS CAD) can be seamlessly pushed to tech pubs (who use SOLIDWORKS Composer). With the simple “update” functionality, their current work has the latest changes completely incorporated. Data management tools, such as SOLIDWORKS PDM, ensure that all changes are approved before being passed along.

ERP Integration engineering

Each SOLIDWORKS product has been designed to help your team maintain smooth communication through each stage of your project without losing track of your model’s information. File integrity is maintained as it transfers ownership between your employees on the floor and out in the field. SOLIDWORKS has designed its product portfolio to encourage parallel processes and timelines specifically to reduce cost and time inherent to product development.

SOLIDWORKS Customer Success 

Camelbak Products, LLC has been creating innovative ways to stay hydrated since 1988 and is the leading hydration brand today. The company’s hard goods group has been focusing on products that can replace plastic disposable water bottles. With SOLIDWORKS 3D CAD, SOLIDWORKS Simulation and SOLIDWORKS PDM, Camelbak has been able to manage its increasing volume of design, engineering and manufacturing data associated with its products.

“SOLIDWORKS saves us time and money because we can iterate quickly on a design, helping us to shorten time-to-market, meet firm deadlines and ensure product durability and performance,” said Jeff Davies, Principal Engineer at Camelbak.

Camelbak Product Design in SOLIDWORKSBy choosing SOLIDWORKS, CamelBak grew its product offering to filtered, bottled and military hydration, innovated the first BPA-free plastic water bottle, supported its lifetime “GOT YOUR BAK” product guarantee and created prototypes 10 to 20 times faster.

>> Download the full Camelbak case study here

With SOLIDWORKS design to manufacturing solutions, the process becomes efficient and collaborative. Mechanical and electrical engineers, tooling designers and CAM programmers, quality engineers and inspection technicians and outside vendors can work in one seamlessly integrated and managed environment. Have confidence in being adaptively agile when your client makes a last-minute decision or your team discovers a breakthrough in design mid-timeline to make an even more innovative product. Long gone are the days where you must weigh the impact of abandoning or delaying innovation because your employees won’t have enough time.

If you’re interested in learning more about how to improve cross-functional communication, especially between electrical and mechanical teams, download our white paper, 9 Rules for Cooperative Electrical and Mechanical Product Design.