Blog Category: CAD Automation

Create Error-Free CAD Documents for Each Configured Product without CAD Know-How

cad documents

Industrial companies with a highly variable product portfolio know the dilemma: The tailor-made product tailored to the customer’s wishes is configured and the offer could be shipped – if it were not for the CAD data. Without CAD drawings and CAD models, the customer will not accept the offer. Now it is not only good advice that is expensive. This is because the internal processes between sales and engineering to create the required CAD documents cost time, nerves, resources – and, in the worst case, the customer order.

Offering individualized custom solutions is the successful business model of many industrial companies. But success has its price: Because data is individual, it becomes elaborate. How elaborate, illustrated in simple calculation example: 100 screws with 100 matching nuts as well as 100 matching discs result in 1 million ways to combine these. A data scientist isn’t needed to realize that with just a few changeable parameters the number of possible product models scales into nearly infinite possibilities.

Many companies, therefore, rely on structured product kits and product configurators to cope with the increasing demand for individual products and the associated challenges. This duo has proven itself in everyday business and their use is an indispensable success factor with increasing importance. If it weren’t for the CAD documents required for the sales and sales processes, it would simply not be practical to keep and provide full CAD documents for all technically possible product configurations.

Use CAD know-how to create quotations

In order to free the engineering team from time-consuming and error-prone routine activities, tools for design automation are often used. With their help, designers can accelerate manual design processes,  optimize and merge v-granted knowledge into the CAD system used and deploy it for sharing.  But this knowledge is reserved for engineering. Sales are not available because sales representatives usually do not have the CAD expertise or CAD license to use this knowledge to create quotations.

The result: manual, time-consuming sales and quotation processes, as well as the lack of design know-how, lead to the fact that offers from various areas,  such as product development and commercial management, must first be examined. Only after their release can the sales department send them. In an ongoing sales process to gather information from different departments work out technical intricacies to reconcile customer wishes and feasibility, costs time, and the market.

The remedy is provided by a solution that combines the design and configuration. This means a way to create the CAD documents required for quotation creation directly from the configuration solution – based on the product configuration made, error-free, and at the touch of a button. Such a solution is an overarching application that provides all the information relevant to sales and sales, such as  .B. the offered product configuration,  which prepares the offer documents including history and corresponding CAD  documents, prices, and delivery dates, centrally available.

A solution that combines the possibilities and benefits of application-based product configuration and automated CAD data generation offers real added value. Let’s imagine: A machine builder receives the request for a product. The decisive selection criterion is its sustainability (low pollutant,  low resource consumption). How does the internal sales and sales process work, with and without support from an application-based product configurator with integrated automatic generation of CAD documents?

CAD documents for each configured product at the touch of a button

Without support, engineering must first clarify to sales staff how the non-technical requirement “sustainability” can be put into effect constructively.  If the product development gives the “green light”  in the form of the appropriate product variant,  the commercial is clarified in a further  (time-consuming) step: At what price can the product be offered? If the price is too high, not competitive or the proposed product variant is not profitable from a vendor’s point of view, it goes back to engineering. The goal: to find a better solution. And while internally the various areas involved in the sales process are trying to find a satisfactory solution, the sales representative hopes that the customer’s requirements and wishes will not change. Because then it goes back to the start.

In comparison, the sales process in a company that uses a configuration solution that allows sales to create the CAD documents of the configured product at the touch of a button is fully optimized. The solution used is based on so-called constraints. Dependencies and properties, such as. B dependency of the depth of the sink on the screw head height in a hole or the dependence of the sinkhole on the maximum screw head diameter, define the possible solution space for technical valid products. The special feature of constraints is that they can not only represent technical specifications, but also non-technical characteristics such as market or business requirements.

This ability allows the salesperson to compile a  product by describing the expected final result.  The configurator searches the entire solution space and finds the optimal solution. Another great benefit from a configurator is working with constraints: such a solution creates a solution, even from incomplete specifications, such as .B”lowest pollutant emissions”,  a technically valid solution.

With such a solution, sales can try out many different product variants in a short time. Because the product models are linked to the configuration logic, the associated CAD data can be generated at any time.   Since the constraints-based solution ensures that each configuration made is technically valid, the corresponding CAD documents are also error-free. In order to generate the CAD documents,  including common exchange formats such as PDF, STEP, or JPG, sales representatives do not need specific CAD expertise or a CAD license.

For industrial companies with a highly variable product portfolio that require error-free CAD documents for every offering, a CAD automation solution is a real win. They speed up the processes because they can create the CAD documents 100% corresponding to the configured product at the touch of a button. They also reduce their distribution costs and give sales and design teams more time for value-adding activities. And they increase quality by automating manual, error-prone processes.

Learn more in your personalized demo or check out our free CAD automation eBook!

Customization with CAD Automation and CPQ

Product customization is a critical selling point for many manufacturers to attract new prospects and increase the final deal size. Offering custom products is important, but is it possible that customization can take too many resources and in the end cost manufacturers money?  That being said many manufacturers have started looking into CAD automation and CPQ to solve these challenges and create new opportunities.

What is CAD automation and CPQ?

Configure, Price, Quote (CPQ Software) is a sales tool that helps companies produce 100% accurate pricing and quotes for highly configurable products. CPQ helps drive revenue growth by making it simpler, and faster to sell complex products. Improve efficiency with CPQ by automating processes and eliminating errors.  

Computer-Aided Design (CAD) Automation is the use of tools and technology to automate manual, administrative tasks. This adds value by promoting innovation for your engineers while helping your sales team provide accurate product drawings.  

What are common challenges for customization without CAD automation and CPQ?

Generating and providing CAD files early in the sales process for highly customizable eliminates costly errors, ensuring reliability to the customer and promoting trust. But generating CAD files for every product requires costly engineering hours, stalling your sales process, and increasing your cost.

Addressing these challenges

Extending Tacton CPQ capabilities with CAD automation will streamline your sales process. Empower customers, partners, and sales reps to generate accurate 2D and 3D CAD files instantly for product variants – even during the early phases of the buying journey.

Check out how other manufacturers are dealing with automation goals in 2021 in our latest survey

What are some key use cases? 

  • Maximize your CAD investment, by connecting it to configure-to-order work processes
  • Create customer confidence early in the sales process while translating customer requirements into a technically viable product
  • Share a wide range of commonly used CAD file formats, both 2D and 3D, with your customer, sales partner, or other parties that need to verify your configured product’s compatibility

A quick history of manufacturing customization 

In the not-so-distant past manufacturing products were limited offered in a catalog that had a few options that could be mass-produced quickly. If someone wanted to purchase something custom their hopes were usually dashed quickly and replaced with a base model of the product. Without custom demands, manufacturers were able to balance costs quickly and easily.  

Those demands have quickly changed, customers want every product to be custom and they want it fast. Amazon, Nike, and other retailers have made it necessary to create a custom order for almost any product. Manufacturers must find strategies for mass customization while maintaining costs but also creating some control of the customization. With CPQ and CAD Automation it’s possible to do that. Let’s look at how.  

Engineer to Order Manufacturing  

Engineer to Order (ETO) manufacturing is the process of creating a product, or part of a product, that is completely custom with input from customers. ETO has helped breed innovation and collaboration but is also a daunting task that requires a lot of work for your sales and engineering teams.  

ETO requires significant lead time to acquire parts that may not be provided by the manufacturer or the partner selling the product. How companies use their machine configurations can even impact the bottom line when creating custom products. This one-of-a-kind process can become truly cumbersome without some help. Utilizing CPQ and CAD automation can help simplify this process. 

Defining customization  

Simply put, what is custom? It’s a feeling your customers get when they put the product together right in front of their eyes, one feature may be custom to you, but not to them. Your sales team is the first to interact with a prospect, creating a custom experience is important. But overpromising can lead to misconfigurations or products that can’t be made by your engineering team.  

With CPQ it’s easier than ever to provide that feeling without leading to misconfigurations. With the flexibility to customize the product within a given spectrum, can let the customer get a custom, a tailored solution without jeopardizing the functionality.  This can be done without adding every possible variation of the product as part of the configuration.  

With CPQ to gather the requirements and CAD automation to generating the CAD model, the customer will get the feeling of a custom product while it’s controlled by the configuration. The customer feels their needs are met, and you know that you can promise a solution that is possible to manufacture. 

Where to next? 

With customization at an all-time high, it’s important to find solutions that enable you to create customized products, while also not dedicating all your employees’ hours to it. CAD automation and CPQ are two ways to let manufacturers create custom products but with a level of control. Read more on our CAD automation product page or schedule your personalized demo today!

The Basics of CAD Automation for Manufacturers

What is CAD Automation for Manufacturers?

Every manufacturer knows that the race to reinvent how they do business has been ongoing for years. In the past companies have received interest in their products from customers but have ran into a time-consuming issue. Creating detailed CAD drawings and a lengthy back and forth between sales and engineering. Finding solutions to automate these manual, and administrative tasks while speeding up your sales sounds pretty good, doesn’t it? It’s possible with CAD automation. But what is CAD automation for manufacturers 

quick definition of CAD Automation: 

CAD automation is the use of tools and technology to automate manual, administrative tasks. This adds value by promoting innovation for your engineers while helping your sales team provide accurate product drawings.  

What are some common issues without CAD Automation?  

Picture this: you’ve got a new prospect on the phone to discuss your product, the deal is going well, and the prospect chooses your business to manufacture their product. As your sales team gets more in-depth with the customer requirements, they begin the process of going back and forth with your engineering team to figure out what is technically possible. This is where issues tend to arise.  

Creating custom sales quotes with drawings takes a lot of time. Without CAD Automation your sales team can promise something that may not be feasible. This causes a headache for your sales team and sends your engineering team scrambling to provide other options which may not be to the exact specification of the customer. All this is happening while your customer is contemplating what’s taking so long and considering other buying options.  

How can CAD Automation help manufacturers? 

Sell highly configurable manufacturing products with ease and confidence 

Let’s face it, product portfolios are large and with so many options can be confusing to not only your newest sales rep but even your more senior reps. With CAD automation your sales reps are equipped with approval drawings, and visual documentation that supports the final product your customer will buy. This enables quick and accurate product drawings to be done with accuracy and confidence. Giving your newest sales rep the same knowledge as your more experienced reps will enable them to onboard faster, intrigue customers, and ultimately sell products with ease.  

CAD files clarify expectations between you, your customer, and your supply chain, so that you are all better prepared for the production, installation, and commissioning of the product. Generating and providing CAD files early in the sales process eliminates misunderstandings and costly errors, thereby ensuring reliability to the customer and promoting trust. 

Accelerate sales with automation 

Selling manufacturing products can be a long process and finding ways to accelerate the sale can be a key driver of winning deals. With CAD automation preapprovals your sales rep won’t have to worry about costly mistakes because the product logic is accurate. Without these mistakes, it’s possible to avoid delays, returns and discounts. This autonomy or your sales team also enables your engineering team to do more.   

Check out where automation stands in manufacturers 2021 plans in our latest survey results

Enable your engineers to focus on innovation 

Without your engineering team having to be involved in every sales case and administrative tasks they can focus on new product features and development. This can help your company find new ways to sell to new or existing customers.  

Create an exciting and engaging customer experience  

Customers don’t want to wait anymore for the slow back and forth just to produce CAD drawings. They want to see visualizations of their products in their real environments where they will be used. CAD and 3D visualizations work together to ensure a great customer experience. It’s even possible to get more technical with shop drawings, BOMs and analytics.  

How does Tacton CPQ and CAD automation for manufacturers work together? 

Configure, Price, Quote (CPQ) software and CAD automation work together by providing knowledge from your engineering team to your sales without having to go through constant meetings and emails. This happens by codeveloping product logic between your engineers and CPQ with a solver engine. Codifying product logic and validating it with info from CPQ. This enables your sales rep to sell what your engineers can create because it was co-developed with your engineering team. Eliminating guesswork.  Needs-based guided selling meets engineering​ to dynamically generate 3D CAD models based on customer configuration requirements​ This empowers sales reps to generate CAD drawings without help from engineering.

Problem​

Solutions​

Mass customization requires sales engineering in every sales process. Sales cycles are long and cost per quote is spiraling

Provide accurate CAD data for every product configuration proposed to end-customers as fast and easy as possible with CPQ and CAD Automation

Manual handovers lead to a slow and inefficient quotation process that prolongs the sales cycle

Simplify and automate handover processes between customers, sales, engineering, and factory

Sales engineering needs to be involved in every sales case to provide detailed technical drawings to close a sale

Automatically generate reliable technical CAD drawings in real-time without needing CAD skills or CAD software

Misunderstandings and lack of technical product knowledge are leading to invalid quote requests

CAD files align expectations between you, your customer, and your supply chain. The models can be updated with every choice that is made in the sales configurator, bridging the gap between customer requirements and engineering

Lack of single source of product data

CPQ with CAD automation ensures everyone operates on the same data from customer through the factory

An inefficient and error-prone design process that requires too much administrative engineering work 

Automate manual processes and empower engineers to focus on innovation, new products, and value-creating tasks

What are some other benefits of CAD and CPQ?

CAD + CPQ Implementation

  • Fast and easy CAD mappings via point & click with no coding required​
  • Mappings can be validated immediately​
  • Directly connected to CPQ platform to exchange data in the background

Easy to use

  • Simple and context-sensitive UI to speed up navigation ​
  • Integrated help texts to speed up onboarding of new users ​
  • UI matches UI of the host CAD system to ease up orientation

Easy to maintain

  • Clear separation between configuration model and CAD mappings​
  • Easy recognition of already mapped elements​
  • Simply test individual values or a complete configuration

What are some tools Tacton CAD Automation works with? ​

Autodesk Inventor, Solidworks, and PTC Creo

Where to next?  

CAD automation solves problems by standardizing and automating the design process that enables your sales team to move faster, and your engineers more time to focus on innovation. This is work that would directly affect the growth of the business and the bottom-line profit. CAD Automation will reduce costs for your business because it helps reduce common costly mistakes and errors. The automated process assures an even quality of the work performed, no matter how skilled, experienced, or attentive the engineer is, so it will reduce the claims costs as well. 

Just like machines revolutionized the manufacturing industry by automating manual labor, CAD automation will revolutionize your design process by freeing up time for your design engineers and make them reach their full potential. Your business will be more cost-efficient, and more innovative.