(The following is an excerpt of “The Design Gridlock Manifesto,” Onshape’s eBook exploring the numerous ways how old file-based CAD technology forces the design and manufacturing process to a complete halt – and sometimes even pushes it backwards.)

Famed consumer advocate Ralph Nader used to joke that whenever he wanted to listen to soothing classical music, he’d call his favorite airline. The chance of being put on hold – and staying there – was a sure bet.

The airlines are hardly the only business that has struggled with delivering prompt customer service. Historically, the CAD industry has had a horrific reputation for ignoring customers when they file bug reports or enhancement requests. Radio silence is usually the norm. As for talking directly with your CAD vendor? Good luck. In many cases, you need to go through a middleman, your Value Added Reseller (VAR).

My colleague Lou Gallo, a name that should be familiar to anyone who’s visited the Onshape Forums, used to be an engineer working on robotics control and automation systems. He relied on CADKEY, AutoCAD and Pro/ENGINEER for his design work and later worked as a consultant and support professional for SOLIDWORKS.

In painstaking detail, Lou reflects on his frustration as an old CAD customer in this blog, noting that some of his feature requests took years to implement – and other times he never even received an acknowledgement. It’s no surprise that he began to think of his CAD vendor’s support team as “the Black Hole of Enhancement Requests.”

Companies should shudder at the idea of making this kind of impression.

Tired of Feeling Ignored?

Onshape has a built-in Feedback tool that puts you in direct contact with Onshape Support. When you send in a request, you get emailed an immediate acknowledgement of receipt and can track the status of your ticket anytime.

Many Onshape customers report having their issues resolved within days or even hours. Furthermore, the same CAD collaboration tools that help Onshape users better communicate with their external partners can also be used by engineers communicating with Onshape Support. Customers who choose to share their models with tech support usually achieve even faster results!

Here’s a closer look at two Onshape customers who have noticed a dramatic improvement in tech support since switching to modern CAD...

How Companies Are Benefiting From Responsive Tech Support

Heuresis designs its portable X-Ray equipment in Onshape.

Based in Newton, Massachusetts, Heuresis makes handheld X-Ray imaging devices that allow law enforcement to more easily find illegal drugs, weapons and contraband in hidden compartments inside buildings, furniture, appliances, vehicles, luggage and other objects. The equipment allows police to detect and search hidden compartments without having to destroy property.

“Onshape’s customer support team has been really responsive,” says Heuresis mechanical engineer Howard Kellogg. “Our requests have gone into two buckets. There have been bugs or questions like, ‘Wait, is this supposed to work this way?’ And they've been very quick to either say, ‘Yeah, we're working on this,’ or ‘No, you're just doing it wrong. This is actually the way it's supposed to work.’ They’ve been really helpful.”

“I also like that we’ve been invited to participate in some of Onshape’s early visibility testing. Our engineers are able to give them input into new functionalities being developed,” he adds.

“When we were dealing with SOLIDWORKS, there was no way for the customers to talk directly to the company. You had to go through your VAR. I could give input, but everything was filtered through them. So I felt there wasn’t an easy way to let the company know about things I wanted to see. And even if I could, it’s such as giant ecosystem that I felt my voice was going to be drowned out,” Kellogg says.

“Onshape Support usually gets back to me within the same day or the next day,” he says. “It’s such a huge difference.”

Silverside Detectors designs its nuclear radiation detection equipment in Onshape.

Based in Cambridge, Massachusetts, Silverside Detectors develops more affordable nuclear radiation detection technology to protect cities from the threat of nuclear terrorism. Silverside makes neutron detectors that can fit in a backpack, an electrical utility box, the back of an SUV, or small trailer. They can be permanently installed or quickly moved to an area/event that’s a high-risk target (i.e. Olympics, Super Bowl or Presidential visit).

“Whenever I contact Onshape Support, I rarely wait even two hours for a response,” says Silverside engineer Philip Taber. “And everyone is really knowledgeable about the product. I recently asked if they could create a feature that would let me offset an extrusion from a center plane and then have it extrude back to a face. Lou got back to me right away and said, ‘actually, you can already do that!’”

“Not everything gets resolved immediately, but you can always track the status of your requests,” he adds. “When I was at my previous company and using another CAD system, we didn’t have contact with our reseller. Onshape is so much more responsive.”

“I wouldn’t want to go back to my old CAD system, not by a longshot,” says Taber. “Onshape is like driving on this beautifully new road that’s all nice and smooth. Occasionally, you have to avoid a pothole for something (a feature) that doesn’t exist yet, a little rough patch. But it’s so much better.”

Overcome Design Gridlock – Get the eBook

In “The Design Gridlock Manifesto,” you’ll read the most frustrating product development experiences of 15 companies and how they dealt with seemingly unavoidable delays in their design and manufacturing process.

If you’ve read this far, you won’t be surprised to learn that the common denominator for conquering gridlock is Onshape, the only modern CAD system that combines advanced modeling tools and design data management in a secure cloud workspace.

So now that you know that there’s a fast track to modernizing your company’s workflows, what are you waiting for? Get your free copy of “The Design Gridlock Manifesto” today!