Transitioning to a different work process in an organization can be a tall task. Navigating through procurement, convincing higher-ups that a change is necessary and getting the whole team on board requires nothing short of a heroic effort.
During an Onshape Live ’22 session, panelists discussed the strategies they used when it came to implementing Onshape, the only cloud-native CAD product development platform, at their organization. The panelists are:
Julian Leland Bell, R&D Manager, Advanced Technology Group (ATG) Rapid Prototyping Laboratory, UPS
Romeo Graham, Technology Directory Strategic Planning, Jabil Packaging Solutions
Josh Bitner, Project Manager, Premier Custom-Built Cabinetry
Elias Gallegos, Lead Control Systems Engineer, Questum Mobility
If you’re ready to set out on this journey, here’s some advice on what you can do to overcome organizational obstacles.
1. Learn About the Process
R&D Manager Julian Leland Bell at UPS’ ATG Rapid Prototyping Laboratory was one of Onshape’s first adopters in 2015 as a personal user.
When he first set out to implement Onshape at the ATG laboratory, which looks at new technologies that can help modernize UPS’ operations, his first challenge was explaining to the leaders of a 500,000-person company why his smaller team needed a new cloud-native CAD platform.
“One of the most valuable things I did was identified people within the organization at UPS who had done this for either similar SaaS products or for CAD products in the past … and got their guidance early on,” Bell said.
With that shared knowledge, he was able to find out what the procurement process looked like to circumvent easier steps, like purchasing products with smaller price tags, and put more energy into more difficult areas, like IT compliance.
Tallying up the total cost of ownership can help leadership make a decision.
2. Lean on Onshape’s Sales Team
For Romeo Graham, the biggest hurdle was navigating through Jabil’s acquisition from a startup company. Jabil makes sustainable packaging to help reduce the use of plastic and acquired Graham’s team a few years ago.
As a startup, Graham and his team used Onshape and wanted to continue using the cloud-native CAD platform.
To ensure continued use, Graham tapped the Onshape sales team to build a case. With their help, he was able to show value and seamlessly transition to Jabil.
Bell also leaned on Onshape’s sales team to back him up.
“My sales contact is the reason why there's Onshape at UPS today,” he said. “He helped me negotiate agreements between both sides.”
“The sales team were absolutely essential.”
3. Answer the Right Questions
Lead Control Systems Engineer Elias Gallegos built a total cost of ownership evaluation that addressed the concerns of Questum Mobility leadership.
Questum, which works in the conversion of diesel trucks to electric vehicles, began using Onshape in 2021.
As the company grew, Gallegos and his team knew they had to look for a new CAD solution that would scale with that growth. Because Onshape is cloud-native, cost considerations were vastly different from other CAD systems.
“‘How much does it cost?’” Gallegos said. “That’s such a simple question, but there are so many more things in the background.”
His team then looked into the costs of classic CAD systems to tally up the true cost compared to Onshape.
“I encourage anybody who is trying to recommend any system to compare other systems,” Gallegos said. “That way, you give also your top leaders good information so that they can also be sure about the decision that they make.”
4. Start with Incremental Changes
The transition to 3D CAD was not easy at Premier Custom-Built Cabinetry, Project Manager Josh Bitner said, because the company is located in the Pennslyvania Dutch area and embodies its culture of traditional workflows.
“There's definitely a deep heritage, a deep root of product and mastering of skill,” he said. “And change is not easy.”
“We were able to produce projects with the small team to a capability where the rest of the team actually recognized, ‘Oh wow, here's a new system that can do so much more,’” Bitner said. And slowly, they were all brought on.
Premier Custom-Built Cabinetry works with high-end interior designers, architects and kitchen designers nationwide to bring projects to life for their clients.
Testing out new software with a smaller team can cause a positive domino effect companywide.
5. Develop Learning Resources
Learning a new CAD system can be frustrating for designers who are used to their own workflows.
In the case of Premier Custom-Built, the company also had to transition away from 2D CAD and embrace the capabilities of 3D CAD.
To do that, the smaller team that started to use Onshape held weekly training sessions to learn how about the platform. They in turn created a custom training regimen for the rest of the team.
“A recent thing that we have done is create a newsletter,” Bitner said, which includes, “little tips and tricks…and any new feature updates and things that Onshape introduces or we might introduce internally.”
Additionally, Onshape offers bootcamp training for new users and updated content in the Learning Center. The team at Jabil, including program managers and others who wouldn’t typically use cloud-native CAD, took advantage of the bootcamp training to understand how to use Onshape in their workflows.
Bell also offered some sound advice on training.
“When working with users who are not experienced 3D CAD users but want to build out the skill set, it is the value of helping them find a well-contained, tractable project to work on that will show real results,” he said. That way, they can apply new lessons to real work scenarios.
6. Just Start
Sometimes the hardest part is starting. But if you see the benefits, it’s well worth the effort.
“[Onshape] makes sense economically. It's just so easy. You don't go into IT costs. You don't go into licensing costs,” Gallegos said. “You know, all those things, forget about it. Onshape is just going to be easier. It's going to be more economic. You'll see.
Hear more from the panel as they discuss different tactics to teach teams how to best use Onshape and how to address concerns from leadership. The Onshape Live '22 session, Introducing Onshape into Your Organization, is available on-demand.