As more companies are moving to agile design, CAD users are working faster with powerful new tools (including real-time deployment and real-time data management). But what about the managers who are responsible for keeping design projects on time and on budget?

What about the engineering manager, the VP of R&D, or even the C-level executives? What I’m hearing from them is that they currently have no way to see what their design teams are doing in real time.

Tarun Tejpal, a product manager and strategist with experience across multiple industries (automotive, aerospace, defense, energy and industrial equipment among them), puts it this way:

“Executives or managers have never been able to get a real-time 3D view of the full product assembly on their laptops for them to monitor engineering, design and manufacturing progress while on the go or in project meetings.

Thus, they have to wait weeks for someone to supply a report which is already out of date by the time it is delivered.

This results in a lot of guess work in estimating product release schedules, making budgetary decisions, estimating resource allocation and forecasting leading to large variances on corporate profits.”

Indeed, when your company is banking on the success of a new product launch, who wants to depend on guesses?

Now that Onshape offers new tools for managing the design process, there’s no need to rely on wishful thinking. One CEO recently told me that he loves to grab his iPhone and see exactly what his team is doing in real-time at any moment. You can do this on any phone or tablet (iOS or Android) as well.

Executives can not only get an immediate progress update from their employees, but also monitor the activities of their contractors and vendors, too. Looking at Onshape’s complete Edit History, managers can see every change to the model (adding a fillet, moving an assembly, deleting a part, etc.) and know who made which edit and when.

Onshape design of a throttle body with complete history

Onshape is the only CAD system in the world with a complete history of each transaction, making every member of a design team more accountable and aware of their colleagues’ contributions. The Edit History also allows you to view or restore your model to any prior stage or version of the design. This saves a tremendous amount of time when comparing design iterations and makes it easier and faster to recover from mistakes.

COMING SOON: More Advanced Analytics & Controls

Every Onshape user already can tightly control team activity and help protect their IP by setting, changing or revoking an individual’s access permissions at any time:

With traditional file-based CAD, once you send a vendor or partner a copy of your model, you have no idea what happens to it after the project is over. Onshape has no copies or files. Your CAD system and CAD data lives in only one place in the cloud and you can “call back” your IP whenever you like.

For larger companies and organizations, Onshape’s Enterprise Plan will soon offer the ability to set company-wide policies for access control based on roles (“Administrator,” “Engineer,” “Vendor,” etc.).

For example, a project manager might set a rule that anyone assigned to the role of Designer can edit a model, but they cannot export or share anything. That’s added security and control over the design process. If the manager knows that the team can’t share a model outside the company, that ensures the project won’t go out to bid without prior authorization.

That manager might set up another rule that whenever a model meets his approval, the design team automatically gets permission to export. No need for the team to ask for permission – it just happens in real time.

Another company-wide policy might require every design team member to use two-factor authentication (2FA) when they sign into their account. Right now, individual Onshape users have the choice to use 2FA as an extra security precaution or not, but the Enterprise Plan will allow companies to mandate it.

Similarly, the Enterprise Plan will soon provide more detailed and expansive analytics for companies that have more complex needs. This will include chart-based analytics on CAD activity by project, by person, and for the first time, you can get a real-time aggregate feed of updates across all your design teams and all your projects: