As products become more sophisticated and complex, so does the product development process. This increase in complexity requires better planning and more resources to be thrown at each project in order to get products to market on time and ahead of the competition. To compound matters, modern design teams are rarely housed under the same roof and are unable to focus on just one or two projects. They’re being pulled in all directions while still being expected to deliver against lofty goals that have been set based on best-guess estimates. For managers, keeping track of what is being worked on and by whom and checking that everything is still going according to plan is an impossible task. This can lead to missed deadlines, cost overruns, stressed engineers and lost business.

Meetings and design reviews are the only way executives and project managers are able to keep track of their teams’ activities and progress. However, these meetings take time and effort, are difficult to organize, and in many cases, deliver no actionable goals. Timing is critical: review a design too early and there will be insufficient information, review it too late and the design may already be finalized and any additional changes could affect budgets and deadlines.

Scheduling a design review days or weeks in advance may either put too much pressure on the team to reach a specific milestone in the design or leave them kicking their heels because they finished ahead of time and can’t proceed until they’ve got approval. So how do you manage your design teams, contractors, suppliers and the many other stakeholders who are involved in a project so that all your available resources are optimized?

Engineers working in a team using file-based CAD and PDM are effectively working on their own.

Why? Because files checked-out of the PDM system are copied locally to their computer hard drive and locked by the PDM system. This prevents other team members from overwriting those files, but it also prevents them from seeing what everyone else is doing and prevents them from working on the same parts of the design at the same time. This leads to a more serial workflow where engineers are waiting on each other and a potential bottleneck is created in the design process.

When an engineer has files checked out, the only way to see what they’re working on or to get a project update is to call a meeting or stand over their shoulder (which is not possible if they don’t work in the same office). Both methods are disruptive and are usually met with irritation. How can any designer answer the question: “Is that going to be finished by tomorrow?” Once the files are checked back in to the vault, a manager can review each engineer’s submission and see what’s been changed and then estimate how much is left to do. Unfortunately, if things aren’t quite where they should be, it may be too late to throw extra resources at it to get the project back on track.

Real-time Reports and Analytics

What if you could get an up-to-the-minute snapshot of what everybody on your team is working on and a detailed status report for each project? Onshape Enterprise was developed for this exact purpose. In addition to professional-grade 3D CAD and comprehensive data management tools, Onshape Enterprise provides detailed project activity feeds, comprehensive audit logs and real-time analytics to give you unprecedented visibility into your design process. Your design teams and other project stakeholders can work together seamlessly and in parallel, and your executives and project managers can make better data-driven business decisions.

These reports enable you to:

  • Manage projects and resources better.
  • Measure team effectiveness and individual contributions.
  • Follow Key Performance Indicators to track project status.
  • Reduce time-wasting design reviews and progress reports.
  • Record time spent on each project.
  • Discover potential bottlenecks or other issues.
  • Ensure project deadlines are met on time.

Onshape Enterprise is the only design platform able to do this, by aggregating all your company’s data over time and presenting it in easy-to-read graphs, tables and charts. For the first time in the history of design software, you have complete visibility into who did what and when, how engineering effort is trending over time, and who is contributing in what ways.

This enables managers and executives to really understand, for the first time, what is actually going on in their team. If a project appears to be behind schedule, you can quickly see where resources are being used and reallocate them accordingly. This level of insight into your design process enables you to be more proactive and address any issues as they arise.

User dashboard showing project activity and modeling times.

This is just a sample of what you can achieve with Onshape Enterprise. If you would like a more in-depth look at these powerful Reporting and Analytics capabilities, join me next Thursday by clicking on the webinar button below. There will be plenty of time for Q&A. Alternatively, if you would prefer a more technical deep-dive into Onshape Enterprise or just want to see it in action, you can request a live demo using this form.