One of the challenges in today’s market is that people are becoming more specialized with their skills and knowledge. In many cases, an engineer won’t know which motor to spec, but will talk about their application and ask the motor expert to spec it for them. If you’re building a manufacturing station and need sensors, you don’t need to be a sensor expert. After going over the design, a specialist can choose the best components.

One of the most efficient ways to speed up this process is using your 3D model as a visual aid so the specialists quickly understand your application, its design constraints, and what you are aiming to accomplish. Onshape is the perfect communication tool for this scenario. With a simple mouse click, you can share a view-only model with your supplier, along with a few comments in the Document explaining what you’re looking for. Get on the phone and you both have a common reference point to launch your discussion.

Remember, your supplier does not need an Onshape Professional subscription to view, comment and export shared CAD models (once you grant them permission to do so). If it is their first time using Onshape, they’ll be prompted to set up a free account for instant access to your projects.

Communicating with your supplier using traditional file-based CAD is usually a more cumbersome and time-consuming process. If you and your supplier don’t have the same version of the same CAD system, you won’t be able to open each other’s files. If you send CAD files by email, you may have to deal with annoying email attachment limits.

And there’s the more troubling issue of CAD security: Every time you send a copy of a file, you have no control over what happens to it once it is “out in the wild.” Even if your partner has no malicious intentions, a copy of your IP now lives on their server and may be vulnerable. Can you be absolutely sure that they’ve deleted it?

The beauty of Onshape is that there is only one master copy of your work living in the cloud. There are no other copies floating around. You can always be confident that the model you and your suppliers are looking at is the latest version. And if you decide that your supplier no longer needs access to a project, you can instantly change their permissions and pull your model back. This feature is particularly valuable when you are sharing a project with multiple vendors for a price quote.

Furthermore, it’s not only 3D CAD that helps you better engage with your partners and leverage their expertise. Because Onshape Documents are project-level containers that can also store supplemental engineering information – such as product videos, PDFs, Material Safety Data Sheets, test reports, etc. – you can have better-informed, more detailed conversations about your products.

All your critical project information is in one convenient place. Why make your supplier (or yourself) search for it?

Onshape is Modern and Affordable CAD

Because the cost of traditional desktop-installed CAD has been prohibitive ($5,000+ for a license and $1,295+ in annual maintenance fees), it’s understandable why 3D tools have been out of reach for most professionals outside the core product design team.

However, the affordability of Onshape ($125/month billed annually) allows companies to take advantage of full-cloud CAD throughout their organizations. Beyond improving communication with suppliers, here are some other ways that Onshape can improve the way you do business:

  1. Speeding Up Jig & Fixture Design – Although 3D CAD is an essential tool for product design, it has seldom been used to create jigs and fixtures because of the traditionally high cost. But with browser-based Onshape, manufacturing engineers can now design jigs and fixtures on a tablet at their workstations – instead of tripping over each other on the shop floor to use the one computer installed with CAD.

  2. Accelerating Sales Results – Engineers teamed with sales reps can make requested design changes on the spot as impressed prospects follow along on their phones. In addition, Onshape Documents can efficiently aggregate 3D design information with existing customer data for better sales intelligence.

  3. Enriching Customer Engagement & Support – Using Follow Mode and Onshape Comments, you can visually communicate with customers from within your design models and better respond to their needs.

  4. Enhancing Marketing Collateral – The constant need for quality product images shouldn’t be the engineering department’s burden. 3D models and rendered images make press releases, trade show banners and other promotional materials shine.

  5. Improving Accuracy in Order Fulfillment & Inventory Management – Warehouse workers can quickly verify the contents of shipments by matching 3D models to their corresponding parts – all with the click of a hyperlink. Every Onshape Document, Part Studio, Assembly, Drawing, and Version has its own unique URL address that can be pasted into any database.

Interesting in learning more? You can fully explore each of the above strategies in the eBook, “Extending CAD’s Business Value Beyond Core Design.” Download your free copy today!

Extending CAD's Business Value Beyond Core Design
Learn 6 ways how full-cloud CAD can accelerate success companywide