department plays a vital role in ensuring your production runs smoothly. These
five tips will help you improve the efficiencies of your design engineers and
Let’s face it, most if not all CAD engineering teams are ALWAYS under a deadline. As an engineer, you are constantly watching the clock and responding to change requests. This pressure can lead many people to rush through projects, often missing the finer details or making mistakes along the way. If you slow down and allow take time to make it right from the start, you will realize that your work actually gets completed faster.
“I was once tasked
with building some fairly complicated medical cabinets, a project that took
many hours to engineer. My average for one cabinet was 16-hours.” Says Adam Dirig, Owner of Dirig Design.
“I started off with
bad drawings from the architect, which meant that my cabinet programming was
sloppy and rushed. I didn’t take the time to add the machining for the hardware
during my engineering process. This usually resulted in manual machining in the
shop. This was very inefficient and the chance for error was high.”
“I was determined to resolve the problem and
improve our process. So, I took the time needed to engineer the entire medical
cabinet product line properly. This meant I needed to include all the machining
for hardware and create a detailed step-by-step manufacturing process, complete
with assembly drawings. This saved significant time in production and cut my
engineering time in half.”
“This initial investment of time ended up
saving approximately 75 hours per project, 4,050 hours for the year, and $200,000 in
labor.” concluded Adam.
It’s important for
your CAD engineering team to create a positive relationship with the builders
in the shop, rather than having an “office vs shop” mentality. Consider
bringing your shop team’s opinion into your engineering process. Your
builders can help your engineers design products that are easy to build.
An engineer should always establish the
initial idea of how products are to be designed but should seek the shop's approval
to ensure that what they’ve designed will flow smoothly through the machining and
assembly process. This helps build a strong relationship between the two
departments and allows a teamwork mentality to grow within the business.
Communication reduces rework struggles and stress. When engineers and
builders work as a team, the mistakes tend to get fixed quickly because they
are looking for a solution rather than spending time determining who made
the mistake or placing blame.
An engineer's job goes
beyond the initial work related to developing a product or maintaining catalogs
or libraries of products. Your job as an engineer is also to help save time
when it comes to the production and manufacturing of the products that you engineer.
One way to determine or measure an efficiency
improvement may be to calculate the specific units or individual tasks related
to accomplishing a task and try to minimize the overall total. So, think about
it – is your CNC operator spending time writing manual programs at your CNC
If so, they could be
wasting valuable time that could be spent in other areas of production. Have
you thought about the total number of applications you have in place to
accomplish your overall goal of getting a project out for delivery?
Far too often, companies we talk to are bogged
down by their process and have accumulated multiple channels to drive their
production. Minimizing your overall touchpoints will drastically improve your
production and allow for more throughput in your operation and engineering.
once said, “The only thing that is worse than training
your employees and having them leave is not training them and having them
stay”. Your engineering team plays a vital role in your overall production.
Allowing your team to get out of touch or stagnate can cause serious problems.
Successful business owners recognize this and invest in their team, seeking out
training opportunities wherever they may exist. Take part in webinars, user
group experiences, factory tours, and education to ensure your team has the
knowledge they need to be successful.
When you invest in your team, it not only
helps them grow their knowledge, it gives them the confidence they need to stay
engaged at work. The more engaged, the more likely they are to grow into
more productive and efficient members of your team.
Once you have your engineering and production
process in place, share it with all departments and personnel. Maintaining an
active Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) will allow you to systematically
evaluate performance goals and identify areas for improvement much quicker.
When onboarding new employees, you will find that they're on-the-job
satisfaction is much higher when they have a documented procedure for success.
A clear and organized engineering process will
not only make it easier to spot mistakes and fix them but it will trickle down
the chain and provide clarity to the builders which will greatly improve