You CAD! Strategic Considerations for Multi-CAD versus Standardization


A quick peek into some more research on … standardizing CAD solutions, starting with a strategy to determine if you should standardize in the first place. Tech-Clarity Issue in Focus: CAD Standardization Strategies discusses considerations for operating in a multi-CAD environment versus standardizing on a single solution. My recent post Consolidating CAD – Strategic Advantages at Reduced Cost may have put the cart before the horse because it discussed the benefits of homogenizing CAD solutions across the enterprise before posing a simple question: “Should you consolidate?” Or another, critically important question: “Can you consolidate?” The paper is intended to help companies develop a “CAD Standardization Strategy” based on a thorough understanding of the business drivers, constraints, and tradeoffs impacting their decision. The previous paper can then provide more detail on the benefits of standardizing (including a financial model).

The Research Findings

The first part of the paper focuses on business drivers impacting the CAD strategy. The paper offers a list of business drivers that impact CAD decisions. These factors include impacts on:

  • Direct cost
  • Internal Efficiency
  • Supply Chain Efficiency
  • Customer Requirements
  • Corporate Flexibility

 A large portion of the report is composed of a table of business drivers that can serve as a starting point for a company to evaluate the drivers to their own business. The next part of the report is about making tradeoffs. Few companies will have come up with a clear answer for standardization or for maintaining a multi-CAD environment. In fact, some companies may choose multi-CAD, as you will see from this discussion thread on Oleg’s Beyond PLM post CAD Strategies: Diversified or Unified?. The tradeoffs include:

  • Savings from consolidation versus the cost of change
  • Internal efficiency versus supply chain efficiency
  • Internal and supply chain efficiency versus customer requirements 

There is another table that details some of these tradeoffs, although there may be additional tradeoffs for any particularly company scenario. Please see the paper for more detail and to read the recommendations.

Implications for Manufacturers

I hope this report servers as a starting point to an informed decision on CAD deployment. Every business is different in some way, so the tables may not be comprehensive for your particular company or supply chain. The most important thing to keep in mind, of course, is  to develop the CAD strategy based on the business strategy.

So that was a quick peek into some recent research on developing a CAD standardization strategy, I hope you found it interesting. Does the research reflect your experiences? Do you see it differently? Let us know what it looks like from your perspective. Please feel free to review more free research and white papers about PLM and other enterprise software for manufacturers from Tech-Clarity.