Are your design engineers struggling to keep up with the increasing demands of your customers? Is your business being held back by inflexible and outdated product design processes? If so, a scalable design approach could be the answer you’ve been looking for, helping you increase productivity, agility, and product quality, all while reducing costs.
This article provides a detailed but easy-to-understand breakdown of all things scalable design, including a jargon-free definition and the five biggest benefits. By the end, you’ll have all the information you need to implement a scalable design system in your business and start scaling your profitability.
Here’s what we cover:
- How is it scalable?
- How can you implement modular design principles in your business?
- How is it scalable?
- How can you implement design automation in your business?
What is Scalable Design?
A “scalable design” approach focuses on creating products that can be adapted and expanded as the needs of your customers or business shift and evolve. It makes modifying, customizing, updating, and improving products easier. You can integrate your product design cycle with other software systems (like configure, price, and quote software) and processes (like CNC or additive manufacturing (3D printing)) to help drive end-to-end automation.
Scalable design is a fast and adaptable approach, unlike traditional batch production and mass production methods. It leads to creating higher-quality and more innovative products and enables your design and engineering team to configure products to each customer’s unique requirements. This flexibility helps drive customer satisfaction and retention, making you more competitive in crowded markets.
Modular design and automation are vital to increasing your design cycle’s scalability. Let’s take a look at these approaches in more detail…
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Are you ready to join a huge community of like-minded designers and engineers?
KETIV Virtual Academy comes at you every Thursday with the latest in design and manufacturing technology. Learn what’s new in software, get technical tips and training, and engage with experts who use this stuff every day.
What Is Modular Design?
“Modular design” is a design principle that involves breaking products down into multiple components (or modules) that can be combined and assembled to produce many different finished products. Think of a car. Each new model has improved features but shares most of its parts with the previous model. This approach is far more efficient and scalable than starting from scratch every time with each new feature.
Modular design enables manufacturers to create more customizable products and cater to the requirements of different customers. Design engineers can improve products by tweaking each individual component rather than reinventing the wheel every time. And because modules can be isolated and tested independently, diagnosing and fixing issues is relatively painless.
Overall, modular design makes manufacturers flexible and amenable to the needs of their customers. They can launch new and improved products more quickly and boost efficiency and productivity across their design and engineering teams.
How to Implement Modular Design in Your Business
Computer-aided design (CAD) software like AutoCAD enables design engineers to create 3D models of individual components or modules. They can then use product data management (PDM) programs and product lifecycle management (PLM) tools to manage and track these various components and coordinate the work of designers and engineers in assembling them into finished products.
What is Design Automation?
Design automation is the use of computer software and algorithms to perform design tasks traditionally done by a human designer or engineer. Design automation software captures your company’s engineering knowledge, stores it as code, and reuses it to create detailed CAD files, BOMs, instructions, and other documents for the shop floor.
Design automation improves the accuracy and consistency of the design process and accelerates design cycle speed and output. Instead of applying theories, concepts, and techniques to every design, design engineers can program this information into CAD once and move on to more meaningful tasks.
How to Implement Design Automation in Your Business
With the help of a company like KETIV, manufacturers can identify design tasks ripe for automation. The aim is to automate the cycle of digital product design end-to-end, but some companies will still require a human touch. So long as we can automate 80%+ of the work, that’s OK.
Using the appropriate CAD software, we create algorithms to support automation and establish protocols and processes for integrating design tasks into the overall design workflow. We then integrate the design workflow with sales processes and production equipment to maximize scalability, efficiency, and cost savings.
What Are the 5 Benefits of Scalable Design?
These are the five main reasons manufacturers should adopt a scalable solution
1. Increased Efficiency
Scalable design principles like modular design maximize reuse and minimize rework, enabling designers and engineers to get more done without increasing their workload. Meanwhile, design automation eliminates all the time-consuming, repetitive work that slows engineers down and fuels frustration.
2. Improved Customer Satisfaction
Today’s buyers want to configure products to their requirements. But most manufacturers don’t have the systems and tools in place to make product customization profitable. Scalable design makes custom engineering painless, allowing manufacturers to provide more product options and a better user experience. Letting customers “Have it your way!” increases satisfaction and retention.
3. Reduced cost
Design automation reduces manual work such as drafting, supervision, quality assurance, and other checks and balances. This is all work carried out by humans that take time off and (quite rightly) demand payment. The more work done by computer, the lower your costs, and the easier it is to reassign humans to more meaningful endeavors.
4. Greater agility
As the manufacturing industry becomes more complex (higher costs, global competition, labor shortage, etc.) and customer demands increase, manufacturers need the flexibility to roll with the punches and the agility to make lightning-fast design decisions in the face of disruptive forces.
Scalable design makes you highly adaptable. You can scale production up and down without increasing or decreasing the size of your workforce and modify products in line with changing markets and buyer behavior.
5. More innovation
Scalable design frees up the time and resources designers and engineers require to focus on more creative and strategic work. They can spend more time exploring new ideas, testing new concepts, refining their designs, and developing more advanced and innovative products.
By speeding up design and development, automation allows for rapid iteration, enabling engineers and designers to develop new products and approaches more quickly. They can integrate other technologies like simulation into their workflow to test designs virtually under thousands of different scenarios and conditions, launching new products faster.
Scalable design is an approach that focuses on creating products that can be adapted and expanded as customer or business needs change. This approach is faster and more adaptable than traditional system design and production methods, leading to higher quality and more innovative products.
Modular design and design automation are crucial to increasing the scalability of the design cycle. Benefits include improved efficiency, customization, flexibility, profitability, and the ability to launch new and improved products quickly. They could hold the key to a highly profitable 2023 and successful digital transformation for you and your business.