For starters, digitization is converting of analog/physical things such as paper documents, microfilm images, photographs, sounds and more into digital (bits and bytes) version. So it is simply converting and/or representing something non-digital into a digital format which then can be used by a computing system for numerous reasons.
Sometimes a paper document gets destroyed after having digitized, sometimes we capture the sound and images in the form of video of your presentation at an event, the digital format continues to exist while your voice and physical presentation during that presentation are gone forever. Digitizing doesn’t means replacing the original document, image, sound, etc.
Another synonymous term is ‘Automation’ which more or less means the same. The conversion of physical data into intangible format has its benefit and has revolutionized paperwork in its own way.
Benefits of Digitization
Streamlining of process, which results in delivery of information to the right person at the right time, optimization of the processing time and improvement in overall productivity and efficiency.
Smooth management, storage & control of documents; protection of records in physical form and reduction in the risk of losing documents.
Digitization process ensures the continuous availability of information.
Elimination of manual search
Reduction in storage costs
5 ways digitization is helping the business
There have been debates about automation and development of artificial intelligence (AI) over the last couple of years. All credits to movies and their takes on AI. Some eminent minds have also predicted its dark future. However, AI has already changed the business world with companies gradually automatizing work and other sorts of activities. Almost 85% of industry leaders believe automation will allow their companies to obtain or sustain a competitive advantage.
Flexibility of working hours
With all the data and information being stored on digital media and devices; digitization has made it possible for us to transform it and access it from anywhere. As a result, we can adjust our work schedule to our personal needs and lifestyle. We can choose how to work and when to work, and we owe it to digitization.
We all know, innovation helps companies come up with groundbreaking ideas, use special tools and business applications for organizing & managing work, reach wider audience and create a better product. Digitization is not only about transforming physical data into digital format, but also about using it and finding new ways of developing/enhancing them.
The lack of right information transfer leads to misunderstandings and conflicts. Without proper communication, a business cannot thrive. Communication has always been one of the most important aspects of our lives. Fortunately, there are tools and channels that enable smooth exchange of information. There are tools that facilitate the exchange of thoughts, ideas and opinions such as blogs, websites, conferences and business meetings. Digitization has made it possible to propagate information while providing ready access to information, thereby, consuming less amount of time.
We all know reverse engineering is an economical approach towards product development & innovation which is often utilized by manufacturers to evaluate and redesign competitor products. The method requires understanding the product design, system integrity and the manufacturing processes involved to realize the potential required to build a similar or an improved version of the product. The reverse engineering technique is best suitable for producing design data and related technical manuals for products that no longer have any design information available.
The entire work-process involves engineers studying every single design feature, associated manufacturing processes and tools needed for product development and storing information using CAD tools. After digitizing the entire information, suitable design modifications are carried out as per requirements. However, to get things right one should have an efficient and dedicated engineering team, right software and hardware tools, etc. which seems difficult to have within the organization always.
Here comes the advantage of outsourcing reverse engineering projects where the activities can greatly reduce the cost of product development and burden on the engineers who can, then, put full emphasis on developing innovative design solutions for the product.
If one still questions outsourcing, some of the important benefits to outsourcing reverse engineering projects are mentioned below.
Outsourcing can bring in a global pool of talent with the myriad of innovative ideas that can assist in product design and development without investing in infrastructure and resources.
As the in-house resource can focus on R&D, it greatly helps in improving the productivity of an organization.
Product development time reduces considerably.
Hiring an outsourcing partner who matches requirement scale greatly enhances the organization’s capability.
RE outsourcing presents a scope to develop the product at a competitive price since the development cost is considerably less.
As much feasible Reverse Engineering and its outsourcing sounds, there are specific steps to follow and factors to keep in mind. Few crucial points to discuss when outsourcing RE are as follows:
The objective of reverse engineering; as your provider needs to know your goals to suggest a rather cost-effective solution
Whether reverse engineering has to be for design intent or as-built which, yet again, depends solely on the organizations end goal
What kind of measurement data should be approached and to what extent the accuracy of measurement should be implemented, depending on organizational planning,
For obtaining the most accurate measurements, the original object is often disassembled or even destroyed. Whether to go ahead with such a step or keep the original product intact for future reference is something an organization should carefully decide on
What tools to be used for digitizing the final date, like desired software with its version to suit the complete development ecosystem
Once the decision to outsource the reverse engineering process has been finalized, the next important step to consider is, choosing a vendor. Responsive and efficient vendors make all the difference. Finding a professional vendor with a high level of efficiency and even heightened work ethic is a complex but satisfying process. Be aware that once you are engaged with a vendor, it becomes little difficult to break the deal and discontinue ‘business’ with the existing vendor. So choose carefully but commit completely after the contract.
When a vendor has been finalized, organization issues a request for quotation (RFQ). RFQs are created to invite suppliers to a bidding process to bid on specific services/products. The organization should also take a legal approach and have the non-disclosure agreement (NDA) signed by the service provider. This is done to prevent unlawful, authorized distribution or illicit adoption of the product.
Now that the legal approach has been taken and paperwork has been taken care of, the organization sends the physical product to the service provider or the scanned files of the same; which solely depends on company needs. The vendor is also supplied with measurement specifications and related industry standards to follow. Eventually, the vendor creates digital CAD formatting required software and sends them back to the organization for further investigations on design modification or innovation.
For manufacturers, reverse engineering is a profitable strategy in today’s competitive scenario; however, outsourcing it brings along the other benefits as well that ensures product development process remains cost-effective.
With every individual looking for a custom product designed especially for him/her, more and more companies are now offering Mass Customization to satisfy the needs of their customers.
At a high level Mass Customization can be categorized into two broad areas,
B2B Mass Customization
B2C Mass Customization
Mass Customization essentially means offering customers what they want, rather than what the organization has to offer them. It creates a huge differentiator in the minds of customers, both B2B and B2C.
Mass Customization is achieved by using web based tools like Product Configurators which achieves Customization yet resulting in savings in cost.
This is how it works.
Configure: The Product Configurators present a simple user interface to the customers to try out various options by changing parameters and selecting different options, to suit their specific requirements. Once they are satisfied, they can often preview their selections in the form of a 3D model.
Instant Quote: The quote generation system is linked to the Product Configurator helping customers with instant quotes for the selections that they make.
Ready to Manufacture: The Product Configurator can generate all the details like manufacturing drawings required by the manufacturing/assembly team without manual intervention
Level of automation at each step depends on the complexity of the product and the nature of the sales cycle. For simple products (typically B2C) it can be completely automatic and for complex products (typically B2B) it can be semi-automatic. Even for B2B products, the semi-automatic process greatly improves the productivity of the sales team and the design team.
At a B2B level Product Configurator are seen in many diverse industries ranging from Cranes & Hoists, Material Handling and Storage, Pumps, Valves, Bearings, etc. The benefits it offers are,
Shorter Sales Cycle because of quicker and accurate quotes to prospects
Shorter Delivery Cycle because of quicker and accurate data to manufacturing team
Convert more prospects into customers, with quicker response and sharing relevant CAD data
Improve the efficiency of Sales and Design team
Better understanding of customer’s needs
At a B2C level use of Product Configurator is seen in variety of sectors like laptops, apparels, shoes, jewellery, houses, furniture etc. The advantages for a B2C model are,
Differentiation through personalization
Satisfying the needs of the customers by delivering what they want
More and more companies are now going for Electronic Product Catalogs and are making necessary CAD data about their products available to their customers and prospects.
There are many benefits of electronic product catalogs, they,
Help your prospects take quicker decision about your product
Help you showcase your product changes quickly and effectively
Avoid last minute surprises and installation nightmares
Give you an edge over your competition
So if you are thinking of making your product information online, here are the few decisions that you need to make.
The Product: You may have dozens or even hundreds of products in your portfolio. You could apply the 80-20 rule and decide a set of products that gives you maximum coverage.
The Platform: Most obvious choice is to make it available on your website. However you could choose to make a Phone App or you could create a DVD (in case you have very large number of products).
The Data format: You need to decide what data you wish to make available, some of the points to be decided here are 2D data vs 3D data, GA or schematic vs to the scale drawings, dumb 3D models vs parametric models etc.
The Technology: At a high level there are two main approaches to solving this, “Pre-Cooked” and “On-The-Fly”. In the Pre Cooked method, data for all configurations of your products is as the name suggests, are kept in repository, and is delivered on demand. This option is good if the number of unique configurations of your products are on a lower side say up to few hundreds. The “On-The-Fly” method generates the necessary data in real time using certain master models. It can very easily handle any number of unique product configurations that you may have
To summarize, Electronic Product Catalogs can greatly help your business and give you an edge over the competition.
The quest to evolve digitally has prompted many tech enterprises to invest in new software/technology solutions to explore the market in terms of revenue and make public life easier. However, when an organization announces a brand-new investment, it is flocked by already available options in the market by players of the tech industry.
Is investing in already existing solutions an excellent way to get a foothold in such a competitive industry? According to industry experts, not always. Tech businesses should be encouraged more and more to invest in their custom CAD software development. Having a personalized asset in your digital arsenal is so much needed these days. They can be efficient and adjustable, which will turn out to be beneficial for business in the long run.
Although investments of that kind tick off many business owners due to the cost aspect, it is always worth the investment if done the right way.
Here is an outline of how custom software development is highly recommended for your business.
The intention behind custom-made CAD software is to target the specific requirements of the organization. Every business needs tailored digital solutions that focus on individual business needs and addresses particular issues. Having custom-made CAD software gives one a competitive edge in such a fast-growing market.
Easier to Scale
As your business grows with time, your needs will change, and consequently, your business solutions will need an update. Readymade software solutions usually work for small-scale companies. However, custom-made software that can grow and scale your business processes is highly recommended if you don’t want to be held back by purchased software & features and want to succeed at your own pace.
Integration with other software
Custom CAD software facilitates easy & smooth integration of your product with other software in use or already existing in the market. It prevents integration issues, and it is tailor-made to fit within any business’ software ecosystem easily, that too without errors.
A subcontractor in home construction industry would prepare quotation by marking up the home layout in a pdf document, followed by listing out various material and overhead costs. Such manual approach was affecting the turnaround time and accuracy/consistency of the quotes.
Prescient developed the solution in multiple phases as given below:
First phase of the solution focused on creating 3D schematics and modifications with pdf as a background. This form of digital markup helped speed up the material calculations.
Second phase was about improving the material calculations for better utilization while honoring various constraint. This helped creation of optimal quotes in consistent manner.
Third phase integrated the materials catalogs including standard sizes & pricing. This helped in keeping the costing more up to date.
Fourth phase added enhancements to various workflows, as per user’s feedback to enhance usability of the overall application.
Independence from 3 rd party developer
An essential point while purchasing readymade software is that it depends on the organization that has developed it — from cost to terms and conditions of use. In the event of any unfortunate mishap or bankruptcy, the developing company might stop updating the product. Such news is not pleasant for your business as you will be in dire need of another provider with their own set of terms of engagement.
Potential for future innovations
Innovation drives every competitive business scenario today. Competition breeds innovation. More innovations mean you have more chances of addressing varied consumer interests. When organizations buy expensive and ready-to-deploy software applications from reputed vendors, it often limits their likelihood of innovation. Custom software drives more experiments and helps grind out innovative concepts faster without being dependent on outside technology vendors to do it. It builds an exceptional market competence as your brand is recognized as a precursor rather than a latecomer in the innovation arena.
The modern market demands every technology implementation to go hand-in-hand with business objectives. Business firms need to have a clear idea of use cases that particular technology could solve. With custom software, firms can address such use cases and work on them without any restrictions, as long as they want it. Although they need to carry out the maintenance themselves, it provides benefits worth the expenses on a larger scale.