On average, 15% of the time in your 3D print lab is wasted on order management. Yes, you heard that right, 6 out of every 40 operating hours in the work week gets devoted to tracking down orders, managing files, and communicating with file creators. That is over seven weeks a year where productive time is not being devoted to part production. This isn’t the fault of the hardworking individuals in your print lab. It is the result of the available production management software tools not being tailored to the needs of 3D printing labs…..until now.
Who Should be Using GrabCAD Shop?
Before we get started, it’s important to understand that this tool isn’t a good fit for just anyone. It’s tailored for businesses who are looking to optimize their model/prototype shop’s workflow. Let’s take a look at some business scenarios where GrabCAD Shop would be a good fit and where it may not be a good fit.
If your engineering team shares a single 3D printer and prints their own jobs on an as-needed basis, then GrabCAD Shop is probably overkill for what you need. If you have a lab with three or four 3D printers producing high-end parts with only two people designing and requesting those files, then you're probably not an ideal candidate either.
When you look at your workflow, does your team of five or more engineers email files to multiple technicians who run those jobs across a handful of 3D printers, CNCs, and post-processing equipment? Are those individuals trying to manage their time and files using spread sheets and white boards? Are there file revisions and back and forth communications that are resulting in production slowdowns or re-printing jobs? If you answered "yes" to these questions, then maybe it's time to consider if GrabCAD Shop is the right fit for your business.
How GrabCAD Shop Impacts the Parts Requestor
Without stepping foot in your facility, I am willing to wager that your team has communication issues on some level. In fact, nearly all hiccups in businesses come down to something not being clearly communicated. Often, this is not the result of the employee’s or employer’s lack of ability to communicate but rather a shortcoming in tools that can help that communication happen. This is where GrabCAD Shop can specifically help file creators and part requesters.
GrabCAD Shop helps these individuals request what they need, and when they need it, by acting as a portal for users to submit and view files to collaborate, markup, and approve their parts request. It all starts by making project submissions easy since nearly all widely adopted native CAD files can be viewed within GrabCAD Shop. It also allows for real-time updates on projects as it moves from one phase of production to another, keeping a clear line of communication between the part requestor and the part producer.
How GrabCAD Shop Impacts the Part Producer
We have established that GrabCAD Shop can help reduce communication issues and streamline the submission of work to a model shop. Now let’s see how it can directly impact the production workflow. By implementing GrabCAD Shop, print lab technicians can quote projects, communicate delivery dates, and track jobs throughout the production process.
The program is technology agnostic. This means that print labs can configure and manage their “virtual” workflow not just with Stratasys equipment but with any manufacture’s 3D printer, CNC, support removal, or post-processing equipment that they have. This allows print technicians to traffic projects through their shop virtually to visualize equipment utilization and workflow. It can even re-arrange that workflow if a piece of hardware is offline. GrabCAD Shop allows for technicians and lab managers to anticipate and communicate on delays, or last-minute projects, accurately and confidently.
How GrabCAD Shop Impacts the Management Team
GrabCAD print also offers benefits for management by providing insight into workflow and scheduling to help monitor job costs, labor expenses, and equipment utilization. Another tool available is setting different “roles” for various employees that grant various permissions as to what that employee can do. This mean some users may only be able to submit projects while others can establish the time frames, move projects with high priorities and even cancel projects.
If you are interested in learning more about GrabCAD Shop and how your team can potentially chip away at that 15% loss in productivity due to job trafficking/communication, TriMech’s 3D Printing Team is happy to help schedule a live demo, provide pre-recorded video walk throughs, software trials and help your team determine if it is the right solution for your business.
You can also get a free trial of GRABCAD Shop to try it out first-hand. The trial is available from the GrabCAD website and you can use your existing GrabCAD account. If you don’t have one, they are free to create.