Graphics Programs Reference
3D CAD Evaluation
Identifying your Personal CAD Requirements
As with most technical problems, a good place to start is by looking at your requirements.
Understand exactly what you need. Make a list of what you are planning to achieve. What
are your overall objectives? Start by reviewing some of the answers and advantages below:
Which of your high level business objectives are you attempting to address?
What business processes are you attempting to improve? Examples include new product in-
troduction, existing product redesign or alternatively production engineering improvements
such as jig and fixture design or the introduction of Computer Aided Manufacturing. As
part of this, consider what stages of the development process you are aiming to enhance.
3D CAD can contribute throughout product development and indeed all the way through the
product-lifecycle. See 'CAD Engineering - The Basics for Small Manufacturers' section, to
clarify your thinking and identify which areas will apply to your business.
Additionally, list further requirements you think apply to your company. Some examples in-
• What's your budget? - What is the maximum you are likely to be able to spend, both
on CAD licenses and any IT upgrades. Alternatively explore whether you may be able to
obtain limited funds now, with perhaps additional amounts at some time in the future. This
approach can be justified, particularly if you can demonstrate cost savings (e.g. through
saved time or reduced defects).
• When do you need it up and running by? - When do you want the software both in-
stalled and operational, i.e. staff adequately trained and being productive?
• How many CAD seats? - Consider which individuals will be trained to use the soft-
ware, both initially but also potentially in the future. Is the arrangement scalable, as your
design team expands with business growth?
• Who will use the CAD Software and for what specific purpose? - Which employees
will actually use the CAD software? How frequently will they use it? What specific CAD
activities will they undertaken, both initially but also in the longer term?