10 Strategic Moves for a Successful 3D Data Transition
Are you in charge of transitioning your organization to 3D data? Do you want to ensure the transition is seamless, organized, and efficient? Thankfully, achieving success doesn’t have to be hard if you know the strategies and techniques needed for the journey—and that’s where we come in. In this blog post, we’ll discuss 10 strategic steps for making a successful transition from 2D drawing systems and databases into more effective 3D Data tools.
Our 10 Strategic Moves for a Successful 3D Data Transition:
- Knowing and enunciating why the change is happening. ⬇️
- Bringing in downstream 3D Data users as process change owners, not just recipients. ⬇️
- Bringing the change iteratively and safely, so there’s room to learn and make mistakes. ⬇️
- Understanding this is a cultural change, not just a technology transition. ⬇️
- Going beyond the data transition in the maturity index and be flexible within it. ⬇️
- Taking the time and energy to set foundations. ⬇️
- Doing a pilot sequence, not a pilot. ⬇️
- Giving people room to move slower as they learn new processes and new data. ⬇️
- Accepting the limitations of the tools without caving in. ⬇️
- Seeing your supply chain as partners to accelerate, not as roadblocks. ⬇️
Rhiannon Gallagher, Jennifer Herron and Duane Hess discuss each strategic move and provide unique insights interweaving the technology and organizational change management perspective. So grab your iced double shot of espresso, take a deep breath, and get ready for success.
1. Knowing and enunciating why the change is happening.
The first step in any successful transition is to know and enunciate your why. Why are you making this change, and what benefits do you hope to achieve? According to Jennifer Herron, shifting from static 2D drawings to dynamic 3D data sets can provide greater flexibility and richer data sets for your business.
3D data is more intuitive and can lead to shorter lead times, greater efficiency gains, and increased learning and understanding.
2. Bringing in downstream 3D Data users as process change owners, not just recipients.
It’s not enough to simply impose a new process from top leadership. To ensure a successful transition, you must bring in downstream 3D data users as process change owners. This means involving people across the product life cycle, including those in manufacturing, supply chain, and sustainment. By doing so, they can provide valuable insights into how the data is being used and ensure that the process works for everyone involved.
People need to be bought in from the beginning, or they will find ways to ensure that the change doesn’t happen, that it stays in engineering, or may never see the light of day.
We have ways to layer and display the right data for the right user at the right time. This is a really important advantage to 3D digital-ready data.
Another thing we see a lot is that people upstream don’t always truly understand what is happening downstream. They know that an inspection is happening or they’re using their model in a CNC machine, but there isn’t that in-depth knowledge. That’s because, with the silos built up over time, it’s not just the information that gets siloed; it’s the process itself; it kind of becomes a black box.
We’re so far beyond that technology-wise that we have ways to layer and display the right data for the right user at the right time. It’s a really important piece involving 3D digital-ready data. You can turn things on and off at will when they’re needed per the person looking at the data. That’s where our 3rd point lies
3. Bringing the change iteratively and safely, so there’s room to learn and make mistakes.
According to Duane Hess, successful cross-functional change has its roots in Agile since the people on your team are your experts. They measure and design. Incremental change offers a secure space to do that. Iterative change is neat since you don’t know what you don’t know until you find out. So include that in your procedure. People see this as one huge J-curve from start to finish. If you can undertake an iterative change process, you have multiple smaller J-curves, which are easier to handle and easier to engage people because you’re not disturbing their lives as much.
Rhiannon Gallagher also adds the importance of having the safety to make mistakes. You need to transition to a mindset that’s okay to take a little longer, make mistakes, and learn from them. In an industrial environment that values speed, that’s difficult. There are all sorts of ways to build in room to go slower, whether it’s a production part or a part you’ve created before.
4. Understanding this is a cultural change, not just a technology transition.
Psychological safety changes with time, and also interesting things happen culturally. People’s feedback mechanisms change, and they can give more feedback.
We’re not giving everyone one massive piece of data and expecting them to infer the 10% they need to complete their job. We’re just giving them 10%, but everyone’s seeing part of the same digital story.
It’s a culture shift, not a tech shift. It requires leadership buy-in, communication planning and messaging, and anonymous feedback loops and surveys.
5. Go beyond the data transition in the maturity index and be flexible within it.
To maximize your return on investment and save valuable time, it’s important to streamline your 3D data transition process. While step indexes are a good start, the ultimate goal should be to create models in 3D. This is especially important for high-value manufacturing processes such as lofted surfaces or complicated molds.
By focusing on 3D data procedures, you can improve the accuracy of your work and ultimately speed up the manufacturing process. Don’t try to complete everything at once – start small and work your way up.
6. Take the time and energy to set foundations.
To establish a successful transition to Industry 4.0 or digital manufacturing, it’s crucial to have a solid foundation by focusing on people, procedures, and tools. This requires talking to employees and addressing any myths or rumors that might arise during the process.
Without effective communication, it’s easy for messaging to spin out of control, leaving employees confused and frustrated by the changes.
By establishing a cross-functional communication team and preparing a robust communication platform, you can better control the messaging and ensure that the transition is as smooth as possible.
7. Doing a pilot sequence, not a pilot.
Over the 15 years of working with organizations, more often than not Jennifer has seen “We made a bracket in 3D, and then we tested it. Now let’s go launch 1000 ships to change our entire organization.”
However, there’s a lot more complexity. You need a pilot series to return to the basic, complicated, and complex iterative approach. We can’t test one bracket. We need an assembly. We need the bracket and two attachments. So you need additional context and sequencing, and it’s a progression. This allows for the complexities of more advanced shapes to be understood, while also testing each capability thoroughly, piece by piece.
Whenever transitioning to 3D modeling, it’s important to take an iterative approach and start with basic shapes in order to build a strong foundation. This allows for the complexities of more advanced shapes to be understood, while also testing each capability thoroughly, piece by piece. Doing this in bite-sized chunks over the course of a year is one example of how to gain momentum while planning resources and timelines appropriately. It depends on planning, resources, timeline, and so on. To resolve enterprise-wide difficulties, it must be a series of pilots.
8. Giving people room to move slower as they learn new processes and new data.
It takes time and a top-to-bottom buy-in from everyone to transition to an entirely new method of conducting processes. This especially holds true when that method is not immediately accepted or understood. A long-term gain in efficiency can be achieved through the use of digital connections, making it easier for customers to access warehouse parts with greater speed and value. But that efficiency isn’t immediate. Having a safe space for experimentation and learning can open up opportunities for better models that eliminate any discrepancies between drawings and models. Ultimately, transitioning to this new method will prove beneficial in multiple ways — engineering cost savings, improved customer value, as well as increased trust within the organization.
9. Accepting the limitations of the tools without caving in.
Software tools are not perfect due to the various definitions of “ideal,” but there have been substantial improvements in connecting product specifications and CAD models to other systems in the past decade. People may get frustrated with the tools, but it’s essential to persist through the challenging aspects and make judgments that can help spread out the financial costs of purchases.
People want to skip to the tools part ’cause it feels easy. But it requires understanding our processes and what capabilities we’ll pilot when to make the proper tool decisions. That spreads out the purchase financially. So you’re not buying a lot for the one pilot you’re doing. You’re saying, “Okay, now we’ve done this, let’s go acquire the validation verification program and test that,” so you can build things up.
Perfect is the enemy of good. It’s essential to take steps to move forward. However, it’s paramount to avoid clicking the purchase button right away without careful analysis to consider options that may not have been considered before.
How we work with you in this step:
In the Assess Your Readiness stage of our Strategic Program, we’ll give you a budget to plan your capital expenses for the following year because you must plan for that. When we provide you with a specific budget upfront, you’re set to go, and we just iteratively work on that budget.
10. Seeing your supply chain as partners to accelerate, not as roadblocks.
Involving the supply chain in the Model-Based Definition (MBD) process improves your ecosystem’s ability to adapt to market challenges. With some explanation, suppliers can pivot faster and handle the production for clients better.
Offering a 3D representation of the part with necessary data can improve efficiency and comprehension.
While model-based supply chains can be costly, the efficiency boost benefits can be significant, and can even lead to collaborative creations when suppliers are involved as team members.
3D Data transition is critical for any organization that wants to leverage the benefits of digital technologies. It requires a well-planned strategy, clear communication, and collaboration. By following the 10 essential ingredients discussed in this article, organizations can ensure a smooth and successful transition to 3D Data.
A successful 3D Data transition is critical for any organization that wants to leverage the benefits of digital technologies.
Remember, the transition to 3D Data is not just a technical change; it is a cultural shift that requires a change in mindset, process, and approach. Embracing 3D Data can unlock new opportunities, improve productivity, and enhance the overall quality of products and services. Therefore, organizations must take the necessary steps to stay ahead in the ever-evolving digital landscape.