For many companies, the cost-effective creation and distribution of technical drawings is a mission-critical component in their plans to become more competitive. The ability to efficiently create and manage technical drawings can have a direct impact on a company's bottom line. Surprisingly, many companies are still using inefficient and costly methods to create and manage the technical drawings that are a key part of their businesses. While they typically have implemented a new generation of Windows business applications, technical drawing software has often lagged behind. This is resulting in higher support costs, lower productivity, and technical drawing that are only accessible to a few people in an organization. The fact is, technical drawings are an invaluable resource, and they should be accessible to every desktop on your organization.
There are a number of costs that you must consider when implementing a software solution in your company. The three most important factors are the initial cost of the software, the cost of training, and the cost of support. Visio offers considerable advantages over traditional technical drawing software in all of these key areas. In contrast to specialized CAD software, Visio is priced consistently with other mainstream Windows applications. In many cases, Visio is only one-tenth of the cost of high-end CAD software, together with Electra it is only one-fourth of comparable solutions. This allows wider deployment and considerable cost savings over other solutions.
One of the most important (and often overlooked) costs is the training required to ensure that personnel in your company can effectively use the technical drawing software you choose to implement. CAD software typically requires specialized training, and can take three to six months to learn. In contrast, most people are effectively using Visio and Electra in just a few days due to its unparalleled ease of use. This means only one thing - increased productivity. Visio, which is part of Microsoft Office operates just like your standard Office application - lowering training and support cost, more time for better designs.
...more than just save time or eliminate tedious work: "It leaves the engineer free to think about the important part of the drawing—the control scheme and operations critical to the safety ..... This is where we want to focus our attention.
Cut the amount of time design engineers spend generating drawings and they could spend more time working with customers. That's what Milwaukee-based Johnson Controls Inc. had in mind when it began searching for a viable, simpler alternative to its CAD software. More than five years later, the company's search ended with Visio
Other problems cropped up, too. Because of the complexity of their CAD software, it was impossible for many people in the company who could have benefited from using the drawings—such as sales reps—to access them, much less to work with them. The program's difficulty was compounded by its lack of conformity to standard Windows conventions. It was also hard to integrate CAD drawings into other documents.
"We realized our drawing needs fell somewhere between a complex CAD package and a basic drawing program," says Huth. "What we really wanted was a software package that offered usability and ease and could integrate with our other applications."
According to Huth, the biggest benefit of moving to Visio is that it has greatly simplified the company's computing environment. "We went from 4,000 CAD symbols in our previous CAD package down to 200 Visio SmartShapes symbols. This simplicity is driving a great deal of value. We've reduced our engineering costs significantly."
The company's move to Visio has helped produce savings of 20 to 40 percent in engineering costs and time. The company estimates it is saving $6 million per year, and expects that figure to go up to $7 to $8 million per year once the system is fully implemented.
"We anticipate even more cost reductions as our efforts to standardize processes continue," he says. "It's much easier now to share designs and drawings." Johnson Controls is satisfied to have found a way to streamline its drawing processes without sacrificing the quality of its drawings. "We're providing more value to our customers," says Bill Huth. "That's the most important thing of all."
Lloyd Hilliker notes: "We looked for a product that had the potential to become the industry standard. It was really important to us to be able to exchange visual information with suppliers, customers, and companies that we were acquiring. There's no question that Visio has become the industry standard we sought. Whenever we deal with the outside world, we ask if they use Visio and inevitably they do."
...more than just save time or eliminate tedious work...
Cut the amount of time design engineers spend generating drawings and they could spend more time working with customers...
...move to Visio has helped produce savings of 20 to 40 percent in engineering costs and time.
It's much easier now to share designs and drawings... we're providing more value to our customers...
Whenever we deal with the outside world, we ask if they use Visio and inevitably they do.