The Importance of Keeping Up to Date

Project Workflows

“The only thing worse than training your staff, and having them leave is – not training your staff, and having them stay.” How do companies optimize their investment in software to ensure their staff are trained and working at their most efficient?

Training plays an important role in ensuring design and engineering firms get the most out of their product development software. Unfortunately with increased pressures in day-to-day projects it often takes a back seat.

This is particularly true of on-going training. For many firms, training starts and ends when the software is first purchased. And once a base level of knowledge has been attained through an introductory course the system gets used as learned – sometimes for many years.

The problem is that product development software is continually evolving. Brand new features are introduced and workflows are refined. While this used to happen every 12 or 18 months in line with software releases, it is now a continual process delivered through subscription. And as cloud-based services roll-out, the problem will be exacerbated with monthly updates.

If organizations don’t help staff acquire knowledge in line with these developments, they may be missing out on big opportunities to reduce time to market.

Design and engineering teams could be wasting time with protracted workflows. The creation of inefficient models and digital assets could also impact design change in subsequent projects. The benefits of important new technologies, such as simulation or design automation, may never be realised.

Instructor-led training is one of the most effective ways to improve skills, but cost and time out of the office can be a barrier to ongoing learning. However, users need not be limited to classroom-based teaching to develop their skills. Training can also be carried out by individuals, on demand.

Official training guides are available from software developers, but the internet is offering the most exciting possibilities. Resellers host regular web seminars, while online training providers offer self-paced learning tools. There are also numerous tutorials and best practice guides available on the Internet.

While self-development is important, designers and engineers also need to be given guidance. Firms can assign champion users to spread knowledge throughout the team and promote best practice, assessing new technologies and disseminating learning materials along the way.

Training is not a one-way street. Users should be given the opportunity to provide feedback on workflows and processes to influence best practice.

CAD certifications are a great way to validate skills and online tools can track and assess progress, while supporting team members with differing abilities.

On going training is not just about optimizing workflows and getting the most out of your product development technology. It can also have a positive impact on staff. It can improve morale by increasing job satisfaction, boost productivity and free up CAD experts from day to day support. It’s time to start looking at on-going training as an investment and not as an expense.

Brian Sather is a product marketing manager at Autodesk. An engineer by trade, he likes taking things apart and putting them back together. Half the things in his home work twice as well as they should, and the other half don’t work at all.

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