New technology meant new workflows and processes with the help of SketchUp. These processes impacted the specials product development process and conceptual design. These new processes require designers, engineers, sales, and quote representatives to work together on product designs – which makes the need for collaboration even more important.
“We use SketchUp in this process. We use it as a composition tool, importing various CAD model types, and adding to them to create visual communication, ” says Kanoza, as he explains the benefits of SketchUp at their company.
Here are two functions that thrive off of the use of SketchUp in particular:
Design validation and application studies. This function helps clients and furniture dealers visualize what a new (special) product will look like when it’s manufactured. To help with visualization, they use 3D models of a special product and place them into the floor plan. This design validation and study establishes the clients’ needs before requesting a mock-up or prototype of the product.
Special design visual communication. This is a new department started by Kanoza, and where he sees the true value of SketchUp. Within this department, the team develops the special symbols of custom furniture pieces.
“We use SketchUp because we need a way to visually communicate the clients’ request for a special-designed product. The special symbol represents a design that has been reviewed by an engineering and quote representative. They conclude if Steelcase can design and manufacture [custom pieces] before we actually manufacture them,” says Kanoza. “If we can show dealers how a product will look, we can get them on board and agree to purchase it before we expend any engineering effort.”
This department’s ability to quickly conceptualize specials is critical to responding to their customers’ special furniture needs.
“Even if we do not win the opportunity to sell a special, we save these drawings on a hosted website for dealers to use for future projects,” says Kanoza. “This is a powerful reuse of the effort. We’ve already validated these designs with engineering.”
Since they have already gone through a rigorous process with all of their designs, they know – in the future – they can quote them fast with the assurance that they can be manufactured. SketchUp is key to the success of this new department.
“It is a cost-effective, efficient way to develop special product imagery,” Kanoza exclaims. “With the efficiencies provided using SketchUp and LayOut, we have developed over 10,000 models of previously quoted product designs.”
They also get a little help from some top extensions:CleanUp 3和FredoScale.