It’s interesting to me that almost every client I work with here at ZenTek, regardless of the industry they work in or the type of project we’re handling for them, will eventually tell me the same thing: “There are too many steps involved in getting our jobs done.” Now, I’m paraphrasing that of course, but in the age of technology, it’s a common theme. Think about how many different software systems each of us use on a daily basis, then throw in the corporate processes we have to follow, and top it all off with the extensive regulatory controls we have to meet in the AEC world, and it’s really not surprising that project complexity is an issue we all struggle with. The thing that I find so interesting is that in an attempt to simplify that overwhelming design process, we all keep looking for more and better software systems to fix the problem.
That’s kind of like putting a fleet of cars on the road to study why there’s so much traffic.
Don’t get me wrong, we here at ZenTek are technology experts, and we sell, support, and train folks on dozens of software systems that help optimize the design process, so I’m not saying there isn’t an important place for software in solving these issues. What I’m saying is that there are two important concepts you need to embrace when you’re looking to simplify your design process:
For every software you add to your process, you should try to delete two existing systems.
Every software you add should integrate with and improve your primary design system.
The first one is very easy to understand – progress is only made by eliminating waste, right? Just adding software makes things worse, and a swap/replace just keeps the status quo of complexity.
The second point though is one we push really hard here at ZenTek. For example, one of the products I roll out for clients regularly is CAD-Earth. This is a plug-in that works inside any AutoCAD-based system and lets you import Google Earth images and 3D Surfaces directly into your CAD system. This adds really powerful functionality to the design process, while eliminating external applications and steps my clients are currently dealing with to “work around” and get that data from Google Earth. I do the same thing with another product called PConnect, that helps surveyors automate their drafting procedures right inside Civil 3D. Adding this simple plug-in lets them eliminate at least two other 3rd party software packages and integrates directly into their primary design tool. By adding only systems that let you eliminate others, you save money immediately, because you eliminate the costs associated with the software you’re getting rid of. You’ll receive far more profit in time saved due to efficiency improvement and simplified functionality.
At ZenTek, we’re far more than a software support and training company; we’re primarily a technical consulting partner for our clients. We focus more on simplifying procedures and reducing costs than we do on selling product. That’s the key to actively improving your productivity and reducing costs. If you’re interested in taking a look at your own design workflows, we’d be happy to give you some free time to discuss your needs. Just shoot us a quick email and we’ll set up a phone call to see where we can help!
- Jim C.