MCAD Tech News (#344)

9 May, 2013 By: Cadalyst Staff

Design Engineers Play Critical Role in Reducing Product Costs

Today's cost-management software integrates tightly with CAD to deliver real-time data about the financial impact of design changes.

By Julie Driscoll

As a design engineer, you are under tremendous pressure to design quality products that differentiate your company. You have requirements for form, fit, and function, and on top of that, you have a schedule to keep. Of course, your company is under tremendous pressure too, especially in this economic environment. Profit margins are tight and budgets are even tighter.

In the never-ending battle for market leadership, design engineers play a larger role than they may realize in determining a company's success. But, it's not just about which company has the best products; it's also about which company does a better job of controlling its product costs.

For manufacturing and product companies, the biggest expense on the quarterly income statement is the cost of goods sold, or COGS. Typically, the number is between 70 and 90 percent of the gross revenue your company earns. Because COGS in manufacturing is so high, a company that reduces its product costs by just one percent will see its profit rise substantially.

Design Makes a Difference

Where do you fit in? 80 percent of the cost of a product is created in the first 20 percent of development. Design engineers are responsible for the largest portion of product costs: 80% of the cost of a product is created in the first 20% of development. You and your colleagues are in the best position for increasing corporate profitability if you can reduce the cost of the products your company sells. So what's stopping you? Typically, the stumbling block is understanding how much your designs will cost to produce in the first place.

When you are working in your CAD program, every change you make to a design has an impact on how much the finished product will cost. You may have a general idea how a particular change — such as material or finish — might increase or decrease cost, yet the only way to know with certainty is to have someone generate an estimate or a quote. That requires either calling in an internal cost expert or putting out a formal request to one or more suppliers. This can easily become a frustrating back-and-forth process that might take days or weeks. But with deadlines looming, who has time for that? Read more »

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Julie Driscoll is responsible for aPriori's strategic product and marketing direction and identifies new product cost savings opportunities for discrete manufacturers.

Gstarsoft Launches New CAD Platform, Seeks to Expand Global Reach

Chinese software developer sets its sights on international markets.

By Cyrena Respini-Irwin

In April, CAD software developer Gstarsoft held its third annual Gstarsoft Symposium in Beijing, China. The event intends to foster an exchange of best practices among company executives and resellers, but this year's event also turned the spotlight on the launch of Gstarsoft's new CAD platform, GstarCAD8, and hosted several members of the CAD media.

A DWG-compatible 2D/3D CAD platform for applications in AEC, manufacturing, and GIS, GstarCAD8 is more than simply the successor to GstarCAD 2012. It's built on a new architecture and is much faster and more stable than its predecessors, according to the company. (The name does not indicate that GstarCAD8 is the eighth in a line of releases; rather, the "8" represents the infinity symbol, and infinite possibility.)

Creating GstarCAD8 required "hundreds of engineers and three years of development at Xi'an Gstarsoft," said Gstarsoft President Lu Xiang. "[Our] huge investment in R&D ... has led us to good results." Vice-Executive Chairman Liang Haixia said, "We want to provide a stable, economically friendly CAD solution ... to help the growth of small and medium enterprises." Read more »

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Cyrena Respini-Irwin is Cadalyst's senior editor.


Mark Your Calendar: MCAD Events

i GET IT Online Training for Engineers
May 22, 2013
11 a.m. ET
This webinar will show how i GET IT online training for engineers can help improve productivity and better leverage CAD and PLM software investments. Read more »

PTC Live Global
June 9–12, 2013
Anaheim, California
At this training and networking event, the product development community will learn how PTC technologies can help users address product development challenges. Attendees will hear — directly from current PTC technology users — how they are boosting productivity and streamlining deployments and upgrades. Read more »

Metrology Career Fair
July 25, 2013
San Diego, California
A career fair will be held as part of the Coordinate Metrology Society conference from 10 to 11:30 a.m. in the Exhibition Hall. Read more »

For a complete list of CAD meetings, conferences, training sessions, and more, check out our calendar of events on Are you hosting an event that you would like to include in our calendar? Submit details at least two weeks in advance to


What’s New at

Think More, Work Less
Spending a few minutes of time thinking about your CAD management tasks can save you hours of work later. Read more »

Conduct a CAD Management Audit
Are you like an overworked logger, too busy felling trees to sharpen your ax? Take the time to stop and think critically about what you're doing — and how you're doing it. Read more »

Femap Tips and Tricks: Import Temperature Values from Excel into Femap
Convert data from a thermal analysis into a load case. Read more »

IMAGINiT Tricks Tutorial: Attach Documentation in Autodesk Inventor
Manage your views correctly, and they'll move with your geometry when the design is updated. Read more »

Femap Tips and Tricks: Create Elements between Coincident Nodes in Femap
The Pick Query capability will enable you to choose between coincident nodes. Read more »

About the Author: Cadalyst Staff

Cadalyst Staff

Add comment

Note: Comments are moderated and will appear live after approval by the site moderator.

AutoCAD Tips!

Lynn Allen

In her easy-to-follow, friendly style, long-time Cadalyst contributing editor and Autodesk Technical Evangelist Lynn Allen guides you through a new feature or time-saving trick in every episode of her popular AutoCAD video tips. Subscribe to the free Cadalyst Video Picks newsletter and we'll notify you every time a new video tip is published. All exclusively from Cadalyst!

Follow Lynn on TwitterFollow Lynn on Twitter

Which device do you typically use to read content?
A desktop computer / tower workstation
A tablet
A smartphone
A laptop or mobile workstation
I regularly use both a desktop computer and a smartphone for this purpose
I regularly use another combination of devices for this purpose
I prefer to print out articles from the website and read them on paper
Submit Vote

Download Cadalyst Magazine Special Edition