On the Job: SmartDraw 'Makes Money' for Australian Water Research Company14 Feb, 2005 By: Cadalyst Staff Cadalyst
Modular Solution Technologies wins business using system to create mechanical engineering diagrams, floor plans, forms and presentations
Modular Solution Technologies, based in Newport Beach, New South Wales, Australia, is a water research company with patented technology for processing and reclaiming water from wastewater. The firm's IT/operations director, Brendan Fowler, was charged with rolling out an integrated manufacturing system. This entailed documenting everything for compliance with the ISO 9001 international standard for quality.
Fowler tried numerous diagramming tools, but to no avail, calling some of the options "juvenile," "a distraction" and "poor quality." Finally, he found SmartDraw on a download site and decided to give it a try.
Sink or Swim
Fowler found SmartDraw was a cinch to use from the very beginning.
"It was very easy," he says. "The interface was so Microsoft-compatible and PC-friendly, I was up and running with SmartDraw on day one."
SmartDraw includes more than 60,000 symbols and images and simple drag-and-drop drawing, making easy work of any diagram. Fowler knew it would be a great tool for everything from floor plans and forms to deeply technical diagrams (figures 1-3).
Figure 1. SmartDraw allowed Fowler to rapidly create graphical representations of a water reclamation plant.
Figure 2. SmartDraw contains thousands of symbols for creating network diagrams.
Figure 3. SmartDraw's symbols and templates make easy work of mechanical engineering diagrams.
"The SmartDraw 7 image library is just massive," Fowler says. "I was also impressed with how SmartDraw handles layers."
SmartDraw includes a Layers Wizard that walks users through the process of adding layers to their drawing, from start to completion. It also has an easy-to-understand user interface (figure 4), and it includes tutorials and helpful tips to help users create more advanced drawings.
Figure 4. SmartDraw's intuitive user interface allowed Fowler to create detailed diagrams illustrating various cycles of water purification.
"I was soon producing multilayered, gradient-filled diagrams," says Fowler. "I amazed myself -- and everyone else -- at how quickly I could outperform our Mac artists and CAD designer."
Making a Splash
The company's directors and clients were so impressed that SmartDraw is now a standard software installation. "I use SmartDraw every day to make diagrams for sewage plants, floor plans, database planning, elevated design, forms, Web site planning, presentations, IT drawings and more," Fowler says. Not only does SmartDraw save organizations like Modular Solution Technologies time and money, it also helps them deliver more professional results, putting it head and shoulders above other, more-expensive, software tools.
"I can make scaled technical drawings without spending thousands of dollars -- or years of training -- on AutoCAD," says Fowler. "And I no longer have to tolerate the juvenile flowcharts from Microsoft." The biggest benefit? SmartDraw has had a measurable impact on his company's bottom line.
"With SmartDraw, the time-saving and quality improvements we now enjoy in our work have helped us both secure numerous contracts and improve our corporate image," says Fowler. "SmartDraw makes money!"