Engineering has come a long way since CAD was introduced in the 1960s. From the introduction of generative design to new additive manufacturing processes, the ways engineers think and design have evolved.
But the way engineers collaborate daily, particularly during the design review process is stuck in the 90s. LEADR is here to fix that.
LEADR combines the principles of Lean Engineering with Agile Design into a review framework to help you collaborate, slash review cycles, build higher quality products and do what you do best - innovate. From peer checks, to supplier DFM reviews, to assembly instructions, the days of CAD slideshows and endless email threads are over.
Engineers can design, model and simulate the most complex mechanical assemblies the world has ever seen. But the process to share, review, and iterate on these designs is holding us back.
In an attempt to work together on a growing, global scale, engineering teams have been forced to create makeshift solutions that have hindered productivity, created bloated unusable software and result in expensive mistakes. Mechanical engineering teams today use powerful design software but are left with old school systems emails and slide decks to communicate and manage it all.
The 5 Most Common Impacts of Poor Engineering Design Review Processes
This Problem was Solved in Software 20 Years ago - it’s time engineering caught up.
Hardware engineering teams use tools that are 20 years behind their software engineering counterparts. Software engineering is built upon a set of agile tools that were purpose-built for every aspect of their job.
This process affects your ability to get technology into the hands of people who need it. Together, we must find new ways to improve quality outcomes, lower product delivery cost, and launch faster. The Solution is LEADR.
Giving you the framework, tools and freedom to focus on engineering and not administration.
LEADR is a modern review framework that combines the principles of Lean Engineering with Agile Design while staying deeply connected to CAD & PLM so you can collaborate, slash review cycles, build higher quality products and do what you do best - innovate.
How LEADR Works
As you create a new CAD model, drawing or document in your native CAD system you can push them directly to CoLab for instant access by your desired stakeholders. Within CoLab, you can create CoLab VuePoints to replace static slidedecks and capture your design intent with a presentation that automatically updates as the model changes.
With a single click, you can share files, VuePoints and packs to an internal or external user group and provide instructions for the review. These files can be easily accessed in the appropriate workspace, with complete histories and granular permissions. For the receiving party, simply click the link and have instant access - no downloads, super computers or training required.
Once the reviewer starts the review they work with their collaborators in real-time to add feedback to models, drawings and documents. The feedback is visually attached to the file so there is no confusion for others actioning the feedback. All of the feedback forms a punchlist automatically to make the changes very simple. Reviewers determine if revisions are required and then an automatic notification is sent to the creator.
When the creator returns to the review, they see a summary of what’s happened, visual feedback on the file and a punchlist in the right side panel. The creator then uses the punchlist to make changes in their native tool before pushing a revised file to CoLab for an additional review or approval. All of the changes made, histories and updates are automated throughout the process.
The status of every review is pulled into a central Kanban system that can be configured to show what is important to the end user. As the creator and reviewer work through the review cycle, the Kanban updates automatically. When the creator is ready to move to the next stage, they can easily share with the next group - whether it's internal or external - to get a secondary review or approval before the file is officially released.
At its core, LEADR is a combination of world-class 3D/2D web-viewing technology, engineering workflow automation, purpose-built feedback tools and agile kanban best practices.
LEADR is comprised of two core concepts:
The CoLab Lean Review Cycle is the repeatable design review cycle that happens at every stage in the design process - no matter what company it is, who is reviewing it or what is being reviewed.
Every cycle has four main statuses:
This process introduces lean concepts with the elimination of manual work for engineers between each step in the process. CoLab automatically notifies users of a review, shows them what needs to be reviewed, and documents histories, changes, and versions. CoLab also reminds you of important timelines.
The CoLab Agile Review Workflow
The CoLab Agile Review Workflow is the no-code builder that lets you create the workflow your team needs to bring a design from conception to release. The workflow you create is anchored on both ends with a Backlog and Released Stage to help you plan and understand what is complete and ready for manufacturing.
After years of working in industry and watching the most innovative companies struggle to collaborate on hardware projects, we decided something needed to change. So we created LEADR - a modern review framework that combines the principles of Lean Engineering with Agile Design while staying deeply connected to CAD & PLM so engineering teams can efficiently collaborate, slash review cycles, build higher quality products and do what they do best - innovate.
Gate reviews should not be the only place where design reviews happen during the engineering process. The most effective engineering team reviews regularly and makes incremental improvements, so that all stakeholders are looped in early to ensure requirements are met, mistakes are avoided and costs are controlled. A clunky set up, time-consuming process or lengthy meetings prevent many teams from reaching this level of efficiency.
Design reviews should be easily planned and just as easily conducted on an ad hoc basis - both following the same basic structure with the documentation, actions and next steps automatically tracked. With LEADR, engineering teams can plan reviews months in advance to track major milestones or click a single button inside their CAD tool to trigger an ad hoc peer review with their colleague.
Engineers become engineers to innovate, solve hard problems and create solutions that improve the world. Engineers do not become engineers to administrate spreadsheets, create slideshows and chase updates.
With LEADR, all of your administration work is automated - almost like your personal assistant for engineering design review. Progress updates, reports, oversight, sharing, revision updates - all automated. Engineers focus on engineering and let LEADR handle the rest.
Quality processes are critical to creating successful products - in many industries quality is regulated and mandated by governing bodies. Too often, quality is either extra work along the way or a checkbox at the end of a design process.
Quality can be embedded into your review process seamlessly. No extra forms, reports and work - just simply complete your checks, reviews and feedback and LEADR takes care of the rest. Moving faster with automated processes and increasing quality processes - a win-win for building better products, faster.
In existing solutions, critical project information is spread across PLM, notebooks, email threads, spreadsheets and in many cases not captured at all. All design communications, decisions and feedback should be captured in one easy-to-use hub, directly coupled with the design data itself.
With LEADR, reviews, feedback, issues, histories are all centralized. Deep integration with foundational engineering tools like CAD, PDM, & PLM means every step is interconnected. You’ve got one place for everything with the benefit of having a simple place to work from where any piece of context is a single click-away.
Every company and team has their own process - but there are many common threads that are best standardized across the industry so you can share lessons learned, maximize efficiency and better work together.
Without a standard, cohesive workflow, each team finds a new and creative way to string together spreadsheets, slide decks and word documents to get the job done. If the process is too rigid then the system breaks down by the teams working outside of it - which often becomes the case in PLM.
With LEADR, every team goes through the same steps for a singular design review - share, review to provide feedback, action feedback, repeat. The overall workflow can then be configured to match your team's process - no matter how many cycles you need to go through to get a design released.
The way engineers work has changed dramatically since the introduction of CAD. It's time the ways we work together get up to speed. Combining the LEADR framework with CoLab to centralize your review process, shorten feedback cycles, and focus on engineering, not administrating.
Let's re-engineer the way we work, and build better products, faster.
What if design reviews didn't have to live in your email inbox?
Join CoLab CEO, Adam Keating to learn how take an agile approach to design review.