Spreadsheets won’t cut NPD cycles by 50%

Join the engineering teams are transforming the way they work

87% of engineering teams spend multiple hours to days finding data to justify a specific design decision during NPD.

This might mean sifting through a 100-column spreadsheet to find that one comment about why you used a specific material finish, how the total product cost jumped 15% or who’s responsible for sourcing a certain component.

Now, extend that over hundreds of design comments and 20+ NPD projects. This isn’t just a frustration for your NPD team. This is costing millions of dollars in bloated timelines, design reworks and quality test failures. 

There’s a better way.

The cost of spreadsheets during NPD

So what if your engineers spend a couple days searching through the project spreadsheet – it’s part of the job, right?

But what happens when these little searches compound into frustrations? And frustrations into scrapping the search altogether? Could this be the reason that you have to delay NPD launches?

This seems like a leap, but in a recent research report, engineering leaders revealed some key NPD cycle failures:

  • 90% of companies experience product launch delays due to late-stage design changes
  • 43% of design feedback is never tracked or addressed
  • Most companies are not using PLM at all for NPD – and are instead using spreadsheets, PowerPoints, meetings and email.

Remember how 87% of engineering teams spend hours to days trying to find the right data to justify a specific design decision? 

Let’s track that through: it takes so long to find information because it’s buried in spreadsheets, email threads and PowerPoint slides. Or worse, not documented at all. That becomes 43% of all design feedback getting lost or never tracked. Finally, when so much design feedback is lost, it’s not a surprise that almost every company delays product launches due to late stage design changes.

Spreadsheets for NPD = Major product launch delays. Not such a huge leap now.

So, what’s the solution?

Design Engagement as a System

To fix this problem, you need a new approach to design reviews during NPD.

And this approach is not better use of PLM or more meetings – strategies only 17% of engineering leaders believe would be effective.

It’s a better tool for design collaboration.

#1 way to prevent miscommunication related delays during product development

These same engineering leaders agree a better tool is needed to: document design feedback, communicate design intent, track and implement design feedback, and communicate design changes.

That tool is a Design Engagement System, or DES.

A DES is a system purpose-built to help people engage – not just with data, but with each other – to make great design decisions.

Meaning, a DES:

  • Puts data visualization front and center. A DES puts the key data you need (models, drawings, BOMs) front and center, so you can easily make decisions with context.
  • Replaces rigid workflows with social reviews. Everyone can review and markup the same file at the same time. It feels more like using social media than assembling furniture.
  • Is self-documenting. Every piece of feedback is captured as a unique object with all of the context required to understand it automatically, as a byproduct of doing a review.
  • Is lightweight. You don’t need to download anything to use it. That means infrequent users can still help you make decisions.

A DES isn’t built to control product data – you already have PLM for that. Instead, it allows you to interrogate the right data with the right people in real-time or asynchronously. 

With a DES, decisions are made with context, input from the right people, and as early as possible in the process. 

CoLab as a DES

When it comes to a DES, you have a few options. But CoLab is the only one selected by companies like Schaeffler, Ford Pro, Hyundai, Komatsu and Polaris. 

These companies choose CoLab because, like a DES, it’s purpose built for fast, effective design review. Using CoLab as their DES, multiple engineers, designers, and other stakeholders can review designs together and build off one another's feedback.

CoLab makes it easy to review the right data – 3D models and 2D drawings – with all the right people, capture useful feedback, and track issues through to action. CoLab pulls together design discussions previously lost in emails, spreadsheets, and notebooks into a single platform that integrates back into PLM.

Moreover, with CoLab’s customer support team, no engineering team is left to configure these processes alone. Your CoLab team is a partner throughout your DES journey. 

What’s next?

If you’re ready to see how a DES can transform the way your engineering team works, here’s how the process works with CoLab.

  1. Every CoLab DES conversation starts with a discovery call. During this call, a technical expert will understand your team’s challenges with design review today
  2. Then, we’ll tailor a demo to address those challenges. This demo includes you, of course, but also some key members from your team who can speak to your challenges in greater detail and vet CoLab as the solution.
  3. Finally, we do a workshop with more members of your team. This is the fun part! During this workshop, your team will each have temporary CoLab licenses and participate in a sample design review. You and your team will be guided through key features and use cases right inside the CoLab platform.

Ready to get started with CoLab?


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