You’re catching errors in pilot builds that you could be catching in design review.

Join the engineering teams are transforming the way they work

Picture this: after months of new product development (NPD), you’ve reached your first pilot build. Pretty soon you’ll be launching a new product to market. Exciting, right? Unfortunately for many engineering teams, what comes next can be stressful. Pilot builds late in NPD cycles often uncover dozens of errors, leading to significant rework. Not only rebuilding prototypes, but updating models, redoing drawings, and reordering parts from suppliers.

These rework cycles are frustrating – and they can add months to an NPD cycle. If you didn’t plan for that, then you risk launching your product late (or rushing later stages, like testing).

What if you could cut those late stage errors in half?

The best way to prevent late stage errors is to catch them earlier. Before you ever start a pilot build, you probably complete dozens of design reviews – with CAD models and, later, drawings. By making those reviews more effective, you can design out errors, before they pop up in a build.

Here’s a stat that might surprise you:

We surveyed 250 engineering leaders and they told us they believe that 60% of late stage errors could be prevented by improving design review quality.

How to improve design review quality and catch more errors

What’s preventing design teams from catching more errors earlier in product development? It all comes down to how teams approach design reviews throughout their stage gate process – during stages like early design, detailed design, and/or design validation.

One of the biggest issues is that documenting and tracking design review feedback is too admin intensive.

Did you know that 43% of feedback generated in design reviews is never documented or actioned? That’s a lot of opportunities for an error to slip through the cracks (and pop up later, in a pilot build). Here’s what’s causing it:

  • Feedback is captured in handwritten notes, Excel spreadsheets, and emails – without any context to help clarify design intent. This makes it impossible to follow up later.
  • Sometimes, the engineering team goes through the trouble of taking screenshots of CAD, so reviewers can mark them up in Powerpoint. But these screenshots can quickly become out of date.
  • If feedback requires more discussion, that often happens over email – with no centralized tracking, it’s really easy for things to get lost.

This is why, when you do a review in CoLab, the software tracks and organizes everything automatically for you, as a byproduct of doing the work. Through automation, we’re helping engineering teams action the 43% of issues that normally slip through the cracks.

Kraken Robotics resolves 10,000+ design issues, while automating 25% of their design review process
"It gives me a place to collaborate with my team on issues. We can debate changes right on the discussion thread for the issue itself until we come to a resolution. Then we’ve got an automatic record of our decisions right there. We document histories of everything automatically just by doing the work."

Greg Walsh
Project Manager
Kraken Robotics

To catch more errors, you need to tap into more people’s expertise. But key people are often left out of reviews.

Design quality can’t be the sole responsibility of the engineering team. Cross functional experts on other teams like manufacturing or quality can help you catch more errors. Unfortunately, many teams don’t involve cross functional partners or suppliers in early reviews. And even the teams that do report getting little to no feedback. For example, only 20% of engineering teams report that they get useful design feedback from most or all of their suppliers.

Most teams realize that cross functional feedback is valuable, but there’s no good way to get it:

  • Meetings are hard to schedule: You can organize a big meeting, but it can take weeks to align everyone’s calendars. Outside of meetings, cross functional team members often don’t have access to CAD. 
  • Drawings aren’t done yet: Cross functional reviewers are usually left waiting until there’s a production drawing. But at that point, a lot of design decisions have already been locked in. 
  • There’s no good way to share CAD: The few teams that do try to bring cross functional SMEs into the design process early are stuck using workarounds, like Powerpoint slides with CAD screenshots. These workarounds are not only a pain to set up, they’re a pain to keep track of. What happens when there’s a new version of the CAD? The whole PowerPoint becomes obsolete in a second.

There’s a better way:
With CoLab, you can securely share the latest revision of CAD with anyone - whether they have a license or not. That means cross functional SMEs can review a design in 3 easy steps:

  1. Receive an invite to CoLab via email and click the link
  2. Open a web browser like Google Chrome and immediately start browsing the model and looking for errors
  3. Drop a pin straight on the model geometry and write a comment. That comment will be automatically tracked, without anyone needing to copy it into a spreadsheet.

Engineering teams are already preventing entire rework cycles with CoLab.

By making it easier for SMEs to participate in design review and automating how you capture and track feedback, you could prevent up to 43% of issues from even happening.

See how it would work for your team. Get a custom demo:


Deliver better products, faster.