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3 Reasons that Autodesk has Become the Manufacturing Leader

One of the more interesting questions is; how has Autodesk developed to become the leader of manufacturing? For those unfamiliar with Autodesk, the company’s rise and current leadership developing design and engineering software has improved the technical tools and helped manufacturing.

Autodesk Manufacturing Leader
Most people who are in the business of manufacturing know Autodesk created the groundbreaking 2D Autocad, the first real mainstream CAD system. This started the growth and development into today’s use of 3D CAD and CAM for design and manufacturing. From here the company started to go in a new direction. Anyone who has looked at the Autodesk portfolio will see that Autodesk is focusing on providing both width and depth in a total solution of software for their customer base. Autodesk is setting the gold standard for selling and supporting the entire manufacturing and fabrication world.

There are plenty of individuals at Autodesk who have been a big part of shaping this new industry leadership. The engineers who are creating Autodesk products have switched attention to making a better solution, and CEO, Carl Bass, is the chief “user” of Autodesk products himself.
I would like to suggest that the reason the company is successful can be boiled down to three key principles that make it hard for competitors to compete with Autodesk.

1. The products that Autodesk creates are in sync with what the market needs.
So many times with other software companies, the goal is almost always based around the technology first, followed by the question, do people want to use it? Geeky engineers are dazzled by technology at their disposal and often create something because they can. However, Autodesk is taking a hard look at this. The company is creating ease of use software that can easily be implemented either as a total product solution or as bits and pieces depending on the customer’s needs. The engineers are not sitting in deep hidden caves, but are often spotted testing and making products with their creations at Autodesk’s state of the art manufacturing and fabrication place on San Francisco’s Pier9.

2. Offer great customer service and Product flexibility.
Even if you create products that are easy to use, the variety of things that people want to make creates complexity. Because of this, users may need some hand holding from time to time. Besides relying on their big partner network for support, Autodesk has created a network of support in places like social media. Listening to customer request and concerns has pushed Autodesk to be the front runner offering such things as Desktop Subscription (Pay-as-you-go). Big companies might not value this at the same level as small manufacturing companies, but that is not a coincidence as the company is just as focused on small business. If you want to be a leader, it is not just about keeping the stock market happy, but also to help and support smaller companies into growth. Autodesk does many things to push the design world in a better direction. Most notable is their decision to provide all educational institutions with all their software at no cost. This is helping to create an entire new generation of makers. But also such things as sponsoring free workshops and making software free, such as 2.5D integrated CAM that runs inside SolidWorks and Inventor with support.

3. Autodesk stays ahead of its competitors.
Every industry has their giants, but no one looks at companies such as GM or Ford for direction and innovation in the automotive industry today. They were once considered leaders and might still be giants. This should be one of the fears of Autodesk’s competitors. Those competitors are the GMs and Fords, who have spent enormous resources protecting their customer base. When you spend more time playing defense than listening to your customers, and innovate, there will be a point where customers will look elsewhere for better solutions. With Autodesk’s approach, they are building an exceptional set of tools for everyone in the manufacturing and fabrication industry.
Some of these are:

  • Trusted, high-end CAM such as Partmaker and Powermill from Delcam. HSM, the fully integrated CAM inside Inventor and SolidWorks.
  • Best in class, nesting, waterjet, laser cutting and the magic power of composite from Majestic.
  • The only released CAD in the cloud, Fusion 360, a full CAD package including CAM and 3D Print layout capabilities inside the software.

These three principles may seem a bit simplistic, but as long as they adhere to them, it is pretty likely that will Autodesk continue to grow and command a large share of the manufacturing market.

The design of your world is changing, are you going to change with it?

“To venture causes anxiety, but not to venture is to lose one’s self…And to venture in the highest sense is precisely to become conscious of one’s self.”
-Søren KierkegaardThe design world cadcamstuff



If you are pretty set on holding on to your flip phone, and you are not going to improve your efforts at work because the tools you used in the past did the job just fine, this blog post is probably not for you.

I love the world we are living in. It is fast-moving and it seems like every day offers a new app or a software function you can’t picture living without. It’s change, and though change is good, many times it also can be overwhelming and a little frightening. Design and manufacturing companies are reinventing themselves every day. They are trying to be faster and more efficient; simply, to do more with less. This means that everything around us is changing faster than it ever has, and it has a cost: lots of information, choices and eventually pressure. Even the guy on the factory line is expected to reinvent and streamline processes in today’s world.
How are we supposed to handle all this stress and responsibility? We know that the company we work for has to use the latest software programs and machines. We understand that it has to adapt and move forward. The company has to follow that mission statement and fight for the vision to stay in business. But it is also time for us to change; the times where the boss told us to push the green button and end our shift at 5pm is gone. But it’s not just because we need to hold onto our jobs that we need to change; the human thought pattern has changed. As the companies we are working for are changing to streamline, working smarter and faster, we also have to reprogram ourselves, if not for anything else, to stay sane. The answer is to give ourselves a promotion. We need to “level up”, be welcome to management and leadership: management and leadership of ourselves.

In the book The E-Myth Manager: Why Management Doesn’t Work, and What to Do About It, Michael Gerber shares many tips and tricks, not just how to manage a business, but also how we can manage ourselves through change. See, the two entities have to follow one another; a business cannot change without the people changing.

The Problem: Why management doesn’t work, and what to do about it
The fact is that regular, good old management methods do not work in our fast moving world. There are some new twists: one is the technological revolution, which is forcing us all to do more, faster; the other is the aftermath of reengineering, which is forcing us to do more with fewer people. Our problem is that we are still focused on the old ways where we believe we work for a boss (or we might even call him an Emperor), instead of realizing we are working for ourselves. Lead yourself, manage yourself. This will make you a better and happier employee, and function better as a person.

Via The E-Myth Manager: Why Management Doesn’t Work, and What to Do About It:
Recognizing the myth of management, and the motivation of most managers, is a healthy step toward applying the entrepreneurial mindset to your job, that is: becoming an e-myth manager. But taking action and beginning to reinvent the work that you do is often the hardest step to take. The following rules will guide you in your quest to give up the drug of Emperor dependence. These are the rules that shape your life as an e-myth manager, and consequently, influence your relationship with everyone around you. I call them the Seven Rules of Management Independence. They are:

  1. Know what you want.
  2. Know you have the power to get it.
  3. There can be no causes other than your own.
  4. If you cannot manage yourself you cannot manage anything.
  5. There are no simple answers, only complex questions.
  6. Before it gets better it is going to get worse.
  7. These rules must become the defining principles of your life.

In the book, Michael Gerber (The Emperor) is having a number of meetings with one of his employees. Jack is hard at work for Michael’s company, doing what is asked of him. As many of us, he has pushed limits of his personal life to accomplish tasks that were beyond the duty of his job responsibilities. He gave up his time, often studying into the night and working long hours every day. But with an ever fast-moving world, full of changes, even the smallest bump in the road can turn to total unhappiness. When productivity is down in our department, profits are low, and the joy in our work is gone, it can hit us like a ton of bricks. Change becomes scary. The problem is that we many times have lost our way; we are living someone else’s vision.
Let us explore a few of Michael Gerber’s “Seven Rules of Independence”.

Rule 1: Know what you want…
Start to dream; the truth is that we all get so easily caught up in our daily routines. We need to start dreaming about what we want, dream about what our job should look like, how our family should be; dream about who we want to be as individuals. Then, write it down on paper. Writing it down makes it a vision; this vision is our honest desire.
Our new vision does not mean that we have to quit our jobs. (It might make us do just that; but if it does, everyone is better off anyway.) Our vision is what is going make us jump out of bed in the morning. And our vision can most certainly go hand in hand with the vision of the company we work for. In my company, Autodesk, vision is to be a leader in 3D design, engineering, and entertainment software. If my vision was to spend as much time as possible outside in nature and I hated interacting with computers, that would not align very well with Autodesk’s vision, would it? But I love design and engineering; I am like a kid in a candy store when I get to play with the latest and greatest design software. My vision and Autodesk’s vision align. I know what I want, and Autodesk is the perfect partner in my vision.

Via The E-Myth Manager: Why Management Doesn’t Work, and What to Do About It:

You may be put off by the idea of having to know what you want, and it may take some a while to figure it out. But until you do, you will be no closer to owning your job, to managing your organization, or to increasing your enjoyment of what you do. To fulfill your potential, to be more than a mere reflection of someone else’s vision, it is absolutely essential for you to learn how to match the boss’ intensity, rather than reflect it. And the only way you can honestly do that is through the pursuit of your own vision.

Rule 2: Know you have the power to get it…
People hunger for purpose. Without our own, we are immediately distracted into the misguided belief that anyone’s purpose will do.
We do not want to wake up one day and say to ourselves, “Who am I? Where am I? What happened?” This does not mean that we should totally disregard our company’s strategies or goals; if we are going to keep working for our company, we should work on aligning our vision with our company’s vision. If we are willing to change, we have an incredible power to also change things around us.

Via The E-Myth Manager: Why Management Doesn’t Work, and What to Do About It:
Not only must you be certain of what you want for yourself, you must also be certain that you understand the importance of this statement: “Once you know what you want, only you can get it. You can’t delegate the responsibility for inventing your own life.”

Rule 3: There can be no causes other than your own.
[You have to read the book for this one]

Rule 4: If you cannot manage yourself, you cannot manage anything.
We have to start with ourselves. We have to create a relationship with ourselves as individuals; look at ourselves from above and change to who we want to be. We cannot control everything, but we can engage, connect and change our behavior.

Via The E-Myth Manager: Why Management Doesn’t Work, and What to Do About It:

So to manage oneself, it is necessary to think in terms of standards, and before you can think of standards you must first have a Vision for yourself. This Vision should encompass who you wish to become–Not who you are. But understand, if the person you see in your Vision is the same as the person you are, only doing something different, it is not a Vision, it is a dream. Bill Gates doesn’t dream about Microsoft, he envisions it. He envisions a Microsoft universe. Understand, I’m not talking about the content of Bill Gates’ Vision here; I’m talking about the scale of it. It’s the scale of one’s Vision that shapes one’s life. And so I bring you the idea that there are no small people, only small visions.

Conclusion…
The task can seem overwhelming. We get another design change thrown at our already overflowing calendar, or our boss asks us to solve a problem with the new piece of equipment. But if we are on the edge, and things are piling up a little too fast in our world, it might be a good time to take a break for a few hours and find a quiet place to dream; to create a vision and make the right things happen in our own world.