Communication – From concept to fab details, why keeping your customer involved is so important
I have heard it too many times when working with a new customer:
“The company we used previously just didn’t communicate, we ended up with an engineering design that didn’t match our needs or expectations.” The customer finds themselves with poor results because the engineering firm didn’t keep them involved from the beginning. Especially during the age of technology, keeping close communication with your customers could not be easier. There is no excuse not to.
From project kick-off to delivery of a 2D drawing package for fabrication/construction, a successful project will have involved the customer numerous times over the life of the project.
Many projects start with a concept that needs nurturing throughout the process of bringing it to life. Many engineering concepts are developed in 3D CAD software such as Solidworks or Inventor. Saving out image files from the developing model is very quick and easy, transferrable via. email, and can be used as a perfect communication tool with the customer. Critical feedback can begin within a week or two of the projects’ start, minimizing rework, and keeping the project firmly within expectations.
Don’t forget to build time into your project for on-site visits. Nothing beats sitting down at the table with the customer. Encourage your customer to include other key team members besides the engineers, such as the maintenance lead and operations personnel. Valuable information can be communicated from those who will be responsible for running and maintaining the process.
From start to completion, constant communication with your customer throughout a project is the best way to ensure that you don’t deliver the design they didn’t want or expect. Plus, it’s surprising how much you will learn along the way.