Chad Jackson

Engineering Executive Chris Weiss on Knapheide’s Selection of Solidworks

November 29, 2010

Today we’re going to hear from another manufacturer about their selection of a different CAD application: Solidworks. I had a chance to talk with Chris Weiss, the VP of Engineering at Knapheide Manufacturing, about a number of issues. In the following excerpt, he talks about the decisions process his organization went through selecting Solidworks.

Engineering Executive Chris Weiss on Knapheide’s Selection of Solidworks

So far in this blog, we’ve heard from Howard Schimmoller talk about Windchill at Lockheed Martin’s MS2 divisions, from Aaron Solet talk about the selection of Solid Edge at Lanco and Dr. Andrew Thomas talk about the selection of Solid Edge at Energist. Today we’re going to hear from another manufacturer about their selection of a different CAD application: Solidworks. I had a chance to talk with Chris Weiss, the VP of Engineering at Knapheide Manufacturing, about a number of issues. In the following excerpt, he talks about the decisions process his organization went through selecting Solidworks. But before we get to that, here’s some background on Knapheide Manufacturing.

The Knapheide Manufacturing Company produces steel service truck bodies and platform/stake style truck bodies. It primarily offers wagons for farmers, as well as line bodies, crane bodies, dump bodies, service bodies, platforms, gooseneck platforms, hoists, tool boxes, and knap packs. The company also produces contractor, landscaper, knap-kap, KUV, KSS, and westerner storage products. It sells its products through distributors in the United States. The Knapheide Manufacturing Company was founded in 1848 and is based in Quincy, Illinois.

In short, Knapheide is a small to mid-sized manufacturer. And that certainly colors what they need in a supplier of CAD software. The interview excerpt itself is roughly two minutes long. Listen below.

For those that can’t listen or just want a quick read, here are the takeaways.

 

  • 00:15 – Chris talks about how they created a matrix of the key characteristics they needed from a software supplier. Sheetmetal modeling and integration with nesting software was important.

  • 00:50 – They sent out the list of characteristics to pretty much every CAD software provider in the industry. They also provided some sample parts that they design on a day-to-day basis to create in the CAD software.
  • 01:20 – Chris thought it was a good process because you not only find out who technical has good software but you also find out who is going to be your partner between the parent software provider and the reseller.
  • 01:40 – Chris talks about being a good partner back to the software provider and reseller also by talking with other companies and sharing their experiences.

What I found most interesting about this excerpt is the emphasis that Chris, as an engineering executive, places on the partnership aspect of selecting the right CAD software application. I think this perspective comes from knowing that no software application is going to be perfect. But it’s how the software provider and the reseller reacts to issues and problems that makes a difference. And this certainly is important given the critical role that the engineering organization plays in the health of a company.

My question today isn’t necessarily on CAD software itself, but more so on how important are your resellers to your success as an engineering organization? Sound off. Let us know your thoughts.

Take care. Talk soon. And thanks for reading.

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