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10 Tips for a Fast & Successful 3D Catalog Launch

Our Technical Consultants share advice for a smooth and fast 3D part catalog launch.

Our Technical Consultants share helpful advice for manufacturers looking to get their 3D part catalog up off the ground and running smoothly.

 

Launching a 3D catalog is a big project – for your team and ours.

Our team of Technical Consultants have 30+ years of combined experience in 3D part catalog development and maintenance. They have seen projects last anywhere from two months to over two years, depending on volume, readiness and accuracy of client data.

How do you ensure your project stays on track?

The truth is, any manufacturer can achieve a fast and successful catalog launch – no matter how big or small the catalog.

When you choose to publish your product catalog with CADENAS PARTsolutions, we lay out a process, timeline and communication agreement to ensure your project stays on track. This is a collaborative process and requires both our team and yours to meet deadlines and provide accurate data.

Here are 10 pieces of advice from our Technical Consultants to ensure your catalog launch goes without a hitch:

 

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Prior to getting started:

1. Provide all the correct product data upfront.

Taking the time to audit and review your data before sending it for production work helps to eliminate rework and correction delays later in the process. This reduces strain on your engineering team throughout the process as we will find fewer issues with the data and have fewer questions as we go. Having all the data for the work up front also keeps the project moving efficiently and prevents delays while the modeling waiting for additional data.
– Dan Koivisto, Project Manager, 10 years at CADENAS PARTsolutions

 

2. Set aside enough time upfront to audit your new catalog data.

Be ready to dedicate some time to the review of the models. We won’t publish anything without your approval, so it’s important that the models be reviewed quickly. While it doesn’t require a huge time commitment to perform this check, it is important that it be done in a timely manner and setting aside a little bit of time to dedicate to this can keep the project moving.
– Jeffrey Abell, Director of eCATALOG Development, 6 years at CADENAS PARTsolutions

 

3. You don’t have to provide all the product data for every part at once.

The number one area that slows down the catalog process is getting good data from the start. If the customer has great data and describes their products very well, the process goes very smooth. That said, if you are launching a 3D part catalog with multiple product lines, audit your data for one product line and submit that before moving on to the next.

Having 2D dimensioned drawings, 3D models and relevant product information helps our team build the recipe in our software and usually results in a fantastic start to their 3D Digital Catalog experience!
– Ryan Boyd, Project Manager, 8 years at CADENAS PARTsolutions

 

 

As we’re building the 3D catalog:

4. Regularly meet with us and ask us questions.

Establish a regular meeting schedule to discuss the progress on the catalog! Our most successful projects are the result of a collaborative effort between our teams and yours. A simple 15-minute web meeting every other week can go a long way to keep the communication flowing and establishing accountability for both teams. When we can discuss questions person to person, this aids in reducing confusion and moving the project forward quickly.

Don’t hesitate to ask questions! We are there for you to answer questions, provide status updates, and do whatever else is needed to deliver a great catalog for your users. Use us!
– Erik Clark, Project Manager, 1 year at CADENAS PARTsolutions

 

5. Have a designated person who handles the day to day interactions with our team.

We will have a project owner on our side to keep communication simple and clear, it will be beneficial to do this on your side as well. This helps to ensure that our questions are directed to the right person to get quick responses and eliminates confusion throughout the project.

On bigger projects where there several different types of products being modeled, you may elect to have more than one designated person to cover specific products based on your engineering expertise and product management. In this case, it is recommended that these designated people be in regular communication for consistency of data and end results. We will help coordinate by setting up regular status meetings to include all necessary stakeholders.
– Dan Koivisto, Project Manager 10 years at CADENAS PARTsolutions

 

6. Get your website developer involved sooner.

In our experience, a lot of the details and ideas come as a result of the website implementation. Don’t wait until all the modeling is complete to find out that your web team has a suggestion to add something to the models to improve the user experience when we can start those conversations early on. If there are changes to be made to the models or data to support a web feature, it’s generally easier and less expensive to add at the start, rather than come back and revisit after completion.

That being said, as we build a catalog, we don’t build it to be ‘one and done’, and we will always work with you to improve and evolve the content. As your audience and feedback group increases, there will always be more ideas and suggestions flowing in, but it is a good idea to get your engineering, marketing, and web teams aligned early.
– Dan Koivisto, Project Manager, 10 years at CADENAS PARTsolutions

 

7. Keep your champion engaged throughout the process.

Keeping the champion engaged also helps move the project along. Catalog creation slows down when your champion either slows down on their review or cannot get us the data needed to deliver a proper 3D configurator. The more engaged our champion is, the quicker catalog creation happens.
– Ryan Boyd, Project Manager, 8 years at CADENAS PARTsolutions

 

 

Nearing the launch date:

8. Try a soft launch with a window of time to make adjustments and tweaks.

Getting a product line LIVE as soon as possible helps everyone involved see that not everything has to be perfect on the initial launch. Many of our customers get stuck on the little things that can be corrected after we launch. We do want the project in its best form at the start; however, we can always make little tweaks as we go.

We have had customers hold up their catalog from going live for years (yes, plural) because the project(s) are not perfectly perfect when most end users would never know there was an issue. Get something out of your investment as soon as you can and we can help make the needed tweaks as we go!
– Ryan Boyd, Project Manager, 8 years at CADENAS PARTsolutions

 

9. You don’t have to eat the whole elephant at once.

If you’ve got a large catalog it can be easy to get overwhelmed – the best approach is to divide and conquer. Establish staggered deadlines for specific product lines or families to break the project down into more easily managed stages. Consider launching the catalog when the first significant portion is finished, rather than waiting until everything is finished. Continuously launching new products is also a great way to encourage people to continue to revisit your site.
– Jeffrey Abell, Director of eCATALOG Development, 6 years at CADENAS PARTsolutions

 

10. Promote your catalog once it’s live and make it easy to find.

Make your catalog easy to find! The greatest implementations of our configurators have multiple-points access on your website. Your catalog can be integrated at all different levels of your site and catalog. The more entry points and paths you give users, the more success you’ll have with it.

Also, be sure you talk about your catalog across all your marketing platforms. This great new tool is a perfect reason for people to come to your site, but they’ll only come if you tell them about it. We can help with this as well – leverage our expert marketing team to help make a greater impact with a press release, success story, video, etc.
– Erik Clark, Project Manager, 1 year at CADENAS PARTsolutions

 

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Tess Sohngen

Content Marketing & Social Media Specialist | Tess Sohngen graduated from Miami University in May 2017 where she studied Journalism, Nutrition and Writing. She has interned as a blogger and journalist for small companies and nonprofits in London, England, New York City, and Cincinnati. Tess lives in Cincinnati and enjoys traveling, hiking, and camping.

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Samtec Inc.

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