Engineers Say THIS Is the Most Important PART of Their Online Search

There are many ways to search for supplier parts—however, one way surpasses the rest: direct access to CAD data on a manufacturer’s website. Oftentimes, engineers will not consider a product until they review critical CAD data, because it is so informative to the performance and fit of the part and assembly. By having ample CAD/BIM models available online for potential customers to analyze and evaluate, manufacturers can provide engineers with what they need at the beginning of the purchasing process.

A CAD drawing is a computer-aided design that leads to more significant steps within a project. CAD drawings include the necessary, more refined details than the initial design drawings/ideas, and they’re crucial for engineers because they convert something from an idea to a visible, digital format.

Marketing to Engineers: What are Form Fit and Function models?

Securing sales by providing the necessary details up front

While suppliers can focus on selling products directly, providing CAD drawings is key to increasing industrial and architectural component part sales. More than 70 percent of engineers shopping for parts will choose one supplier over another if the supplier provides native CAD/BIM models. Therefore, having CAD/BIM data available for review by potential customers is a critical factor in keeping them engaged online.

Research also shows that 80 percent of design engineers bounce before contacting component suppliers with limited CAD/BIM data available online. Therefore, manufacturers must provide high-quality CAD drawings for potential customers up front. There needs to be full transparency.

Preventing extra costs by having the correct CAD files

But even after engineers review CAD/BIM models online, do these files help turn a product into a purchase?

CAD/BIM model downloads have become a significant predictor of future sales. While it is difficult to track the profitability of file access, recent survey data shows that, on average, a model download will convert to an actual sale 82 percent of the time.

What Engineers Expect from Manufacturer’s Websites; 3D Part ContentFurthermore, for the engineer, designing a product without a specific CAD drawing can be costly and risky. They need to know exactly how the product will fit and perform within their larger design. It is cheap and easy to test and fit multiple components in the design stage, but it becomes very costly later in the process when designers need to purchase, ship, and test a physical product. Manufacturers should structure complex CAD models in a way that others can easily understand.

Increasing productivity is the goal of any manufacturer, and that is ultimately what technology should provide. Digitization makes it easier to identify errors and correct them earlier in the process. The visual representation of a finished product in a virtual environment gives engineers the ability to be more realistic with their design.

Not only is this necessary information for the engineer, but it is also important information for the purchasing department. In some cases, engineers may remodel the part if a supplier doesn’t have available CAD demos online. This can result in costly mistakes, and it can mean lots of reordering. This can be an even bigger problem because of today’s supply chain challenges causing delays.

Engineers Say THIS Is the Most Important PART of Their Online Search

When selecting products for a design, engineers need features like online product configurators, detailed product information, PDF data sheets, and native CAD model downloads. This content enables them to learn everything they need to know about the product they are evaluating.

Interestingly, according to a recent study, a “simple and easy to use website” is the most important factor for engineers searching for supplier parts online. A company website is the foundation for many of a manufacturer’s marketing strategies. If the navigation, structure, and design of a website are not intuitive it defeats many other marketing efforts.

 Engineers Say THIS is the Most Important PART of Their Online Search

Thinking about the future: Equipping models for Industry 4.0

Because of Industry 4.0, there is a rising demand for more smart design and digital transformation, and it starts with the models provided by component manufacturers. Access to high-fidelity CAD/BIM models with rich data aids engineers in the next step of the fourth Industrial Revolution. Moreover, it is a sure path to a more efficient design process, allowing for higher customer satisfaction.

Knowing the standard of products available from a supplier saves engineers time and money. It empowers them to make educated decisions by seeing what meets their design specifications.

Overall, there is compelling research for including downloadable CAD/BIM material on a site. The majority of CAD/BIM downloads lead to a sale, and this practice provides the level of detail engineers demand.

The Industrial Sales & Marketing Report

6 Digital Essentials for Selling to Engineers & Architects

We asked 128,000 engineers and architects, how they choose and specify the products they buy.

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Adam Beck

Director of Marketing at CADENAS PARTsolutions | A Marketing graduate from the Miami University, Farmer School of Business in Oxford Ohio, Adam has years of experience in marketing and design for a variety of industries.