Three Ways to Bring Crowdsourcing into Mainstream Manufacturing (Response)

Derek Singleton, a job shop software analyst, recently wrote the article: Three Ways to Bring Crowdsourcing into Mainstream Manufacturing. Collin Kobayashi, owner of 3D Innovations & 3D Academy, thought that Mr. Singleton’s article brought up some great points and wanted to share his own insight into the matter with you.

Derek Singleton’s post: Three Ways to Bring Crowdsourcing into Mainstream Manufacturing blog post.

Mr. Collin Kobayashi’s response:

Innovative ideas are typically reserved for the large companies who invest millions of dollars in R&D.  How do smaller companies or even individuals get into this arena?  Crowdsourcing for Mainstream Manufacturing could be the way.  Here are my inputs on the three areas being discussed:

Ease into crowdsourcing for idea creation

The first obstacle is to gain approval from an industry whose historically kept the doors shut on external collaboration.  My feeling on easing this newly adopted process into discussions with manufacturers is absolutely the correct way to go.  As with most new processes and regulations, people need to be aware of what is coming and provide them with the appropriate training for transition and implementation.

Divide projects to protect intellectual property (IP)

This is probably the most widely discussed concern among innovative ideas.  How do you protect the IP?  There are numerous methods to protect IP both internally and externally so that the “secrets” are protected to the greatest extent possible.  Using a compartmentalizing process may be the best approach, but may not be the solution.  Many innovative products have several areas of cross disciplinary design that make it difficult for integration.  Trying to compartmentalize some areas such as the mechanical, electrical, software, and other design areas could prove difficult and in some cases, make controlling IP a true nightmare.   I believe this process of segregating tasks needs to be done in a methodical manner in order to successfully implement external collaborators.

Create a single file sharing system for design files

Aside from IP or other security issues, the other main challenge for project collaboration is the design platform of CAD (Computer-Aided Design) software being used.  The idea of having a single CAD platform across all users has been the ideal situation for many small and large businesses alike.  Adoption of this process could delay or keep project collaboration on schedule.  Many companies have faced this issue with the integration of 2D to 3D design.  Which program do we use? How do we migrate legacy data? This has even become an issue with companies who have multiple offices/divisions of their company at various worldwide locations. If project collaboration were to occur, there would indeed need to be a standardized process or program used for the duration and lifecycle of the projects design and manufacturing data.  While there are many design and CAD programs in the world of product development, there are equally as many in the manufacturing industry.  Would this become an issue with this industry as well?  in the short term, probably not, but with crowdsourcing gaining traction and a fast pace, there could be a similar need for the creation and storage of manufacturing design data.

Would you like to discuss this topic further with Collin Kobayashi or do you have questions? Please e-mail info@3d-innovations.com

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