Nesting Software | 9 Insider Tips to Benefiting the Most from a Demo

Preparing for a Nesting Software Demo

Preparing for a Nesting Software Demo

It seems natural to start requesting demonstrations of nesting software when you begin your research for a nesting software package.  The objective seems obvious. You want to know what the nesting software does and how it works.  And one of the best ways to answer those questions is to see a demo.

Stop.  Before you pick up the phone or fill out that online form to request a demo, there are several things you can do first to make the demo a productive use of your time.  Trust me on this one.  We’ve done a bazillion demos, and the manufacturers who were well prepared came away with clear action items, a clear idea of how it would benefit them, and a shorter, less-stressful acquistion timeline.

So here’s the formula for watching nesting software demonstrations success.

  1. Reserve space and time for the demo  It’s always hard to break away from the day-to-day routine to sit down for a demo, but you do yourself a disservice by not devoting a dedicated time and space for it.  Reserve the conference room.  Close your office door.  Unplug your phone.  You’ll be able to focus and get the answers you need when the time is reserved.  Also, let the software company know how much time you have for the demo.  They should do everything they can to accommodate your schedule.  Additionally, ask how long the demo should take so you can plan accordingly.
  2. Online Demo? Check for internal access.  Many demos these days are conducted online using services like GoToMeeting or WebEx, which means you need to have Internet access and an available long-distance phone line.  Check in advance to make sure these tools are available for you in the space you’ve reserved for the demo.  Some companies, especially military or defense related companies, have restrictions on Internet access, so it’s always good to check.
  3. Prepare your technical shopping list.  When you’re watching the demo, have a “shopping list” in mind or at hand.  What are trying to evaluate when you see the software?  Divide your shopping list in two – “gotta haves” and “wish list.”  Are you looking for certain features?  This is important – what would those features do for you?  Retain existing capabilities?  Improve time or material use?  Knowing why you want something is just as if not more important than knowing what you want.  A good recommendation is to visit the software company’s website before the demo and review what they say about their products and services.  This should prompt ideas for good questions to ask.

  1. Begin to plan your purchase justification strategy.  Nesting software is unique in that it is not just a utility software that helps automate a process.  It is a money saving, money generating tool.  And as such its purchase can often be justified by the dollars saved in material and time saved in programming.  Before you go to the boss to make your pitch – and before you sit down to see the demo – start thinking about how you’re going to sell this to the decision makers.  If you’re at a loss on how to proceed, talk to the nesting software company.  They work with manufacturers all the time to make these justifications.  They will have good suggestions.  If they don’t, move on to the next software vendor.  In the demo, ask about the features they show and how they can be used to justify the purchase.  For example, does the vendor do common cutting?  How can that help justify the purchase? (answer: material savings, programming savings, throughput increase)
  2. Gather the team.  Are you doing the first round of preliminary shopping and then you’ll gather the rest of the team for a second look?  Or should someone from design, estimating, IT, or the executive team sit in on this demo?  If others are involved in the decision making process, ask them to bring their “shopping list” to the demo, and encourage them to ask questions.
  3. Communicate in advance your process interests.  Are you interested in seeing a punch, laser, router, or other demo?  Or would you most like to see just a laser demo?  Sharing your equipment list and your processing priorities (we do everything on the laser or we’re getting a new punch) is most helpful in targeting the demo to your needs, and it will keep from wasting your time needlessly on features and functions that have no interest to you.
  4. What’s your fabrication process like?  Have a quick conversation with the people doing the nesting software demo before the demo day.  Let them know what your day-to-day process is like.  Do you run in JIT mode or do you single part program?  Is your order entry manual or are you “wired” to a sophisticated ERP system?  What in that process is working; what would you like to change?  That’s another big point.  Regardless of the new nesting approach you choose, there will be some changes – probably related to how you get parts in to the software, manage orders, create part programs and/or interface with the machine.  Knowing what you like and don’t like about your current process is a great place to start when you investigate the probable changes that come with new nesting software.
  5. Come with an open mind.  You may see new ways of doing something that you’d never considered before.  It’s best to keep an open mind and ask questions.  Maybe this new process, technology, feature, tool could make a real difference in your operation.
  6. Know what your next step is.  When planning the investigation and possible purchase of nesting software, it’s always a best practice to think a few steps in advance.  So ask yourself, after the demo, then what?  What happens next? If you like what you see, what’s your next step in the process?  (possible choices: another demo, a benchmark, a quote, or talking to customers)  If you have questions after the demo, how do you want to proceed? (possible choices – internal meeting, follow up discussion with the vendor)  And how fast do these things need to happen to be consistent with your timeline?  Note: having a timeline – and sharing it with the vendor – is a good thing.

 

Demos are a perfect opportunity to do quality discovery work to make an informed decision about your purchase.  It’s the ideal time to ask lots of questions, explore new ideas, and learn about best practices and industry standards.  There isn’t a better learning time.  The take away here is that that learning time is best taken advantage of when you do your homework in advance.  If you set your own expectations in advance of what you want to see, do, and learn, you will know what a good demo looks like when you’ve gotten your answers, and have clear objectives after the fact, your shopping process will run very smoothly.  I guarantee it.

Bonus Tip 

And here’s the bonus tip, if you have your plan in place as described above you’ll be far less subject to the direction the software vendor may want to take you – which may not be in your plan.  It’s very easy to get caught up in the “bells and whistles,” if you don’t have a focus on what you’re trying to achieve.

What’s your experience?

Do you have a demonstration story to tell of a lesson learned or a great tip to pass along?  Share your ideas.

For more guidance on a productive discovery process or to discuss a demonstration of Optimation software contact us.

 

 

Notice: This work is licensed under a BY-NC-SA. Permalink: Nesting Software | 9 Insider Tips to Benefiting the Most from a Demo

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