How to Avoid a Mistake Choosing a Nesting Software Provider

Choosing the Right Nesting Software Vendor

Choosing the Right Nesting Software Vendor

So, you’re thinking about nesting software – either using it for the first time or possibly changing providers.  Great.  You’ve come to the right place for help.  You may have searched the Internet and found lots of companies that sell nesting software.  But how do you choose?  Who does what?  What’s the difference among these companies?

There is a lot to digest when you explore nesting software.  However, the first thing you need to know is that not all nesting software vendors are alike.  Yes, they all sell nesting software, but they come at it from very different approaches.

  • The products are sold with different marketing objectives.
  • They create very different products – all under the name “nesting software.”
  • The products are designed to offer uniquely different user experiences.
  • And the products produce  different results to address different manufacturing needs.

Let’s look at three broad approaches of companies who sell nesting software, and I’ll show you what I mean.

Machine Tool Companies that Sell Nesting Software

If you own a CNC fabrication tool (laser, punch, router, Waterjet, etc.), you purchased it directly from the manufacturer or an authorized dealer.  The manufacturer may have included or offered nesting software with the product – bundled or sold separately.  This is nesting software produced by the manufacturer – or affiliate company – and is typically dedicated to the operation of this machine and/or brand.

The objective of the manufacturer or dealer, understandably, is to sell their equipment.  The equipment is their main line, their focus, and frankly the basis for their profits.  The nesting software, on the other hand,  is a secondary product line, kind of like an add-on to a car.  The car dealer is in the business of selling cars, and he is happy to add-on an extended warranty or super-sized stereo to go along with the car.  The manufacturer like the car dealer – isn’t in the business of selling the add-on product.

This nesting software is a “necessary utility” to make your investment in the machine functional – not optimal – functional.  As a result, the nesting software has utility-like functions, capabilities, and delivers utility-like results.  Think of this like like WordPad, which comes as an accessory with your PC.  You can type a document in it, but most of us don’t use it because it lacks the robustness we need to produce quality-looking documents.  For most of us, we turn to something with more power.

“All Software” Companies

The next type of nesting software is a dedicated software company.  They don’t make any physical equipment, per se; they focus on software.  They typically focus specifically on manufacturing software.  The advantage here is that they are a one-stop-shop for virtually any type of manufacture-aiding software you would like.  They create a design (CAD) software, bending software, estimating software, inventory management software, DNC software, process management and nesting software.

These companies are like a supermarket or WalMart® of manufacturing software.  They operate on scale – selling lots of products in large quantities.  They offer tremendous internal integration among their products.  This is a huge benefit if you only ever want to use their products throughout your shop forever.  For example, I know guys who are diehard “Ford®” or “Chevy®” truck owners.  They will never purchase anything else because they are so brand loyal.  And that’s great if Ford or Chevrolet always offer everything they need.  But that’s a tall order and tough to live up to for any company.  The same would apply to the “all-software companies.”

Looking at it from a different angle, these software companies started their business with one product line, and then added others.  It is that initial product line where they have the most competence, deepest functionality and best support.  Every other product was built to support and extend their initial line of products and extend their profits.  Imagine being really good at producing tool boxes, then going into the business of creating tools to fill the box. It’s a great marketing approach to sell the box and the tools.  But building a box and a wrench are two different processes using two different sets of expertise.  It would be really hard to be a “best in show” at both box and wrench technology at the same time and consistently.  The savvy buyer would be wise to know where their competency lies, and be willing to accept secondary quality on the “add-on” product.

Nesting Software Companies

You may now think that going with a nesting software company would be the way to go.  I’ll certainly leave that to you to decide, but first you need to know that not even all dedicated nesting software companies are alike.  Where those previously mentioned may be distinguished by their marketing – what they sell and how they sell it – the nesting software companies are more readily distinguished by their design of the software and what that means to the user’s experience and the end results.

There are two general types of nesting software produced by nesting software companies.

Manual Nesting Software Companies

The first nesting software company type is manual software.  The design is built around the premise that the human user uses his or her time, talents, and decision making abilities to drive the software and create the nests.  And to varying degrees this is what many nesting software companies sell – the capability for the user to do all of the work.   They sell a tool that can either be used online (software as a service) or downloaded that offers the you, the user, the ability to bring in orders yourself, bring in CAD designs yourself, create nests yourself, and generate code yourself.  There is an exceptional amount of control with this approach to the nest.  You have total control over every operation that you do yourself.

Automatic, Dynamic Nesting Software Companies

The other nesting software company approach is to design automatic and truly dynamic nesting software.  This approach – rather than sacrificing personal control found in a manual process – explodes with nesting flexibility giving the user even more options and control.  With this approach the user has at his finger tips the ability to choose the nesting strategy or strategies as he sees fit – batch nesting, interactive nesting, JIT (just-in-time) nesting, kit nesting.  Further, he can calibrate the system to best meet his nesting priorities material efficiency, programming time, order cohesion, material inventory, throughput – without sacrificing one for the other.  Once the system is commissioned to his specifications, the nesting software is tasked with automatically carrying out the day-to-day operations of building the nests and creating the code.

In Conclusion…

Selecting a nesting software vendor – partner – is a big decision.  It’s important to know the lay of the land, who the players are, frankly where they are coming from in their approach to nesting software and the manufacturing industry.  It’s a critical step in making the best decision and finding the best fit for your specific manufacturing needs and goals.

What have you seen in the nesting software market?  What perspectives have you experienced?  Let us know.

In the meantime, if an automated approach with nesting strategy flexibility is an approach you would find helpful in your business, let us know.  We’d be happy to work with you to design solution best suited to your needs. Contact Us. 

 

 

 

 

Notice: This work is licensed under a BY-NC-SA. Permalink: How to Avoid a Mistake Choosing a Nesting Software Provider

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