How long does it take to research new nesting software?

Researching Nesting Software

Researching Nesting Software

Don’t you just hate it when you ask a seemingly straight-forward question, and you get a waffle-y answer like “it depends?”  I think that’s frustrating, too.  But as we know life isn’t always black and white.  And as to the question, how long does it take to research nesting software, the answer really is, “it depends.”

I will cut to the chase and give you a time frame of three to nine  months up front.  But in all fairness to manufacturers, the vendors, and the process, I need to flesh this answer out a bit to make it more constructive for everyone.

There are a number of factors that strongly influence the amount of time it takes to research and purchase nesting software.  Let’s take a look at a few, and you can use this as a checklist to plan accordingly when and if you should take on a nesting software research project.

  1.  Compelling Event – One of the biggest drivers is a compelling event.  Something is happening in the future that is driving the research and decision timeline.  Most commonly that is the purchase and arrival of a new CNC machine.  If it is due in October, there really needs to be nesting software ready and waiting to drive it as soon as it is operational.  It wouldn’t be wise to start the research process any later than three months out from the delivery of a machine for reasons I’ll explain.  Other issues that would drive a timeline are a company merger, new facility, large new contract where more capacity is needed, or a new product line coming on line.
  2. Bad Numbers – Another circumstance that tends to propel a timeline is the continuance or appearance of bad efficiency numbers.  If the scrap rate is too high, the machine duty cycle is too long, the programming process is creating either overtime or bottlenecks, there may be a mandate to resolve the problem by the next quarter or the next fiscal year.  These arbitrary dates hang as an endpoint for the research process.

Drivers of the research process notwithstanding, the actual process usually unfolds in a number of steps, which take time.  The steps for each nesting software vendor under consideration are:

  1. Initial Discussion
  2. Demonstration
  3. Benchmark
  4. Discussions or Visits with Vendor Customers
  5. Proposal
  6. Approval Process

There are a number of time consuming factors in the process.  To what degree these impact the process, creates the variance between a three month and a nine month research project.  The factors include –

  1. Gathering and scheduling the financial and / or technical decision makers for demonstrations
  2. Collecting parts for a benchmark
  3. Gathering the financial and / or technical decision makers for customer visits or calls
  4. Scheduling and visiting a customer
  5. Reviewing the information presented in the demonstration
  6. Reviewing the proposal with all of the decision makers
  7. Getting final approval on the proposal

As you can see there are a number of steps in the process, and they can take time.  This isn’t meant as an admonition, but simply a reality check and checklist.  It’s a means to set real expectations on how long this process can take.

As I often say, most people, most companies are not in the business of shopping, and in this especially case shopping for nesting software.  They have roles, responsibilities, and commitments that need to be addressed every day – then they have time to squeeze in the “nesting software” project.  No matter how high of a priority it may be, it still needs to be managed within the context of a daily routine.  And that means it takes time to work through each research step.

By planning accordingly and managing the project, the process can move very smoothly and quickly.  The best projects start with clear expectations of what’s involved and how long it will take.

If you have questions or would like to discuss the process, contact Optimation.


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