5B scales with new tools and training to meet exponential demand
New tools and the right training help clean technology powerhouse 5B scale to meet exponential demand.
Australian-based 5B manufactures prefabricated rapidly deployable solar arrays, delivering to clients around the world. With its innovative 5B Maverick system - which is faster, more energy dense, and safer to deploy than conventional solar technologies – 5B has experienced exponential growth. To meet demand, they teamed up with Autodesk partner Cadpro to implement new tools, systems and skillsets.
During its start-up phase, 5B outsourced the civil and structural engineering components, allowing its in-house team to focus on systems design. But with increasingly large, complex and sophisticated projects, they needed to build their design capability.
They also needed to optimise their design engineering processes. 5B use Autodesk AutoCAD in multiple areas, from product and assembly design to deployment. But rapid growth meant they needed to standardise its use to gain efficiencies and consistency across drawings and projects.
A larger team also meant that buying one-off licences was becoming complex to manage in-house. AutoCAD licenses were purchased through the Autodesk eStore, and each license sat with an individual. As the company grew, and seats changed, they needed a simpler way to assign and manage a larger number of licences.
5B’s key objective was to optimise their key business operations following a period of rapid growth, and to evolve their capabilities to enable future growth. They had three immediate goals:
- Build a high-performing in-house civil engineering function from scratch to meet the demands of clients with complex projects requiring full civil engineering and schematics. This included implementing a best-in-class civil engineering software tool, and ensuring the new team were trained and up to speed as quickly as possible.
- Optimise their design engineering systems and standards to make them faster, easier and more consistent across projects, so any team member could open a file and start working on it.
- Streamline their software licensing management to reduce complexity, increase flexibility and save time and effort.
To help them achieve their objectives, 5B selected Autodesk specialists and training company Cadpro working with their Sydney office.
To build 5B’s in-house civil engineering capability, Cadpro implemented Civil 3D software by Autodesk, providing customised training and support. Cadpro’s Infrastructure Technical Consultant Jay Joshi explains ‘5B had specific requirements, for example optimising cut-and-fill design to reduce site civil works costs. We trained them with real 5B project data inside Civil 3D to ensure the training was targeted to their needs. We scheduled the training to accommodate their busy schedules and to ensure we helped them develop skills and confidence as quickly as possible.’
To optimise 5B’s design engineering processes, Cadpro’s Training Manager Paul Mokler-Tibbs set up standardised AutoCAD templates. ‘We combined best practice with 5B’s requirements to customise a solution. For example, we linked attributes to drawing data, set up top-level project data, tables, layers and borders, and made sure everything worked properly. Every document is set up the same way, making it much simpler and easier for anyone to work on documents and meet in-house standards.’
To streamline license management, Cadpro also consolidated 5B’s multiple AutoCAD and Civil 3D licences into one centrally managed account. This means that new subscriptions can be added to existing contracts and aligned to one renewal date making it easier to manage and budget for.
'With Civil 3D, we can now compare different civil design solutions for not only our systems but also competitor’s and demonstrate our value proposition with real world engineering numbers. Having solar and civil engineering teams working alongside each other also enables much greater collaboration and innovation. So Civil 3D, and the training and support from Cadpro, are an enabler for business efficiency.’
- Rodrigo Nemer, Senior Technical Sales Manager
5B Senior Technical Sales Manager Rodrigo Nemer explains ‘the strategy we built with Cadpro has enabled us to scale our business and provide a more sophisticated offering for clients with complex technical requirements. Having an in-house civil engineering capability gives us full control over the civil works design, which allows us to optimise the whole installation for huge reductions on overall cost. With Civil 3D, we can now compare different civil design solutions for not only our systems but also competitor’s and demonstrate our value proposition with real world engineering numbers. Having solar and civil engineering teams working alongside each other also enables much greater collaboration and innovation. So Civil 3D, and the training and support from Cadpro, are an enabler for business efficiency.’
Rodrigo explains ‘having a set of standardised AutoCAD templates means we have one source of truth, and all our drawings look the same, demonstrating quality and professionalism. Along with centralised license management it’s freed up precious time that we can use for more important things, like developing new solutions and growing our business.’
Having best-in-class software tools is one thing, but getting the most from them is another. 5B’s strategic partnership with Cadpro has provided not only access to Civil 3D but the specialist training and support required to quickly build an in-house civil engineering capability. They can now do ground analysis and present options in a fraction of the time it previously took using external consultants, enabling faster, deeper, and more dynamic conversations with clients. With Civil 3D they can also present powerful, high quality visual models that bring 5B solutions to life and demonstrate the benefits for clients.
Tailored support from Cadpro to create customised AutoCAD and Civil 3D templates has enabled true standardisation of templates and drawing standards across the business. With everyone now working the same way, the process is simpler, faster and easier and ensures all documents have the same professional look and feel. 5B has ambitious goals, and the project has given them the right tools, capabilities and processes to optimise their offering and deliver continued growth.