Every year at this time, the best and the brightest in the Moldflow community gather in a handful of locations across Europe. The event is called CONNECT! and as the name implies the goal is to share openly about experiences, successes and struggles within the Plastics and Advanced Materials industries. I attended the event in Frankfurt which was a packed house of over 170 attendees. It’s hosted by MF Software, a Gold Partner for Autodesk and reseller of Autodesk Moldflow.
This years event had a number of presentations from customers as well as a very well known researcher in the area of fiber orientation, Professor Charles Tucker. The topics ranged from conformal cooling, to light weighting to advances in research and development. One thing that sets the plastic injection simulation world apart is that many of these companies are on the bleeding edge of manufacturing. They are constantly pushing themselves to develop higher quality products with faster and cheaper methods. Many are exploring new methods and working with Autodesk simultaneously to develop the method and the simulation methodologies. This poses unique challenges for us as a vendor, but also for out customers. The need to have a tight knit community is essential for all of us to keep the pace that is required.
In addition to the customers and researchers, as expected, Autodesk was there in force. In many cases it was to sit and listen and learn what the challenges are and in other cases, we were able to share where we are going and validate our plans so that we can deliver as much value as possible. We had a variety of breakout sessions, including a town hall style meeting which was broken into smaller groups. I’ve been doing this along time, but have to say the town hall meetings were the most valuable. The community came prepared and had some really interesting challenges that they are trying to tackle. We had members of Product Management as well as the head of R&D present to have open, candid conversations.
We also did something unique this year. We had folks from our User Experience (UX) team attend and they were booked solid with 1:1 interviews showing prototypes of things we are working on as well as gathering feedback on what’s working and what’s not. This is fairly rare in the high end simulation space to take the time to do formal interviews on workflows and general UX. Autodesk kicked started this aggressive approach at Autodesk University last year where we had a team of UX professionals interviewing customers for the four days we were there. The feedback was amazing and helped define alot of where we are headed this year.
The team is headed to Paris for tomorrow’s event. I am looking forward to hearing the feedback. I was proud to be a part of the event. Our customers are doing amazing things and our team is working very hard to deliver on our promise of Customer First.