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Economic Impact Study Measures Value of CAD Drawings Catalog Libraries

(September 06, 2001)
A two-phase study released today answers key questions about the effectiveness and value of including drawings and technical product specifications in Thomas Register of American Manufacturers PartSpec and PlantSpec CD-ROM's, two libraries of manufacturers' catalogs including downloadable computer aided design (CAD) drawings and technical product information.

According to the Thomas Register CAD Economic Impact Study, a large market exists for including parts in CAD part libraries for both original equipment manufacturers (OEM) and maintenance, repair and operations (MRO) industrial marketers. The total dollar value of parts inserted into designs from PartSpec/PlantSpec is $5.7 billion per year; $4.3 billion is OEM purchasing; and $1.4 billion is MRO purchasing.

In addition, this study reveals that PartSpec/PlantSpec is the overwhelmingly preferred CAD library source for industrial design engineers. Key findings follow:

-- When a part from PartSpec/PlantSpec is inserted into a design,the probability that the design will be produced, and the exact part will be purchased and used in production is 76 percent.

-- A total of 10.1 million parts are inserted into designs from CAD part libraries and other sources each year and 5.0 million of these parts are from PartSpec/PlantSpec.

-- On average, half of the parts that CAD part library users insert into designs are from PartSpec/PlantSpec. Engineers using PartSpec/PlantSpec work on a total of 306 designs per year and they download or insert 168 parts into these designs from all sources.

-- Companies save 317 hours a year by inserting PartSpec/PlantSpec parts into their designs. The individual engineer saves 84 hours per year. The dollar value of this time savings to companies is $9,791 per year.

"This study proves that companies who have their drawings in CAD libraries have a presence on engineers' desktops, and those drawings specifically in PartSpec/PlantSpec have an even greater percentage of becoming integrated into engineers' work processes," said Tina Gaffney, director, marketing research, Thomas Register of American Manufacturers. "These are the companies who are reaping great rewards with a large percentage of their parts being specified and purchased, while their competition loses a huge piece of the market."

Clark Marketing Research Group, LLC, a marketing research agency based in Rocky Hill, Conn., developed and implemented the study. The first phase consisted of five focus groups and individual in-person interviews with engineers throughout the Northeast who use Thomas Register's PartSpec/PlantSpec. The second phase consisted of a month-long Internet diary study of 86 engineers' CAD part library usage and a telephone survey of 250 engineers who requested PartSpec/PlantSpec on CD-ROM.

The CAD study allowed Thomas Register to examine how engineers are using CAD part libraries and understand how parts are specified and purchased. The study concluded that PartSpec/PlantSpec is a win-win situation for the engineers, their companies, and for industrial marketers. Engineers enjoy considerable time and cost savings, companies save money, and advertising companies gain a distinct competitive advantage because their parts are specified and purchased.

"Thanks to PlantSpec, Hurst has gained a distinct competitive advantage," said Jeff Hurst, vice president of sales, Hurst Boiler and Welding Co., Inc., of Coolidge, Georgia. "We give a lot of credit to Thomas Register for getting us out there in front of the designers and engineers at the initial, crucial design stage. They've helped us become one of the fastest growing boiler companies in America."

PartSpec is distributed to 90,000 subscribers, and PlantSpec to more than 35,000 subscribers. Both are available to a million plus users through

Thomas Register of American Manufacturers is a product of Thomas Publishing Company, an acknowledged leader for over 100 years in providing product information and product information management systems to meet industry needs via a broad range of mediums including books, magazines, Internet, CD-ROM's, newsletters, e-commerce and virtual back office systems.

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