Bailey was founded in 1948 and has been trading successfully out of Bristol ever since. It’s the longest established name in the caravan industry in the UK.
It was purchased by the Howard family in 1973 and in that intervene period we’ve grown to become the largest caravan brand in the UK with one third of the caravan market. During the recession we started making motorhomes as well and currently have 17% of the motorhome market in the UK. We want to have a good quality product and ensure the consumers requirements are met totally, but also to have an exciting product.
Previously, before we had SolidWorks, we were operating in 2D AutoCAD which was very hard to visualise the layouts within the caravans and motorhomes. What we had to do previously was build prototypes which inevitably changed throughout the design process. SolidWorks has allowed us to fully visualise the product before we go to the effort of building anything at all so it’s hugely helped efficiency wise, probably an 80% increase.
From a whole business perspective clearly there’s an operational side, in terms of generating more accurate drawings, but at the other end of the business for our customers to understand. Through focus groups with the retailers and consumers, for them to be able to see what the design teams are proposing.
We profile the consumer and what SolidWorks has allowed us to do is actually model everything we want them to take away. We have ergonomic people that we put within those models and we make sure the usability meets their requirements so it’s helped hugely.
As we make our designs more exciting and more in tune with the market requirements, the retailer and the consumer both have the opportunity to visualise those early on. We can do more preselling, we can get people more excited about the product and that will naturally generate more sales.
Design resource has gone from 6 to 36 within the team so we’ve gone from 3 to 21 licenses. Output from the team is hugely increased, we’re starting to give outputs to the marketing team, that they didn’t expect previously, so rendered images and foresight to consumer groups, focus groups and dealers.
One of the outputs we’re looking at is SolidWorks Composer which takes the raw data from SolidWorks, and it helps us translate that easily into animations and exploded views to support production builds and give a step by step instruction to the workforce.
Implementing SolidWorks EPDM has really helped us to manage our data, especially stopping losing file references and officering drawings is a lot easier now. The bulk of our furniture inside the vans are wooden construction and we use weldments to generate cut-lists. We use SolidWorks Simulation to verify the designs of some of our components. We can reduce weight where possible and make sure it’s going to be strong enough. If we can take out material and take out weight we can reduce costs.
Cadtek came on-board over six years ago and they’ve really cemented the growth of computer aided systems in design within the business. We’ve seen terrific growth in our use of CAD systems, especially in the last twelve months with the new team were developing at Bailey, and really Cadtek have been a really strong partner in that development.
Jason, who’s my CAD manager, has had support all along the way. We’ve had training that’s been offered to the growing group and certainly the vault enterprise was a huge part of that training. The whole package has helped really, the ability to have a secure location for all the documentation including the drawings, the PDF files. Also the bill of materials was very key to us, so the whole package has been fantastic.
Bailey was founded in 1948 and has been trading successfully out of Bristol ever since. It’s the longest established name in the caravan industry in the UK. It was purchased by the Howard family in 1973 and in that intervene period we’ve grown to become the largest caravan brand in the UK with one third of the caravan market. During the recession we started making motorhomes as well and currently have 17% of the motorhome market in the UK.