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It’s automatic baby! A real world example of SolidWorks automation for Calendar Club

Article by Dan Gamsby created/updated January 30, 2011

One of our services team members, Paul, always tells me that “If the customer can do it manually with their current systems, we can automate it!”. By utilizing a combination of programming in the SolidWorks API, Microsoft Office, SQL data management and some elbow grease, Javelin helps companies such as Calendar Club, realize the potential of speeding up, and vastly improving their business processes, from design, through to production.

Calendar Club

Calendar Club

“Calendar Club’s primary business is supporting seasonal specialty stores by marketing a large variety of calendar, game and toy merchandise during the holidays. You’ll find their stores in malls across the country, ranging in size from a small free-standing kiosk to a 6,000 square foot multi-concept Superstore. Based in Southwestern Ontario, Calendar Club started with 2 Calendar Stores in 1993. Seventeen years later, in 2010 they supported over 200 store locations from coast to coast in Canada. Their American Partners have over 900 locations in the US and over 300 international locations in Australia, New Zealand, and the United Kingdom.” (Credit: Calendarclub.ca)

The Challenge

Calendar Club had a challenge.  With a majority of their business being in the holiday season, they needed to develop a system that would allow them to get their product out the door and setup on site as quickly and efficiently as possible. Hundreds of stores would have to be laid out and setup, in a matter of weeks. This included the layout of each store, and the creation of a document (called a Planogram) to be shipped with their product for assembly.  They had a combination of Visio and in-house developed software already in place that allowed them to do this, and a very extensive database of information in regards to their product, but they were still challenged to get their designs out the door quick enough.

The Solution

Calendar Club SolidWorks Application

Calendar Club SolidWorks Application

Calendar Club worked with Javelin to develop a SolidWorks application that would read information directly from their SQL database, and create new store layouts, floor gridlines, and an entire library that they could pull their required components from, to assemble their store/kiosk layout.  Built in functionality, such as database updating and validation for their layouts were also incorporated to ensure an accurate design. Once the design was complete, Javelin then automated Microsoft Word to output the design to a ‘planogram’, which is a ‘diagram of fixtures and products that illustrates how and where retail products should be displayed, usually on a store shelf in order to increase customer purchases’ (credit: Wikipedia). This document was to be included with their shipment to aid in the construction of their layout in the actual store or mall space.

The Results

The results of Design Automation in SolidWorks, SQL, and MS Word, for Calendar Club were very positive and immediate.  They were able to replace multiple in-house systems with newer more streamlined technology. The time that it took to create a store dropped 50%, allowing them to now create multiple stores in a day. Design time was reduced 35%-45%, errors were reduced by 25%, and they have realized a 30% cost savings. On top of this, SolidWorks now allows Calendar Club to create photo real renderings for their leasing department to help with gaining new business and spaces, as well as build new store fixtures and communicate better with their fabricators.

Do you need automation and custom programming services?

Calendar Club Kiosk

Calendar Club Kiosk

This is just one example of how our great Services team at Javelin has helped customers realize some real world results in streamlining their business; saving time, accuracy and cost. It’s also always a pleasure to work with fantastic companies like Calendar Club, who have great vision, and understand how they can always improve their business and make it better! Myself, and our team are always willing to meet with you, and discuss how we can help make your processes better and more efficient.

As always, feel free to email me, at dan.gamsby@javelin-tech.com. For more information on Calendar Club of Canada, please visit their website at  www.calendarclubcanada.ca or contact them at 1-866-550-4455

Have a great winter season!

– Dan

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Dan Gamsby

Dan Gamsbys is currently Executive Producer of Javelin Reality, with 14 years experience in the CAD software industry. Dan's experience ranges from products with Autodesk (AutoCAD, Inventor, etc) to products with SolidWorks. Dan has extensive experience in the IT field, and is an avid sports, and computer hobbiest.

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