CAD Manager's Newsletter (#241)

9 Jun, 2010 By: Robert Green

CAD Management in a New Economy, Part 2

Evaluate whether the outlook for your company is improving, and cope with changing demands at work.

In the last edition of the CAD Manager's Newsletter, I discussed feedback I've received about the effect of the economy on CAD managers. If you haven't read the last installment, you may wish to do so before you proceed further.

In this issue, I'll share some ideas for predicting recovery at your company — and a few ways to secure your position there — based on the new realities we all face. Here goes.

Reading Economic Trends

CAD managers need to understand that the stressful operational changes they're experiencing, including staffing cuts and increased production demands, won't abate until after the economy improves. Why? Because hiring always lags behind new business activity.

If that's the case, how do you know when things are getting better or worse? Here are the guidelines I've always used, which haven't failed me yet.

Proposal activity. Is your sales department quoting more jobs or being solicited for more proposals? If so, that's an indicator that the market may — and I stress may — be starting to improve for your company. Of course, cranking out proposals is only good if your company actually gets some of those jobs, but generally speaking, more proposals indicate a better economic forecast.

Book-to-bill ratio. Various industries call this metric by different names, but the concept is to compare how many new jobs you're getting (booking) with how many jobs you're completing (billing). A book-to-bill ratio higher than 1 means your company is bringing in more work than it is finishing, which implies growth for the company. Conversely, a ratio lower than 1 means your company is completing projects faster than they are bringing in new ones, and portends bad developments — like layoffs. Read more »

CAD Manager's Toolbox: CAD Content from ThomasNet

The Thomas Register has made its way online, and the venerable publication has more to offer than its print predecessor.

If you've been in the engineering world long enough to remember when information was delivered on paper, chances are you remember the Thomas Register — a huge tome that contained almost anything you'd ever want to purchase.

Well, everything is online now — including the Thomas Register, in the form of But it's better than before, because now you can get CAD data while you shop! Read more »


Do you have a helpful tip or item for the CAD Manager's Newsletter? Send it to me at If I use your tip in the newsletter you'll receive a cool Cadalyst prize!


Cadac Organice Revamps Web Site
Cadac Organice, developer of a SharePoint-based suite of solutions for document management, has introduced a new web site with tailored information for various industries. The site includes a "Try & Buy" section, where visitors can download the various Cadac Organice modules to try those 30 days for free.

Eurocom Launches YouTube Video Channel
Eurocom, a mobile workstation technology provider, recently launched a Eurocom YouTube channel to improve customer relations and enhance customer knowledge about Eurocom products. The first two videos introduce the company's mobile workstation product line and the D900F Panther notebook system.

Open Design Alliance Releases Updated DWG Specification
The Open Design Alliance (ODA), a nonprofit consortium, has made an updated version of its Open Design Specification for DWG files available for public download. This release of the document includes specifications for the file format on which the latest release of Teigha for DWG files, version 3.3, is based.



July 25–29, 2010
Los Angeles, California
SIGGRAPH 2010 — the 37th International Conference and Exhibition on Computer Graphics and Interactive Techniques — will comprise technical and creative programs focusing on research, science, art, animation, music, gaming, interactivity, education, and the web. Read more »

Capture 3D Users Group Conference and 3D Metrology Workshop
October 6–7, 2010
Newport Beach, California
The goal of this fourth biannual conference is to provide tips, techniques, and solutions to improve internal processes in order to maximize return on investment. Topics will include 3D scanning, quality control, inspection, reverse engineering, and more. Read more »


For a complete list of CAD meetings, conferences, training sessions, and more, check out our calendar of events on Are you hosting an event that you would like to include in our calendar? Submit details at least two weeks in advance to

What's New at


First Look Review: Photoshop CS5 Extended
This image and photography editor includes new features that help users create more realistic 3D designs. Read more »

User Profile: 3D Perfected
As a CAD manager, user group leader, instructor, and SolidWorks advocate, Rodney Hall never settles for 'good enough.' Read more »

Bentley Forges GIS Tools to Build 3D Cities
The latest infrastructure-management software enables city officials to model their domains more realistically and completely. Read more »

About the Author

Cadalyst contributing editor Robert Green performs CAD programming and consulting throughout the United States and Canada. He is the author of Expert CAD Management: The Complete Guide. Reach him via his web site.

Add comment

Note: Comments are moderated and will appear live after approval by the site moderator.

AutoCAD Tips!

Lynn Allen

In her easy-to-follow, friendly style, long-time Cadalyst contributing editor Lynn Allen guides you through a new feature or time-saving trick in every episode of her popular AutoCAD Video Tips. Subscribe to the free Cadalyst Video Picks newsletter, and we'll notify you every time a new video tip is published. All exclusively from Cadalyst!

Follow Lynn on TwitterFollow Lynn on Twitter

Download Cadalyst Magazine Special Edition