CAD Manager's Newsletter (#248)

22 Sep, 2010 By: Robert Green

:: Your New CAD Management Plan


With economic recovery in sight, now is the time to develop strategies for budgeting, growth, and user training.

Let's face it: the last couple of years haven't been easy for anyone, let alone CAD managers. Chances are you've spent less time on CAD management and more time supporting projects, all while stressing about possibly losing your job. This type of "just get it done" CAD environment doesn't lend itself to proper CAD management planning, does it? Well, sooner or later the economy will have to get better, and we'll all wish we'd planned better for our futures.

In the next few editions of the CAD Manager's Newsletter, I'll share some strategies and tips to help you plan for the new CAD management realities we'll experience as the economy (hopefully) starts to recover. Here goes.

What's in a CAD Management Plan?

In a word: Everything. All the factors related to utilizing CAD in your company are issues you should be thinking about and planning for.

In years prior to the recent economic recession, I would have listed major planning areas as follows:

  • Creation or modification of your budget
  • Creation and delivery of a training program
  • Staff development and evaluation
  • File and data management concerns
  • Evaluation and deployment of software upgrades
  • Upkeep and modernization of CAD standards
  • Upkeep and modernization of CAD-related hardware
  • Delivery of normal technical and production-related support tasks
  • Minimizing last-minute disasters via planning.

Read more »

:: CAD Manager's Toolbox: Peer-to-Peer Training

With these simple strategies, you can improve user knowledge even if you lack a training budget.


"One of the casualties of the economic slump has been our training budget. What can I do to get my training program back on track without any funding?"


Train for free via peer-to-peer training! The key to this technique is to get a few of your motivated power users to share their expertise via "Tips and Tricks" sessions, where they take turns coaching other users on methods that improve productivity.

I've seen various strategies for conducting peer-to-peer training, including:

Monthly meeting: At each monthly status meeting, bring someone up to present a cool CAD productivity tip. Give the presenters plenty of notice, and rotate the assignment so that everybody takes a turn. 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!

:: Resources

CIMdata Compiles Ten Questions to Ask PLM Solution Suppliers
CIMdata, a PLM (product lifecycle management) consulting and research firm, has released a complimentary white paper that discusses questions for companies to ask potential PLM solution suppliers. According to CIMdata, the answers received provide insight into how the supplier's solution will address the company's critical business requirements.

3Dconnexion Updates 3D Mouse Driver for SketchUp
3Dconnexion, a provider of 3D mice, has released a free driver update for Google SketchUp. 3Dconnexion's new intelligent 3D navigation feature automatically follows the point of interest to continuously determine the optimal center of rotation when controlling spin, tilt, and roll motions. The latest driver update also streamlines the 3D mouse user interface with a pop-up menu to centralize all 3D mouse–related options.

ESRI Releases Open GeoServices REST Specification
ESRI has released the GeoServices REST Specification, which provides a standard way for Web clients to communicate with geographic information system (GIS) servers through Representational State Transfer (REST) technology. As a result, developers can expose the GeoServices API request structure from ArcGIS Server and other non-ESRI, back-end GIS servers or processors.

Rapidform Launches 3D Scan-to-CAD Conversion Service
INUS Technology, the maker of Rapidform 3D scanning software, has launched a service that automates the process of creating complete CAD models from 3D scan data. InvisHands converts the polygon mesh file from the user's 3D scans into one of many CAD formats.

Expert CAD Manager book by Robert Green

:: Events

Webinar: How Tyson Foods Develops Better Products
September 28, 2010
2:00 p.m. GMT
Kimberly Glenn, director of research and development for Tyson Foods, will lead this Oracle webinar titled "How Tyson Foods Ensures Compliance and Develops Better Products More Efficiently." Attendees can learn how the company leverages PLM (product lifecycle management). Read more »

Bentley Plant User Group Conference
October 6–8, 2010
Biloxi, Mississippi
This annual user conference includes hands-on workshops led by Bentley personnel, technology/product updates, keynote presentations by Bentley executives, and user presentations. Read more »

AUGI CAD Camp 2010
October 26, 2010
Wilmington, Massachusetts
AUGI (Autodesk User Group International) CAD Camp 2010 is intensive Autodesk product training that will include four specialized tracks comprising 13 classes. 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: BOXX GoBOXX 1640
Blindingly fast mobile workstation sets a new record in Cadalyst Labs. Read more »

Vectorworks 2011 Makes Leaps in Rendering, BIM, and 2D/3D Modeling
New Service Select subscription program rolls out to U.S. customers. Read more »

Take CAD to the Next Level
Data management systems make good use of design information — within their boundaries. New SharePoint-based solutions deliver data across the AEC workflow. Read more »

SolidWorks 2011 Measures Up
The latest release from Dassault Systèmes features automatic dimension re-arrangement, a part de-featuring tool, and simple sharing of parameter values and equations between parts. Read more »

About the Author: Robert Green

Robert Green

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