CAD Manager's Newsletter (#266)

10 Aug, 2011 By: Robert Green

::  CAD Management on the Rocks Yet Again

Is your position in jeopardy? These tips will help you evaluate your layoff risk and enhance your job security.

Just when you thought your job was safe, tight times are back and CAD managers' jobs are again at risk. In the past two months, I've received numerous reports from CAD managers that their companies are experiencing reduced workloads and are preparing for things to get worse. There's a renewed sense of urgency to reduce overhead and "tighten up" operations — I've even heard of sporadic layoffs.

In this edition of the CAD Manager's Newsletter, I'll provide some insight for those fighting to survive poor economic conditions. And even if things are fine at your company, these ideas can help you become even more secure in your position. Here goes.

Know the Warning Signs

I doubt that anyone in your senior management staff has walked up to you and said, "We are thinking of eliminating the CAD manager's position." Therefore, you figure your job is safe, right? Well, not necessarily. There are a number of warning signs; you just need to know what to look for.

Reduced project load forecast. Has it been a while since you've heard about new projects? Does it seem like there haven't been any project kickoffs lately? Is your company putting out fewer proposals now than in the past? These are warning signs that work will be slowing down in the near future.

Overhead investigation. Are you hearing a lot about raising billable hours and cutting overhead around the office? Has your management told you that you have to spend more time on projects and less on CAD management? If so, consider this a red alert: your company is evaluating who is generating the most billable revenue and who is costing the company money via overhead.

Frequent senior management meetings. Have you noticed more closed-door senior management meetings than normal? Are project managers suddenly being required to produce cost justification and staffing reports? Generally speaking, changes in senior management behavior predict big changes for the company — good or bad — in the near future. In my experience, lots of senior management activity in conjunction with bad business conditions almost always foretells restructuring or layoffs.

Have you noticed these warning signs at your company? If so, what should you do? Read more »

Cadalyst Magazine

:: CAD Manager's Toolbox: Making the Most of 30-Day Software Trials

The best way to evaluate an application is to try it yourself — after you do your homework, that is.

Want to expand your software knowledge by learning about an application you'd never use on the job? Yearning to dabble in rendering, or explore a completely new CAD tool? Trying to determine whether a particular piece of software would make sense for your company, but don't have the budget to purchase a license? The 30-day trial offered by many software providers gives you a month to investigate, learn, and expand your knowledge base — but only if you plan for it.

Here's how to get the maximum value out of a trial version:

Do your reading first. By reading up on the software via reviews, blogs, company web sites, etc., you'll learn a good bit about what is possible and how to approach your trial software period. Take note of any limitations on the trial version: Does it include all the features and capabilities of the paid version? Read more »

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

:: Resources

CGschool Offers Free Live and Recorded Software Webinars
CGschool is offering two new free webinars: Brian Smith of 3DATS will lead sessions about 3ds Max System Resources and the 3ds Max plug-ins OnyxTREE STORM, Onyx2Max, and OnyxGRASS. Registered users can also watch recorded webinars about topics including mental ray, Revit, architectural photography, and Photoshop.

PTC Debuts Free 2D Design-Sketching App for Windows Systems
Creo Sketch is now available for free download from PTC. Creo Sketch is a stand-alone 2D design app that enables users to quickly draw their ideas and add color and other effects. Suppliers, customers, marketing, and sales professionals can communicate their ideas by sharing the digital sketches. Creo Sketch 2D design data can be reused in other Creo apps, such as in Creo Parametric as a trace sketch.

:: Events

BIM Spectrum
August 17, 2011
11 a.m.–5 p.m. ET
Rand Worldwide's IMAGINiT Technologies division will host a free virtual event that will explore how building information modeling (BIM) models are used by those who are involved in creating and managing buildings. Read more »

Design Master User Conference 2011
September 15–16, 2011
Cincinnati, Ohio
At this event, attendees can learn about using BIM (building information modeling) software for the MEP (mechanical, electrical, and plumbing) industry. Read more »

CADWorx & Analysis University 2011
September 19–21, 2011
Houston, Texas
CAU2011 is a global user-oriented plant design and engineering conference now expanded to include Intergraph CADWorx, CAESAR II, and PV Elite. The agenda will include classes, hands-on labs, and user presentations. 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: NEC MultiSync EA232WMi Monitor
LED-backlit 23" display delivers high quality at a great price. Read more »

First Look Review: Autodesk Building Design Suite Premium 2012
Bundle of joy? If you use more than one design solution, this new package could help integrate your workflow and save money. Read more »

Tech Trends: CAD It Yourself
DIYers are moving out of the garage and into view of companies offering sophisticated tools and services that fuel creativity. Read more »

About the Author: Robert Green

Robert Green

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