CAD Manager's Newsletter (#297)

27 Feb, 2013 By: Robert Green

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No-Budget CAD Management

These simple suggestions will make an impact on your workplace and don't require a dime — just your time.

If you've managed CAD during the past few years of economic uncertainty, you've likely dealt with restricted budgets, unsympathetic project managers, cranky outdated hardware, no time for training, and myriad other issues that make getting the most from your CAD systems a real challenge. Lately I've noticed an uptick in the number of e-mails received from readers about layoffs, frozen budgets, and uncertain project loads, which makes me think that more tough times are ahead.

This brings me to a question I'm often asked: "How can I manage CAD if I don't have the budget to do so?" In this edition of the CAD Manager's Newsletter, I'd like to encourage everyone to consider how you would deal with a no-budget CAD management scenario. Here goes.

Acknowledge Reality

The first thing we must all accept is that when money is tight, money is tight. If your company is in a nonspending mode, complaining about it won't do anything — except get you labeled you as whiner. Think about it from the company owner's perspective; you'll quickly realize that budget restrictions may be the only way for your company to survive the downturn.

When you find yourself in a no-budget environment, it's best to tell your management team that you understand the problem and will do everything you can to keep costs down. While you're at it, make sure they know that just because you can't spend money doesn't mean you can't work to make things better. Explain how you're going to get to work on CAD management techniques that can increase efficiency via careful thought, planning, and wise use of available time — not writing checks.

The ideal no-budget attitude is, "Anything we can do to become more efficient now will make us more profitable when the work comes back!" Try this approach with your senior management staff; they'll be admiring your determination and business savvy in no time. Read more »

:: CAD Manager's Toolbox

Add to Your Library of CAD Management Resources

Sometimes the little things help a lot, and is one of those little things that makes a big difference in my ability to do my job.

Owned by CBS Interactive (which also owns,, and, is a free, membership-optional site that offers a broad spectrum of technology news, reviews, and industry happenings. Since CAD managers are often drawn into the tasks of hardware specifications, troubleshooting, finding utility software, and keeping up with industry news, CNET should be a key part of your arsenal. 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

Free Whitepaper Explores Challenges of Simulation
Italian software developer ESTECO has released a whitepaper that examines the challenges of product simulation. The downloadable whitepaper, "Navigating the New Frontier of Simulation," compares ESTECO's modeFRONTIER process integration and automation platform with traditional approaches, which rely too heavily on manual trial and error, according to the company.

:: Events

Problem Solved Virtual Event
March 13, 2013
10:30 a.m. ET
IMAGINiT Technologies will sponsor this day-long virtual event in which attendees will learn how to address complex operational challenges. Read more »

Bentley LEARNing Conference
May 13–16, 2013
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Exclusively for Bentley LEARN subscribers, this conference comprises hundreds of workshops and lecture sessions. Read more »

May 14–16, 2013
Springfield, Massachusetts
This manufacturing exposition and conference will include resource centers; keynote speakers; panels; and exhibits on growth industries, including aerospace, defense, medical, automotive, commerical machinery, electronics, fabricating, and plastics. New features for 2013 include a panel discussion on workforce development. 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

Cyon Research Wants to Know About Your CAD Use
Cyon Research, organizer of the Congress on the Future of Engineering Software (COFES), has launched its 2013 Survey of Users of Engineering Software. The 40-minute survey aims to gauge your current use of and criteria for CAD and other engineering software. Read more »

Autodesk Unveils New Brand
Said to be "the most significant branding update in the company's history." Read more »

Select Similar Objects in AutoCAD at Lightning Speed
AutoCAD 2011 added the SelectSimilar command, which is a great feature for grabbing like objects quickly and easily. Join Lynn Allen as she shows you all the ins and outs of the command — including how to customize it to get the results you're after! Watch the video »

Control Femap Models with Reference Groups
Femap Tips and Tricks: This capability can help with model organization and visualization control. Read more »

New Product Suite Aims to Ease Operations and Maintenance Handover for Capital Projects
Aconex Smart Manuals helps contractors to organize deliverables and owners to easily access and update records. Read more »

Q&A with Mike DeLacey: BIM and the Rebuilding of U.S. Infrastructure
Microdesk president discusses how technology will support efforts in the coming year to recover from weather disasters and rebuild crumbling bridges and roads. Read more »

Laser Scanning, Visualization Reveal Art from Bronze Age
Archaeologists analyze previously undiscovered Stonehenge carvings with help of Bentley Pointools. Read more »

Windows 8: Is It the Right Call for CAD?
Microsoft's new OS, with its radically redesigned touchscreen interface, could face an uphill climb toward professional adoption. Read more »

About the Author: Robert Green

Robert Green

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