CAD Manager's Newsletter (#300)

8 May, 2013 By: Robert Green

Conduct a CAD Management Audit

Are you like an overworked logger, too busy felling trees to sharpen your ax? Take the time to stop and think critically about what you're doing — and how you're doing it.

We've all been there — working so feverishly that we don't have time to fix the problems and bad processes that we know are undermining our productivity. Talk about a vicious circle! In this issue of the CAD Manager's Newsletter, I'd like to make a case for ending this cycle of inefficiency.

Take a breather from the chaos to perform a CAD management audit. I promise that your investment in this effort will pay off many times over in increased productivity and effectiveness. The more carefully you think about what you do, examine the systems you use, and evaluate the methodologies you apply to perform CAD management, the better your performance will be. In fact, I think you should self-audit your CAD management plan at least a couple of times each year to make sure you stay on the right track.

Here goes.

What to Audit?

First of all, I'm not talking about a painful tax audit; I'm talking about auditing your own CAD management processes. Think of an audit as a chance to understand the various factors affecting how you operate, so you can get better at what you do.

So what should you audit? In a word: Everything! But to get the conversation rolling, let's agree on at least the following major areas of CAD management responsibility:

  • Software use and licensing
  • Standards
  • Training
  • Support
  • Budgeting.

Seems intimidating when you think about everything you have to do, doesn't it? All the more reason to examine what you're doing, think about how you're tackling the job, and learn how to become more efficient at it. The audit you'll perform will enable you to accomplish these goals.

Now I'll break the audit down into pieces, provide diagnostic questions for each, and give you some action item suggestions. Read more »

:: CAD Manager's Toolbox

Think More, Work Less

Today's "CAD Manager's Toolbox" item is a different (and shorter) take on today's main feature topic, "Conduct a CAD Management Audit."

Many CAD managers I talk with are in such a rush to get certain work tasks done that they never stop to think critically about what they're doing, their methods, or even whether their chosen solution is the best approach to the task at hand. When I see a CAD manager falling into the "too busy to think about it" trap, I advise the following:

  • Stop what you're doing
  • Think about task requirements
  • Review your approach
  • Revise methods as appropriate
  • Start back up.

This process doesn't have to take long, and you don't have to be Einstein to apply it. In fact, sometimes just a few minutes of clear thought during my lunch break can save me hours of time later. Read more »

Do you have a cool 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

IMAGINiT Tricks Tutorial: Autodesk Software Deployments 101
This article demystifies a time-saving method for rolling out software, and also explains how easy it is to reconfigure a software deployment after it has been built. Read more »

:: Events

Bentley LEARNingConference
May 13–16, 2013
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
This annual user conference, formerly known as The Be Together Conference, has been renamed The Bentley LEARNing Conference. Exclusively for Bentley LEARN subscribers, this conference promises hundreds of workshops and lecture sessions. Read more »

Night School Series: SolidWorks Large Assembly Management
May 15, 2013
6 p.m. ET
This Fisher/Unitech webcast will cover the following SolidWorks advanced applied features:

  • Lightweight, SpeedPak, and large design review
  • large assemblies and configurations
  • assembly structure modification
  • best practices for using large assembly techniques.

Read more »

i GET IT Online Training for Engineers
May 22, 2013
11 a.m. ET
This webinar will show how i GET IT online training for engineers can help improve productivity and better leverage software investments. 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

IMAGINiT Tricks Tutorial: Attach Documentation in Autodesk Inventor
Manage your views correctly, and they'll move with your geometry when the design is updated. Read more »

Femap Tips and Tricks: Create Elements between Coincident Nodes in Femap
The Pick Query capability will enable you to choose between coincident nodes. Read more »

Gstarsoft Launches New CAD Platform, Seeks to Expand Global Reach
Chinese software developer sets its sights on international markets. Read more »

About the Author: Robert Green

Robert Green

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