CAD Manager's Newsletter (#370)

13 Sep, 2016 By: Robert Green

A plan to grab the budgeting bull by the horns, and more.

Budgeting for Success

You might hate budgeting, but it's crucial to making sure you and your users have the tools they need.

Editor's note: Until Robert Green returns, we'll be revisiting a few classic CAD Manager columns and their timeless advice. This column was originally published on October 1, 2008.

I know that many CAD managers — perhaps you're one of them — hate preparing budgets. They put off budgeting until the last minute, and consequently it is an error-prone process for many. I'm making it my mission this month to change your mind. No matter how much you think you hate budgeting, I want to get you pumped up to prepare a great budget document.

Why should you care? Because without money, nothing happens! If you don't ask for money, you certainly won't get it. Budgeting is simply what you must do to get things done for your department, your users, and yourself. Let's get to work.


Think about Your Needs

A great budget starts with a needs analysis to ensure that you account for everything you require. This needs analysis can take some time, so get started now. Continue thinking about all your needs for a couple of weeks to make sure you haven't forgotten anything. Here are a few hints to get you started:

Consumables. Printer cartridges, paper, backup media, memory sticks, toner, cleaning supplies, and pens. It's easy to miss this stuff, but it all adds up to big money over the course of a year.

Annual contracts. Software subscriptions, maintenance agreements for hardware, reprographic contracts, etc. These big-ticket items are very embarrassing to overlook.

Training. Training for your users, for yourself, and for partner firms. Training budgets are dynamic, but you must ask for training to get it. Be sure to include training for your professional development, because everything you learn can be leveraged to provide greater user efficiency.

Hardware. Even if your information technology (IT) department handles the hardware, you'll do well to include your budgeted hardware needs in your own budget or make sure that the IT department does. IT departments that don't work closely with the CAD staff tend to under budget for graphics cards, monitors, RAM, and disk subsystems. Paying attention to your hardware budget will help you acquire the high-end tools you need to run CAD well.

Software. This category includes purchases beyond subscriptions. Think about new software packages, expensive 3D upgrades, and even software utilities. Be creative here and include everything you think might be coming at you during the next year, and don't forget that many software products require a license for each user.

CAD management itself. Many CAD managers find themselves stretched to perform so many different tasks that making time to perform CAD management duties takes a backseat to other priorities. If you budget your own time for providing support, training, creating standards, troubleshooting software issues, or doing any of the myriad activities you do, you might actually get management's support for what you do. Read more »

:: Resources

SolidProfessor Offers 20% Training Discount This Month
Cadalyst readers can receive a 20% discount off all SolidProfessor annual memberships (standard prices $329–$639, depending on level) with the promotional code CADalyst20. SolidProfessor provides training courses in subjects including SOLIDWORKS, AutoCAD, Onshape, and 3D printing. This discount is only valid during September 2016.

Gstarsoft Updates Free Mobile CAD Client
Gstarsoft has released version 2.2.0 of the iOS version of DWG FastView for Mobile, a DWG-compatible CAD viewer app. Users can view, create, edit, save, and share DWG/DXF drawings with an iPhone or iPad. Drawing tools include Line, Polyline, Circle, Arc, Text, Revcloud, Rectangle, Sketch, and Create Notation; editing functions include Copy, Move, Rotate, Erase, and Scale. An Android version is also available.

Updated BIMx Offers Full BIM Data Access
GRAPHISOFT has announced building information and modeling (BIM) presentation and communication app. The free version of BIMx now provides access to the full set of project information, including 2D documents, 3D models, and any nongeometric data incorporated into BIM. The paid version of the app, BIMx PRO, now provides an on-demand measurement feature on iOS.

Autodesk Launches PLM Hub
Autodesk has launched a new site intended as a repository of product lifecycle management (PLM) information. The hub explains some of the benefits and capabilities of PLM, and offers videos, whitepapers, and ebooks on the subject.

:: What's New at

Override XREF Objects That Are Not Set to BYLAYER
Have you ever tried to change the properties of an object within an external reference that is not set to BYLAYER? If so, you know that just doesn't work! In this video tip, Lynn Allen shows you how the XREFOVERRIDE system variable can come to your rescue. Watch the video »

Tetra4D Update Enriches Creation of 3D PDFs
For Tech Soft 3D, the addition of export support for STEP AP242 format is another step toward the goal of perfectly packaged 3D data. Read more »

Bentley Site Design Software Speeds Completion of World's Largest Yogurt Plant
SITEOPS software helps design 200-acre site to facilitate delivery of a 1-million-square-foot project within tight time constraints. Read more »

Style Library Manager Migration Fixes for Inventor 2016
IMAGINiT Tricks Tutorial: When using the Style Library Manager to migrate a previous version style library to Autodesk Inventor 2016, the resulting migrated Style Library will be set to Read-Only, preventing the copy of styles across two different libraries. This tutorial discusses two solutions. Read more »

About the Author: Robert Green

Robert Green

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