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CAD Manager's Newsletter (#444)

21 Apr, 2020 By: Robert Green


Step Up Standards to Fend Off File-Management Disasters

In the age of CAD Management 3.0, are you struggling with a patchwork of legacy and modern file-management systems? Start improving your situation by considering your company environment.

In the previous edition of the CAD Manager's Newsletter, I began the conversation about standards in the age of CAD Management 3.0 by exploring the psychology of standards. (If you didn't get a chance to read that yet, you may want to do so now so you'll have proper context for this edition.)

I've found that it is human nature to avoid being standardized, so I firmly believe that every standards program needs a good psychological approach. Here, I'll start exploring exactly what to standardize, so you can approach standards in the manner most likely to encourage compliance from your users and yield success. Here goes.

patpitchaya/stock.adobe.com
patpitchaya/stock.adobe.com

Start Out Basic — Really Basic

What do I mean by really basic CAD standards? Filing standards! If you don't have standards for the most basic CAD management problem of all — keeping your design files controlled and safe — then not much else really matters, right? Consider the following aspects of filing standards:

• File locations. Where do your files reside, and how can others gain access to them?
• File permissions. Who can revise files, delete files, and add documents to projects?
• File logging. How do you maintain records of what changed, who changed it, and when?
• File backups. How can you recover after incidents of human error or system failure?

Of course, the answers to these questions can vary tremendously, but perhaps the most important thing to consider is the type of company environment you operate in, as it will always dictate how problems are dealt with. Consider the following types of environments:

• The Basic Company (CAD Management 1.0). Files are stored on network volumes with security, and backups controlled by permissions and automatic backup tools where logging of file revisions is largely done manually.
• The Multilocation Company (CAD Management 2.0). Files are stored in some kind of document control tool or master synchronized set of folders that keeps track of versions and access, with backups performed by IT.
• The Cloud Company (CAD Management 3.0 and beyond). Files are stored in a remote cloud architecture, with security assigned on a per-user basis in the cloud tool itself, and backups are created in the cloud tool as well.
• The "All of the Above" Company (the anarchy that most of us deal with). Files are stored in a variety of legacy and modern systems, with a patchwork of security methods that is partially administered by IT, but supported primarily by a stressed CAD manager.

My experience in the age of CAD Management 3.0 is that most of us work in All of the Above companies; how would you describe your environment?

Management tip: Only by knowing what you need to manage, and what type of company you're in, can you possibly develop basic filing standards that will work. If you skip this step, you'll continue to experience basic problems such as lost files, lost revisions, and branch office mayhem.

Where Does Disaster Lurk?

So where could it all go wrong? How could files be lost? How could revisions be confused? How could unauthorized users gain access to design files? The list of potential disasters is long — and daunting for CAD managers. And while we can never foresee every possible scenario that could emerge, experience has taught me where to look first. Read more »
 


Tools and Resources

ASCENT Publishes Inventor 2020 Milling Learning Guide
ASCENT — Center for Technical Knowledge has released Autodesk Inventor 2020: Introduction to 2D Milling, in print and eBook formats for students and instructors, and in ProductivityNOW for self-paced e-learning. The learning guide teaches key skills and knowledge required to set up 3D models in the CAM environment, and assign the toolpaths needed to generate the code required by 2D milling machines.
 


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About the Author: Robert Green

Robert Green




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