CAD Manager's Newsletter (#156)

9 Aug, 2006 By: Robert Green

Untitled Document

Outsourcing, Part 1

Outsourcing can affect your business in ways you may not have thought of.

In the past four issues of CAD Manager’s Newsletter (click here for archives), I discussed approaching the CAD management job from a financial angle. I hope you found the series useful and that it gave you a few practical ideas you could use in your day-to-day CAD management tasks.

An important topic related to CAD management finances that I have not yet touched on is outsourcing. Because outsourcing involves many more issues than just financial ones, I am devoting my next few discussions to this increasingly common business strategy. As pressure to save money mounts and cost-cutting alternatives become more limited, it is inevitable that you will have the discussion about outsourcing at some point, if you haven't already.

In the next few issues of CAD Manager’s Newsletter, I’ll cover some ways that you can gauge whether outsourcing is right for you and how to measure it, control it or even avoid it altogether.

It's a Touchy Subject
Outsourcing is a touchy subject because it somehow affects everyone’s job. Most of my readers are in North America and Western Europe, whose economies have high labor costs and generally are losing jobs to outsourcing. On the other hand, I receive at least two calls a week from outsourcing companies in India that go to great lengths to convince me that outsourcing CAD labor to them is the best thing companies can do.

:: CAD Manager's Q&A

I already know AutoCAD (or MicroStation or another program of your choice), but I want to get up to speed with some of the high-powered 3D programs that are on the market. What's the best way for me to do so?

Robert Green replies: This is a good question and one I am receiving more and more as 3D programs become more popular and more common. I think there are actually several answers that I can give you. Let me list them here:

Use what you already know. First, realize that all CAD programs have common components. So start with a positive attitude and realize that once you know one CAD program, you can almost certainly learn another.

Learn fast. Rather than stretching out your learning curve, be aggressive and find ways to learn things quickly. Some suggestions are to take a two-day beginner's course in the new program or perhaps a four- to six-evening course over a few weeks. The point is, try to learn a lot of the material quickly and then put it to use before you forget it. Read more >>

Submit your questions to Robert Green

:: Resource, an AutoCAD help Web site, offers a variety of free downloads such as LISP routines, blocks, text styles, hatch patterns and more. The site also offers tutorials, a user forum, news and a “Treat of the Month,” which can be a spreadsheet, a LISP routine, a CAD detail or other offering that could be of any use to any type of drafting position.

:: Events

Virtual Construction Conference
August 21-22, 2006
Budapest , Hungary
Presentations from such companies as Webcor, Navisworks and Oracle will explore how companies are using Virtual Construction technologies and processes. Read more 

Webcast: The Product Lifecycle Collaboration Benchmark
August 22, 2006 
Michael Lynch, CEO of Right Hemisphere, and Jim Brown, vice-president and service director of Aberdeen Group, will present best-in-class practices in 3D publishing of product communications and the results of the Aberdeen Group white paper, "The Product Lifecycle Collaboration Benchmark Report -- The Product Profitability 'X' Factor." Read more 

2006 Association of Computer-Aided Design in Architecture ( ACADIA) International Conference
October 12-15, 2006 
Louisville, Kentucky
This four-day event, with a topic of "Synthetic Landscapes/Digital Exchange," will include lectures, software workshops, exhibits and research presentations by international leaders in digital design. Read more

For Cadalyst's full calendar of events, click here.

:: What's New at

New Cadalyst Discussion Forum: Product Reviews
Now you have the opportunity to speak your own opinion about Cadalyst'shardware and software reviews and share your experience with these products with other Cadalyst readers. Our new Product Reviews Forum links you to the latest Cadalyst Labs and First Look Reviews, then lets you add your own two cents as well as see what other users think. Check it out today.

Looking for a New Job?
Did you know Cadalyst offers a job search site with open CAD-related positions listed by state? You can even do a custom search by entering your own keywords and/or location to get a list of jobs that meet your criteria. Try it!

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