CAD Manager's Newsletter (#158)

13 Sep, 2006 By: Robert Green

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CAD Management Survey Alert
Please be sure to participate in the 2006 CAD Manager's survey. As always, you have my assurance that your data will not be shared with anyone and your personal identity will not be disclosed. My only goal is to report on the state of the CAD management environment to you, my readers, in the November issue of Cadalyst magazine.

Outsourcing, Part 3

Knowing what costs to expect can help avoid budget-busting surprises.

In the August 24 issue of CAD Manager’s Newsletter I continued my series on outsourcing by identifying the business factors that affect your company’s decision-making process. In this issue I’ll give you a hypothetical example of a company considering outsourcing and show how you can use good, old-fashioned ROI (return-on-investment) methodologies to make a go or no-go decision.

Sample Case
Our sample case involves a company, called XYZ Engineering, that is considering moving its CAD operations from its United States offices to an offshore facility. The basic proposal is as follows:

The work of four  CAD operators employed on an hourly basis at an average rate of $19 per hour (inclusive of pay, taxes, etc.) is being outsourced to a foreign service bureau that charges $8 per hour for similar CAD services.

To facilitate the outsourcing, a drafting/design checker who also acts as a job manager must be employed at $25 per hour on a half-time basis to make sure that all the work is done accurately and that everything flows smoothly. This person will be the liaison between the U.S. operations and the outsourced firm.

The company further estimates that accounting and legal costs of keeping track of invoicing, compliance, intellectual property and so forth will require the equivalent of 80 hours per year for accounting and 40 hours per year for legal services.

Setting up the arrangement is estimated to require 80 hours of legal resources for initial contracts, 80 hours for accounting setup and 120 hours of training to be provided by the new checker/job manager for the outsourcing company.  To accomplish the startup, three staff members will be expected to visit the outsourcing company’s offices for two weeks.

Let’s examine the plan by crunching the numbers and see what happens. Read more >>

:: CAD Manager's Q&A

Now that engineers are designing and can CAD their own work, what’s the future for CAD technicians? Are we on the brink of extinction, or do you see a future in CAD still worth pursuing?

Robert Green replies: This requires a two-part answer.

First: The kind of CAD technician that came to forefront in the late 1980s and early 1990s — the kind that just worked from redline prints making simple edits and replotting drawings — is on the verge of extinction. Read more >>

Submit your questions to Robert Green

:: Resource

CAD Administration Blog is a blog that offers CAD advice, tips and resources for users of CADminTools, Pro/ENGINEER, Pro/INTRALINK and other programs. Offerings include articles and discussions of training, software, troubleshooting and career issues as well as links to other CAD-related sites. Begun in 2004, the blog is hosted by Edwin Muirhead, a CAD manager in Dundee, the United Kingdom.

:: Events

Webinar: Large-Format Document Management
Various dates in September
IDEAL offers webinars on large-format scanning, 3D printing, and document-management problems. An interactive question-and-answer session is included. Read more

“Emerging Talents, Emerging Technologies” Exhibition
September 26-October 6, 2006
Beijing, China
Housed in the World Art Museum, this collection of progressive architectural work will comprise exhibits from architectural practices and schools of architecture, in addition to pavilion designs. Read more

Fourth Annual SolidWorks Midwest User Group Conference
October 4-6, 2006
Racine, Wisconsin
The Fourth Annual SolidWorks Midwest User Group Conference will feature 25-30 user-focused presentations from expert users, application engineers and SolidWorks employees, as well as a keynote address delivered by SolidWorks CEO John McEleney. Read more

October 10 and 12, 2006
Wisconsin and Minnesota locations
MasterGraphics Inc. will host the AUGI (Autodesk Users Group International) CAD Camp, which will feature more than 20 different sessions with targeted training from local and national industry experts and instructors. Read more

IntelliCAD World Meeting
October 11-13, 2006
Kelowna, BC, Canada
This third annual event will include business and development seminars on topics such as creating successful CAD applications for IntelliCAD and marketing, supporting and managing CAD application development ventures. Read more

SolidWorks/Excel Integration Using VBA-API
November 13-15, 2006
Encino, California
This three-day course addresses the development of CAD automation and application linkages, and will explain the process of creating data linkages between SolidWorks and Excel. Read more

Aerospace Design Expo 2006
November 14-16, 2006
Anaheim, California
Covering the civil, military and space industries, this is a design-based solutions and sourcing event for new technology, equipment and services. Read more

Facility Information Council Annual Meeting
December 5-7, 2006
Washington, D.C.
AEC-ST Federal has added the FIC (Facility information Council) Annual Meeting, a component of NIBS (the National Institute of Building Sciences), to its conference lineup. The NIBS FIC will present a series of educational sessions focused on the new National BIM (Building Information Modeling) Standard, with first releases due out at the end of December 2006. Read more

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

 What's New at

Get the Code!
Cadalyst’s September code from Hot Tip Harry is now available for download. Pedro Ferreira earned $100 for this month’s top tip, Center Line Profile, a powerful utility for highway design that creates a profile detail with given contours and a centerline to follow.

Cadalyst’s September Exclusives Now Live Online!
The latest editions of all your favorite Cadalyst tutorials for AutoCAD and other popular CAD software, CAD Cartoon, Dialog Box (letters from readers) — plus all the content from the September edition of Cadalyst magazine — are now live on Check it out!