CAD Manager's Newsletter (#196)

27 May, 2008 By: Robert Green

Standards, Part 2: Organizing and Tuning

Set up your standards in digital form for maximum efficiency and ease of use.

In the last issue of CAD Manager's Newsletter, I talked about how to capture standards into an electronic format (typically Microsoft Word) and using video capture tools to assist in the composition of your standards. Using these tools, you should be well on your way to creating better, more graphically rich standards in print form.

In this installment I'll focus on how to take the standards you've created in Word and distribute those standards via digital formats like Adobe Acrobat's PDF and create video recordings of the standards as you do so. The end result should be a completely digital CAD standard document that users can read and print on their own with a video tutorial they can watch. Here goes.

Prioritize and Organize Standards
Before you do any work on any of your standards, take the time to get the right order so that you'll work on the most valuable standards first. So which standards are most important? The standards that can best help your users solve problems and productivity losses.

If you are having tons of problems with plotting and file management but very few problems with correct design standards, you should focus on plotting and file management standards as your first task and put everything else off until those are dealt with. I know there's always a temptation to work on all problems, but at some point you have to make a business-focused decision and get to work on a limited number of problems. So think through the problems you have and how your standards can help you deal with them and get going. Read more »

:: CAD Manager’s Toolbox:
     Coping with Standards Violators

What to do when users refuse to follow standards.

I've got a couple of users who simply won't follow standards even though I've gone to their bosses and have tried everything I can think of. What can I do to get these users in line?

Robert Green replies: First, accept the fact that you have some unruly users and get past the frustration. The only thing you know for sure is that what you've tried so far hasn't worked and continuing along the same track will probably never work.

Now, go back to their boss and make the lack of standards about money and watch what happens. Rather than saying "I'm so tired of these users not following standards," you'll now say the following:

"These two users' lack of adherence to standards have cost us 42 hours of rework on our latest project. At $40/hour average labor cost, these two users have actually cost us $1680 (42 x 40) in lost productivity. Imagine the money we could save if this weren't a problem." Read more »

Do you have a suggestion/tip that should be in the CAD Manager?s Toolbox? Send it to me at and you might get a cool Cadalyst souvenir if I use your idea.

:: Resources

CSI Creates Young Professionals Group
The Construction Specifications Institute (CSI) is creating a new group to support young professionals in the design and construction industry. CSI's Emerging Professionals group will provide recent college graduates and new professionals with networking, mentoring, and leadership development opportunities. Read more »

:: Events

Siemens PLM Connection Americas 2008
June 2-5, 2008
Orlando, Florida
This annual user group conference is for users of NX, Teamcenter, Tecnomatix, and Solid Edge software. The event will feature more than 600 educational sessions, including keynote presentations, technical sessions, product updates, and hands-on-training. Read more »

VIP Summit on Business and Technology
June 20, 2008
Plymouth and Medina, Minnesota
At the VIP summit, manufacturing executives and managers will discuss issues their businesses are facing from the concept to the manufacturing process. Sponsored by Applied Engineering. Read more »

For a complete list of CAD meetings, conferences, training sessions, and more, check out our calendar of events on