Tips for created CAD standards

By CD and DS
When deciding on a CAD manager to create and implement the CAD standards, suggest that all CAD staff vote on who they think should become the CAD leader. After all, who would know better about the best potential candidate than the company CAD designers and drafters? If there is a tie, flip a coin.
Keep it simple. While everyone may have their "preferred" way of doing things, the end result must be to run each department smoothly across the board with efficiency as the primary goal.
If no one can be found internally for the CAD manager position, or no one wants to take on the responsibility of developing and updating the CAD standards, management should hire an outside individual or seek qualified outside third party resources to develop and implement the CAD drawing standards. Then, of course, enforce them and move forward.
Make sure upper management is aware of the ramifications of not drawing the line when it comes to decision making. Too much time can be wasted due to progress blockers, such as a CAD department head with a personal agenda or the self-appointed company CAD guru.
In all fairness, nobody really likes to change the way they are working, when the way they have been working works well for them. After all why fix it if it’s not broken? But, sometimes “taking one for the team” and considering the bigger picture is in company’s best interest. It also makes the individual CAD users’ work easier when there is no guess work.
Prior to developing the CAD drawing standards, each department should submit its current AutoCAD standards to the CAD manager for review. These existing standards should only be used to assist the CAD manager with the development of the new global standard. No expectations should be placed on the CAD manager from any of the departments.
There should be only 1 final decision maker for the company’s AutoCAD standards, the CAD manager. The CAD manager’s decisions must be fully enforced by upper management in writing.
The CAD manager’s job is tough enough as it is. Fending off venting CAD staff because their favorite color for dimensioning has been changed from red to blue, should not be a pre requisite (hence the leeriness of many potential CAD managers to actually become CAD managers).
Many firms utilize a CAD manager for other project related tasks, such as CAD design or drafting. That is probably not the best way to utilize a CAD manager since the manager could be performing various duties related to the well being of the firm’s CAD structure, saving the company money in the long run.
Nevertheless, if the CAD manager is also a CAD producer, the manager should be given the opportunity to work FULL-TIME and uninterrupted on developing the AutoCAD standards; 100% to creating AutoCAD standards during a predetermined amount of time, as discussed with upper management.
Two to three weeks should suffice for most firms, but other factors may warrant more time; such as the number of disciplines /departments / branches in the company, meetings if required, etc.
There should be sufficient time allowed to review the current standards (if any), research existing standards that work elsewhere, modify to suit if necessary, and organize an implementation schedule.
If meetings with department heads and representatives are a MUST, then more time should be reasonably allocated to developing the AutoCAD standards.
The meetings themselves should be limited to two meetings over a two to three week period, no more.
Enabling the CAD manager to carry on, as soon as possible, with the actual development of the CAD standards is best. Prolonging the inevitable is pointless and a waste of resources (not to mention costing the company more money).
Additionally, if there are many departments within the company or different types of CAD software are being utilized (i.e. AutoCAD, Microstation, Chief Architect, etc.), more time should be permitted.
Many times, upper management is not aware of the hard work a CAD manager contributes to a company. Keeping upper management informed of the CAD managers duties in a brief memo every couple of weeks is a good idea (layman's terms would be best).
When it comes to a good CAD manager, a firm will “get what they pay for”. Realizing that an excellent CAD manager will save your company money in productivity, is smart business.
Ensuring the manager is appropriately compensated will send a clear message to him/her that you value their abilities.
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