What’s it worth to you? – Increasing quality of life for the overworked CAD manager

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Today’s CAD manager needs help. Whether communicating with decision-makers or supporting all his users, the CAD manager is spread too thin. I am willing to bet that the bulk of the CAD manager’s time is spent handling emergencies, instead of finding new ways to improve his and his staff’s job satisfaction. So why not get some outside help?

According to a survey conducted by Northwestern National Life Insurance, 40% of working people feel their job is “very or extremely stressful”. CAD managers are no differen

What is Utility Software?
Utility software consists of programs that enable you to get your job done faster and more efficiently. Utility software handles redundant and time-consuming tasks by automating processes that take too long by the usual means. The programs in MicroStation Productivity Toolkit are utilities. Each solves a specific problem and increases the productivity of the user, by saving time while performing tedious, time-consuming tasks.

CAD Managers Spread Too Thin
At Axiom, we understand that saving time is your principal objective. According to Robert Green’s “CAD Manager 2005 Survey”, 26% of CAD managers reported that “their number-one frustration was not having enough time to do their job well.” Surprised?

Here are some other numbers from the survey:

  • Only 31% of CAD managers perform their management duties full time.
  • 61% are in salaried positions (average salary: $53,847, or roughly $27 per hour)
  • A CAD manager supports an average of 41 CAD users.
  • 16% have purchasing authority.

Cost Justification and the Return on Investment
No matter how good the software is, you still have to explain its value — to yourself and to other decision-makers — in a language that they understand: money. This is why the CAD manager has to be business savvy and understand how the money folk think. This is where cost justification and return on investment analysis come in handy.

Cost justification is the process of determining the return on an investment. The savings are measured and evaluated relative to the cost of the product.

We are on the same page if we agree that everything you spend your budget on should greatly contribute to your production. It is with this principle in mind that I present you four scenarios in which having a utility program reduced frustration and saved significant amounts of time.

Loosen your puchasing authority’s purse strings with cost justification and return-on-investment calculations.

Scenario 1
One of our customers reported the following costs associated with importing Excel spreadsheets into design files using MicroStation by itself: $27 (average CAD manager hourly rate) x 2.75 (average number of hours it takes to completely import a spreadsheet) x 15 (number of monthly work days that at least one spreadsheet is imported) x 12 months = $13,365 per year spent importing spreadsheets.

Here is the cost of importing Excel spreadsheets into MicroStation files using Axiom’s Microsoft Office Importer: $27 (average CAD manager hourly rate) x 4 (average number of minutes it takes to import a spreadsheet using Microsoft Office Importer) x 15 (number of monthly work days that at least one spreadsheet is imported) x 12 months = $324 per year spent importing spreadsheets using Microsoft Office Importer. Total yearly savings due to Microsoft Office Importer: $13,041.

After subtracting software costs, maintenance fees and training time, the return on investment in the first year of the use of the software is a staggering 1268%.

Scenario 2
One of our FileFixer customers commented, “FileFixer ends up saving us approximately 400 man-hours in a year. We couldn’t be nearly as productive without it.” If we apply the $27-per-hour rate to this scenario, we have a return on investment in the first year of 233%.

Scenario 3
Another scenario, “whenever any MicroStation file came back from the client, our drafters would spend an average of about two hours finding and correcting the CAD standard violations. If one figures that we get about 20 files sent back to us by the client, that it took the drafter about two hours to spot and correct the violations, and that there are about two to three submissions in the lifecycle of our design projects, this totaled approximately 120 man-hours per project spent in corrections — time spent not earning any new revenue!” Instead of doing it the hard way, the firm now uses SpecChecker and gets the work done in five minutes.

In dollars, that is savings upwards of $3,240 in man-hours and a 33% return on investment after just the first project!

Scenario 4
One of our customers had 400 design files in a project where a non-standard set of cells was used throughout the design process. They had to replace thousands of instances of multiple cells throughout all 400 design files. They were looking at 330 man-hours to fix this and a late delivery of the project.

However, using Global File Changer, they were able to update all 400 design files with the “Replace Cells” function in a little over three hours — this includes a 20-minutes setup and about three hours of computer-processing time without an operator present — which was only 1% of the time the design team estimated they would have spent making the changes by hand. In dollars, after subtracting software costs, maintenance and training, the savings are around $4,750 or 135% return on investment in a single run of the program.

What’s more is that these scenarios don’t take into account the value of work that users get done in addition to the savings.

Preaching to the Choir
I know that most of this you have heard before, but it doesn’t hurt to hear it one more time. Make the vendors vying for your budget dollars work for you. Use their resources to get your projects done faster and more accurately and don’t be afraid to try and implement new technology.

I encourage you to contact Axiom and schedule a no-obligation, one-on-one online demonstration with one of our product managers to discuss how MicroStation Productivity Toolkit can greatly increase your rate of production and maximize the return on your budget dollars.

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