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Pulling in the Plotting purse strings

Saving the company money is one focus of the CAD Managers function. I think we may be getting close to reaching the end of dynamic savings generated by getting better at CAD. Sure, new software tools can save you time and if you dig deeply into all of the functions that the new tools provide, you can save large amounts of time. How many of us end up going back to our old habits and do not gain the productivity gains promised. The routine things are still going to be routine. You still have to click two points to draw a line. You still have to type in the text.

But I think there is one area that can generate cost savings that a lot of firms overlook. What area would that be? Plotting. Something you do so much of every day. It might be the biggest hole in your firms wallet.

It could be the largest area of cost savings and productivity enhancements that you can make today. I think a lot of firms have settled into a rut with plotting and are basically ignoring the fine tuning of this area. Refinement can save you quite a bit of time and also even earn you some dollars.

One large firm CAD Manager with over 800 seats of CAD began a plotting review process. Using his numbers as an example of the saving, provides us with the following:

If you save 1 minute on each plot X 10 plots per day X 5 days a week X 50 weeks (allowing for vacation time) X 800 seats = you could save over 33,000 hours per year X $25 per hour (substitute your hourly labor rate) = you have saved over 3/4 of a million dollars per year.

WOW! That's some serious cash.

Obviously, your savings may not be on this grand a scale. But do the quick math and you can see what you might save.

I don't think that plotting headaches will disappear, but with the proper focus, you could easily save money, increase productivity and eliminate frustration.


Focus on several areas:

  • Eliminate routine step
  • Automate to reduce mistakes
  • Reduce User time spent prepping and sending plots
  • Refine hardcopy handling time - collating, binding, etc
  • Focus on reducing Plotter downtime and slow plotter speed
  • Reducing the plotting quantity (many folks plot too often)
  • Plot avoidance - using on-screen review tools
  • Define plot sizes for job phase (half size until submittals or milestones)
  • Passing plotting cost on to the client
  • Even some simple refinements in key areas can save you time. Think thru my list an send me your ideas.

    More to come next month.