Drawing Management Tip #1: Convert Paper Drawings

Nothing is more inefficient than paper!

That’s the simple reason why companies of all sizes worldwide have major initiatives to go paperless.  And the problems are even worse for those jobs and industries that work with large technical drawings or architectural blueprints, plotted onto massive reams of paper.

convert paper drawings

Does your filing cabinet, drawing storage room or Engineering Department look anything like this ‘BEFORE’ picture?

You’re not alone.  This is pretty much the norm for anyone who needs to work with and retain old paper drawings.  And of course the solution is simple…

Convert Paper Drawings

The benefits of converting drawing from paper to any digital format, (usually AutoCAD) are numerous and cost effective.

  • Backups – paper-only copies are often irreplaceable, (unless you have an offsite duplicate storage room), are very susceptible to fire/flood/water leaks/etc.  A digital version is easy to store, backup and keep safe.
  • Ease of Access – How long does it take to find something in the paper jungle?  Surely your staff can be using their time more productively elsewhere.  With the right software, drawing inventory and drawing organization structure, all of your digital drawing assets can be at your finger-tips in seconds using DCM’s Drawing Management System (DMS).
  • It’s Easy – with our Drawing Conversion Service, it’s quick & affordable for us to convert your paper drawings of any size into AutoCAD (2D or 3D), PDF or any other digital format you require.
  • It’s Eco-friendly – Once converted, recycle your old paper drawings and stop plotting any further drawings unless absolutely necessary.  Using our Drawing Management System (ECHO), your drawings are available 24x7 from anywhere in the world via the Internet, from a PC or tablet device.  With a number of free and low-cost viewer/reviewer/editor programs available for practically format and platform, anyone who needs to find & work with your drawings in any capacity, can do so readily in electronic format.

Welcome Diane Watson

Diane Watson

Customer Service Representative

DCM is excited to announce that Diane has accepted the position of Customer Service Representative within our Sales Team.  Diane will be spending the next few months traveling and meeting our clients.

Stay tuned for a call from Diane.

System Upgrade – ECHO

System Upgrade – ECHO

Out with the old, in with the new and improved!

Since the release of the first HTDMS system over a decade ago, it has been a commitment of DCM Inc. to provide their customers with the best possible system to manage all of their drawing assets. Their vision is to deliver a product that extends far beyond the software itself and into an overall drawing management service.

Like anything in the technology industry, there are constant improvements and advancements to keep up with. What’s in today is old news by tomorrow, and this is no different with your drawing management system.

With this in mind, the development team at DCM Inc. has decided to zoom out and re- evaluate the system as a whole. There has been years of customer feedback, both on elements they love and areas that can be improved. At the end of the day everyone wants a fast, efficient system and all at the click of a button.

Well…DCM Inc. has answered, and in a big way. The entire system has been re-vamped and it’s impressive. With many new ‘smart’ features built in, it makes searching for the right drawing a breeze. With an interactive homepage it is easy to locate previously viewed drawings, favorited drawings and see recommendations based on your habits. The overall experience is very user-friendly and caters to each individual’s needs and preferences. Whether you just want to browse a general category or search for an exact drawing number, ECHO has got you covered.

If you are already an HTDMS user DCM Inc. makes the transition simple, with professional help for each step of the way.

DCM will:

  • Create your new personalized ECHO system
  • Implement your desired configuration
  • Transfer all current data and files to ECHO
  • Archive old HTDMS
  • Provide On-site training and continued support

Now is the time to explore the new era of drawing management and take your facility efficiency to the next level.

Proudly Canadian

Document Conversion Management (DCM) Inc. is a North American leader in drawing conversion services and drawing management systems.

DCM drawing conversion location in Ontario CanadaBased in Ontario Canada, DCM is a family founded, Canadian owned and operated company who serves international markets.  We are proud of our Canadian heritage & roots.  Contact us to learn more about what ‘Made in Canada’ quality & value means to us.

Happy 150th Canada!

Drawing Management Tip #2: Check-in/Check-out for Sequential Changes

A solid change control process is key to a successful records management regimen.  This includes the version/revision numbering of important documents and drawings.  However, the incremental numbering of revisions alone in not sufficient alone to ensure the integrity of your valuable digital assets.  Consider the following quick scenario to illustrate the risks:

Adam & Jane work in different Departments of the same company and usually work independently.  Adam logs into his company’s document repository system, locates the existing ‘Master Plan’ file and starts working on it.  The changes he needs to make could take hours or even days.  During this time he has a working draft copy of the document open on his computer.  At the same time, Jane also needs to change the same file.  She also logs into the document management system and starts to work on her draft.  Unless both of them have used a ‘check-out‘ mechanism to indicate that the document should be locked from simultaneous edits while in a draft state, neither of them will be aware that there are two draft documents on the go.  Adam saves his changes first and creation version 2 of the document.  Jane follows hours later and saves her changes as version 3.  She has just erased Adam’s changes.  Since her version 3 was based on revisions she made to the original version 1 of the file, she doesn’t have Adam’s input.

The scenario can easily happen in any file share or document repository that doesn’t support a check-in/check-out mechanism to enforce only sequential edits or revisions.  Furthermore, the feature must be used, not skipped, as part of a regular operating procedure when editing version controlled documents, and followed by all company employees.

The Drawing Management System (DMS) by DCM Inc. support a very detailed check-out & check-in process.  When performing the document check out operation, a time-stamp, username and check out comment are recorded.  The status indicator Document is Checked Out appears prominently at the top of the document page when viewing the document details withing DMS.  Upon check in, the same time-stamp, username and check in comment are also recorded.  Full details for both the in and out operations appear Document History action log.  Using the mechanism to force sequential changes ensure that drawing details are never erased or overwritten within the system is a best-practice.

Without this crucial step in the process, competing revisions ensue and can quick become an unmanageable mess with valuable data being lost along the way.


Welcome to your NEW drawing room

Getting started with any new technical system can feel like an uphill battle.  In addition to the typical new user on-boarding steps, you must learn how to efficiently navigate, search and get work done, often with little or no training.  It can feel like an overwhelming part of an already busy day.

A well-designed graphical user interface (GUI), especially for web-based systems, should require little or no training.  From my personal new user experience to the ECHO drawing management system, I can confidently say that the folks at DCM have delivered intuitive and simple user experience.  Getting started and finding the information I needed couldn’t have be easier.  Let me share a few notes about getting started with the ECHO system.

The process starts with each user receiving a welcome email alerting about their new user account on your company’s Drawing Management System.  The email contains your initial temporary password and upon first login you are walked-through creating a private password.  At the same time you also enter addition user profile & contact data so that the system has a good inventory of current user information.  This initial user setup process is quite easy and very straight-forward, even for the most novice of computers users.

Each company’s instance of the DCM’s ECHO Drawing Management System is configured with a branded URL and landing page to welcome users upon each visit.  A welcome training video is also available upon login so that new users can receive a short guided tour of the new interface.  Handy screen tips indicate the most efficient means to perform the most common actions within the drawing management system.

Ask about our on-line ECHO demo to see and try it for yourself.  Your team will thank you for making the switch.


Drawing Management Tip #7: Create a Master CAD Plan

At most organizations, drawings are usually only created for specific projects: original construction, renovations, expansions, etc.  Thus over a number of years, various versions of numerous drawings are created and revised as needed.  This results in current & relevant information being difficult to locate and confirm.

Creation of a Master CAD plan is the best way to compile all relevant and current information into a single CAD drawing that becomes your bench mark drawing, or as we like to call it at DCM, your Baseline Operation Drawing.  Amalgamation and consolidation of disparate technical information sets into a single & well managed drawing allows an organization to leverage the value of past drawings while ensuring future operating efficiencies.

Master CAD plans can be comprised from a mix of paper, PDF, AutoCAD and pretty much any drawing format.

Contact us at DCM Inc. to further discuss the process of creating your baseline operating drawing and start realizing the efficiencies from having this valuable asset readily available.

Drawing Management Tip #4: Inventory Data Points

In order to create a well organized & searchable collection of your drawings, we create first establish 10 to 20 points of metadata descriptors to describe and distinguish each drawing.  Examples of commonly used data points include: Unique ID, Document Discipline, Building Name, Project Name, Project Number, Document Status, Creation Date, Engineer/Architect, to name a few.

Then as your drawings are loaded into our Drawing Management System (DMS), each drawing is inventoried according to these data parameters.  We also encourage that paper drawings are inventoried according to the same methodology.

The outcome of the data point inventory process is a highly-available and well structured repository of your most crucial drawing assets.  When combined with Master CAD Plan consolidation portion of our service offering, this ensures that the most current and accurate information is always just a few clicks away.

Drawing Management Metadata Inventory

Facilities Management & CAD

Facilities Managers have a wide-array of duties & concerns, ranging from day-to-day operations to planning for building use space upgrades.  According to a study by the International Facilities Management Association (IFMA), one tool that is prevalent and used by over half of all Facilities Departments is CAD.  The IFMA study also found that CAD use increased as the space managed by the department increased.

Computer-Aided Facility Management (CAFM) – is the support of facility management by information technology. The supply of information about the facilities is the center of attention. The tools of the CAFM are called CAFM software, CAFM applications or CAFM systems. (Wikipedia)

CAD for Renovation & Space Planning

CAD is an essential tool for Facilities Departments in both renovation and space planning activities.  The process starts with technical drawings of the current building or space, ideally in terms of building structure, infrastructure/systems and furniture/floorspace layout.  Through digital modification of various CAD drawings, current master CAD plans can be readily modified into new design proposals & options.  Via 2D drawings, (and potentially 3D visualizations), Facilities Managers, Project Managers and project stakeholders are able visualize changes and perform what-if scenarios on various configuration options, making edits and taking measurements as needed.  Ultimately, with clear project scope and concepts in the minds of the key internal stakeholders, the RFP process for getting construction companies to bid on the decided vision will be much more streamlined and cost efficient for the organization to procure.

To start the planning & conceptual process, you’ll need a digital plans in terms of flexible CAD drawings.

Is your Facilities Department still relying on paper drawings?  Is it time to upgrade?  DCM’s Drawing Conversion services can help, learn more…


ECHO Product Demonstration


In under 5-minutes we’ll give you an eye-opening tour around some of the cutting edge features of our ECHO Document Management System. You’ll never look at document management the same again. The intuitive, simple and powerful design of the ECHO system is sure to drastically reduce the difficulty and confusion associated with keeping your documents in order, and help you to keep important documents close at hand.


Maybe it’s time to clean up your paper mess and get digital files. Or maybe you’re ready to layer all of your files into one working document. Perhaps you’re at the stage where you want management software?