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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.
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.
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.
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.
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…
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.
No drawing conversion is 100% accurate run through high-volume process alone. And yet, this is where many of our competitors sign-off. There is no magic software that can perform a
trustworthy, complete drawing conversion. Even the best software remains limited in understanding crucial details. For example, the true intrinsic composition of overlapping shape objects in a given drawing.
Automated & Hand Crafted
DCM automates what can be automated for efficiency but then each drawing conversion is manually manipulated – our hands-on touch! This hands-on human correction is essential to correct and redraw what the automation process unable to accurately convert.
We fine-tune each drawing conversion by putting it through our proprietary 8-point Quality Control. We apply drafting principles, CAD standards, and your specifications. Following your specification ensure that drawings are consistent across the conversion project and/or with your current practices.
The appointed Production Manager looks it over to make sure your drawing is complete and ready for immediate use without any compromises.
The workplace of today goes well beyond the four cubicle walls and 9 to 5 hours. The workforce of today is adapting to work where and when needed. Work is performed in the field at remote or client sites, during impromptu meetings, from home and away on the road.
With the ECHO drawing management system from DCM, your technical drawings and documents are always accessible to follow your mobile workforce where and when these resources are needed most.
The ECHO system is delivered as an Internet-based software-as-a-service (SaaS) application. The ECHO drawing management system is fully mobile and accessible anywhere an Internet connection (wired, wireless or cellular-based), is available. Whether your company provides end-user mobile devices, (such as laptops, tablets or smartphones), or has adopted a bring your own device (BYOD) mobility model, the ECHO system is ubiquitously available on any device as it only requires a standard web or mobile browser.
Using a secure and encrypted Internet connection, your entire repository of technical drawings and documents is available to your employees via the newly redesigned and seamless ECHO web-interface. Handy personalized features such as recently viewed documents, marked favorites and automatic suggestions allow for quick access to common documents. Touch-screen controls such as a simple swipe allow users to cycle through a set of drawing thumbnails. Touch to click in order to make the drawing’s title block, revision information all visible. Again, simply touch the thumbnail preview image to view the entire drawing in full screen, which allowing zooming and panning around the drawing as needed. There is no need to download the entire drawing file or any special software required to simply view the drawing on any mobile device.
Using the efficient & powerful ECHO search feature, the exact drawing can be located in seconds. Detailed document search criteria often includes client name, project number, location, wing, floor and discipline.
Mobile Drawing Access
An ECHO-based mobile drawing access solution will empower your technical workforce with valuable information where and when needed. There are numerous specific vocational use cases that demonstrate the benefit of a drawing management system across all levels of the enterprise and industries.
- Building maintenance & facilities workers access the correct building schematics & equipment manuals.
- Construction & renovation builders, and skilled trades accessing the latest architectural, building systems, services & as-built drawings.
- Equipment & mechanical service technicians accessing manuals, equipment assembly and service documents.
- Engineers & project managers accessing the latest design & engineering documents.
- Executives, Management & Sales access the latest client proposal project documents and drawings.
The latest version of our DMS system will be released later this year. In the meantime here’s a preview the great new look and some new features coming your way with the ECHO release.