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.
In the era where “google” is both a noun and a verb in modern parlance, search technology has revolutionized the way we think, work and store data. Using just a few keystrokes, locating the desired information from within massive repository can be accomplished in just a few seconds. Seek and search times to locate work documents and records become essentially nil, and worker productivity benefits. The bar has been set for all types of information systems, from Internet Search Engines, email history, corporate file servers and document management systems.
Sadly, even with all this great technology available to us, not all organizations leverage the best of breed technology solutions to achieve efficient enterprise data search. The problems are usually exacerbated when applied to large libraries of technical files, such as drawings. The amount of identifier content text within these types of files is often very limited, so the metadata describing the file in relevant business terms becomes even more important. Here’s a couple common problems we solve for new clients who suffer from unorganized file storage and inefficient technical document search.
Windows Search – local or network file shares using Microsoft Windows File Shares offer very limited metadata & search capabilities. The common realm is pretty much limited to file content, file name, file type, modified date, location. In an attempt to overcome these limitations we often see very elaborate file folder hierarchies and endless document naming conventions. For example: FinalArchitecturals_BWing_Client-ABCInc_Project-15153_2015.04.03_ASmith_ver2.2.pdf, buried well within a directory hierarchy that is both repetitive and non-intuitive.
These structure & conventions are often time consuming to follow, impossible to enforce, very brittle and with little gain and continued waste.
Microsoft SharePoint / OneDrive – the Document Library feature of this product line does make some headway in properly treating important enterprise document as true records. Document metadata – data points such as author & version are properly dimensioned out-of-the-box within a “Document Library”. However, extending the Document Library support additional metadata dimensions, requires expensive SharePoint Administrator, Designer & Developer expertise, to customize and maintain the software solution.
The Search Secret: Drawing Management System & Data Inventory
The latest release of DCM’s software-as-a-service (SaaS) Drawing Management System (DMS) is named ECHO. As part of the process to deploy includes a implementation of a metadata inventory catalog. Common data point include: Unique ID, Document Discipline, Building Name, Project Name, Project Number, Document Status, Creation Date, Engineer/Architect, to name a few. This metadata inventory data-point database is populated upon the upload of each document or drawing into the ECHO drawing repository.
Once implemented, fully expressive pin-point accurate searches can be run using very exact document/drawing search criteria.
Drawing Search Criteria Example
- Project Number = 15153
- Discipline = Architectural
- Building Name = Atria
- Status = Final
Via the easy to use ECHO web-interface, users can readily search to find the necessary technical documents in mere seconds. Document/drawing previews are display, any all available source types are available for download (e.g. PDF or DWG source) in single-click.
Think of is a powerful search engine for technical document repository, or as we like to call it, ECHO.
“Quality means doing it right when no one is looking.” – Henry Ford
It today’s digital age there are tons of file format conversion software tools out there that will convert practically any form of digital file between any desired format. However, one key point to keep in mind is that all conversions are not created equally, especially when it comes to quality.
One measure of quality for data or image conversion is the concept of lossless and lossy conversions. As per the Wikipedia definition,
A lossy data conversion method is one where converting data between one storage format and another displays data in a form that is “close enough” to be useful, but may differ in some ways from the original.
On the other hand, a lossless conversion has zero loss of information, it’s by all practical measures a perfect copy. Is some cases, if the original version is somehow compromised in condition, quality or errors, a high quality conversion can also be restorative in nature and correct such imperfections.
How good is “close enough”?
One example that many people are familiar with is the lossy compression that often accompanies when working with or converting JPEG images. The differences in the photos below may have negligible awareness or impact depending on the purpose, but not in all cases.
In the realm of technical drawings and documents for commercial / enterprise / construction purposes, the fine details can be of significance. Automated software conversion tools have little to no quality control. The output is driven strictly by the input, and garbage in will mean garbage out. Even if the input is of reasonable quality, the barriers to go from raster, vector and fully composed 2D or 3D line/shape drawing are typically well beyond the capabilities of even the most advanced boxed software.
Without a skilled-human review and insight applied to the conversion process throughout, software tools alone are unable to evaluate to what degree the fidelity of the available information is retained and where improvements are needed to ensure not just a lossless conversion and that the output is fit for purpose.
The drawing conversion at DCM uses a proprietary 8-point quality control process to ensure that each drawing is fine-tuned. Drafting principles, CAD standards and your specifications are all taken into account. A Production Manager review the drawing to ensure its complete and ready for immediate use.
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.
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.
Are you proficient in AutoCAD?
Do you know how to read and interpret various types of blueprints and technical drawings?
Are you well organized, self-motivated, customer-focused and have great attention to detail?
DCM has always been at the front of technology when it comes to drawing conversion, optimization, and drawing management. It was time to update our website to showcase what we do. So….. welcome to our new site!
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?