Most of us understand the benefits of CAD & Design standards, at least from a conceptual standpoint. When things are more organized, we get jobs done faster, and getting done faster means more money, right? All that is true but that seems to be as far as most of us ever take the conversation. We look at our CAD/Engineering Manager, or whoever our senior designer is and say things like “Let’s get a standard put in place!” and then we move on. The problem is, those senior design folks are the ones we need to be 100% billable because they get our jobs done quickly and well. Expecting them to spend weeks, maybe even months, developing good CAD & Design standards while doing that is unrealistic. The truth is, using an outside agency, like ZenTek, to review, recommend, develop, and help implement a strong set of standards is far more efficient and cost effective.
While you may think I’m biased , I’d like to show a bit of math to show you how working with a consultant can make you way more money than you imagine, and at far less of an investment than you expect.
In 30+ years of doing this work, I always start with the same question: “Do you think I can organize your standards well enough to save your people one hour of time each day?” I usually explain the concepts of templates, pre-built folder structures, layer sets/filters, block libraries, etc. and then come back and ask that question again: “Do you think I can organize your standards well enough to save your people one hour of time each day?” The answer is always “Yes!”, without exception. Most folks admit good standards can likely save 2-3X that amount of time. Look at this table for what you save with (5) employees and only a one-hour time save:
Now, while $28,470 may not seem like a staggering amount to you, remember that this goes into your pocket every year, forever! Think of it like this: if you’re paying $3,270/user annual subscription fees for your CAD system (the cost of Autodesk AEC Collection) that’s a total of $16,350 each year. That means working with a consultant to get your CAD Standards optimized gets you your CAD system FOR FREE, plus another $12,000 each year in income, and that’s at minimum. If we go with the more realistic 2.5 hours/day of time savings, we get results like this:
At that point, your CAD system becomes a genuine profit center, and this is with only (5) base level CAD staff. Well-defined standards and processes can save hundreds of work hours for all your engineers, managers, and executives as well. Think of their pay rates and the types of savings you can see. In the above tables, we use an avg. hourly rate of $21.90, which is very low. The hourly labor rate for a design firms, averaged over all employees, is $85.00/hour if we use that rate, for a company of 25 (the avg. design firm size) we get numbers like this:
Yea, you read that right: $1.38 MILLION a year in savings for an average-sized design firm. Those are the kinds of numbers you can’t ignore.
Don’t worry about the up-front investment to get set up with a consulting firm. The cost will be just a percentage of your first year returns and after that, you’ll be dramatically increasing your profitability every single year.
Want to know what ROI you can expect? Give us a call at 866-824-4459 and we’d be happy to show you.
– James Coppinger