CAD managers as a whole are critical members of most design and engineering firms. But what exactly does a CAD manager do?
It’s much more than you might expect.
CAD managers first emerged as CAD grew in influence and became more prominent in use throughout organizations. The need for a true CAD manager was readily apparent, and the role continues to evolve. Over the years and still today, CAD managers wear many and varied hats depending on the size of the company—whether it’s the combined roles of CAD drafter, IT department, and manager in a small-medium sized business (SMB) to a much more defined managerial role in a larger, corporate environment.
Wherever your organization lies on the spectrum, there are common threads to the job. Here, we’ll delve deeper into the role itself and how to achieve your own success as a CAD manager.
CAD Managers Manage, Right?
First and foremost, a CAD manager is a manager and, quite simply, has to be. You have to manage staff, projects, procurement of both software and hardware, plus the day-to day-output of the CAD function. This might even be combined with being the senior CAD drafter as well.
Regardless of a company’s size, the “manager” part of the title is crucial. So, there will always be the need for staff performance reviews, finding coverage for vacations, and the like. The managerial tasks will take up a great deal of time—and the larger the organization, the less time a CAD manager gets to spend actually doing CAD!
Any successful CAD manager will learn this lesson quickly: The art of good management is delegation. Delegate the nitty gritty CAD work to the CAD drafters while you do the manager “stuff.” You must also be very flexible. There will always be that engineer or architect who wants a last minute change to a bunch of drawings on a Friday afternoon at 4:00 p.m. when the drawing issue deadline is 5:00 p.m.