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How to Modernize Your Paper Engineering Drawings
A White Paper From the Paper to CAD Experts

Cost-Benefit Analysis

Scanning drawings to digital raster form is essential to realizing the benefits from the methods provided in this analysis. The justification for scanning to a raster image can be easily made by reviewing the value of document management, savings in facilities costs and improved document accessibility throughout the organization. Cost justification of the various technologies described in this paper is easily measured when based on labor savings in the revision process and improved information access and management.

Revision Cost Savings

The costs associated with revising drawings are dependent on the method and solution used. The four methods presented here include manual, CAD digitize, hybrid raster/CAD and full vectorization to CAD. Costs are incurred with each individual revision and include the cost associated with capturing the document to a digital form unless the manual method was used. Therefore, the true cost is calculated by combining labor rate and time spent on each revision plus the digital transformation expense.

In an article first appearing in Document Management magazine, the inherent costs to recreate and revise a complex drawing, using each of the methods we have discussed, were compared. The comparison considered both the initial capture time, various labor rates and the time associated with making revisions to the drawing once it had been captured. The hybrid raster/CAD approach, which eliminates the redraw, cleanup and verification processes, offers the greatest immediate cost-benefit for the first revision and beyond. Drawings required in a vector CAD environment are best served by full conversion methods.

A simple cost-benefit example in which a company has 100 drawings with 20 ECOs to perform each month can be used to give an example of the benefits of the raster-enabled approach presented in this paper. Various labor rates are used for each discipline. Actual numbers should be determined for individual organizations.

Business Reinvestment

Companies spend seven to ten percent of their expenditures on a manual document management process. A business reinvestment strategy involving the technology presented here can help reduce the overall costs a company incurs with managing, revising and distributing information.

Time to Market and Lead Time Benefit

Manufacturing companies often survive based on getting quality products to market sooner than its competition. Doing so helps increase mind share and therefore, market share. Greater market share creates more revenue on the invested technology already completed for the product. Project-oriented companies, such as utilities and construction, effectively develop a product at a greater scale. Contracts are awarded based on accurate and detailed proposals that require project cost and time estimates. A paper-enabled and intelligent modeling system at the front end yields faster design times and more accurate bidding efforts.

Other Benefits

The direct benefits of integrating paper within EDM/PDM and CAD are based on labor savings in the revision cycle. However, there are many intangible benefits:
  • An increase in the value of CAD by eliminating its use for tedious redraw. CAD can now be used for productive design and analysis functions
  • A common electronic database
  • Reduced retrieval and print times for documents with a document management solution
  • Improved information flow with workflow and E-mail tools
  • Improved conformance to the ISO 9000 or OSHA regulations by instituting better document control procedures.
  • Increased value of paper drawings through integration with CAD and EDM/PDM tools
  • Fewer lost, damaged and misfiled documents
  • Immediate availability of accurate information
  • Streamlining of the change process
  • Improvement in time to market
  • Increased quality

Add Value to Drawings

The overall benefit to organizations that scan paper drawings is to increase the value of the company’s most valued asset, information. Once captured into electronic form, drawings can be used for many functions, such as maintenance and material control, project management, quality assurance and purchasing.

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