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7 Engineering Document Management Best Practices
Optimize your workflow with these 7 Engineering Document Management Best Practices.
Engineering documents can be hard to manage. Engineers and designers work every day with CAD files that have many references and properties. This list will identify some of the top best practices for effectively managing engineering documents. For general document management best practices I recommend taking a look at this guide by Technical Writer HQ.
7 Engineering Document Management Best Practices:
1. Standardized documents
It is important to maintain consistency around your engineering documents. Having a defined process for naming files, properties defined in files, and title block formats can be key to growing your company and allowing new engineers to easily get started in your workflow.
- Templates: Create templates for documents that are often created. For example, you can preset the properties, title blocks, settings, and more to help speed up the engineering and design process. Be sure to properly review, update, and improve templates. It is also good practice to ensure that everyone has access to templates in a centralized location.
- Naming Convention: Maintain a standard naming convention can help keep documents consistent and easy to follow. This can help engineers find files faster and help with onboarding new engineers or designers. For architects, Archtoolbox describes a good practice for naming conventions. Consider following nationalized CAD standards such as the United States National CAD Standardor the National BIM Standard - United Alternatively, consider looking at some examples used by other engineers and manufacturers such as those found at Team254.
- Properties: Standardize the properties and attributes created across similar CAD documents. This allows your team to maintain consistency across CAD files and easily compare and utilize that data. In an Engineering Document Management Software, you could even map those attributes to index fields so that you can search for files faster.
For more information about standardizing your CAD documents I recommend reading this article by Autodesk University.
2. Version control
Every day engineers work with CAD files. CAD files can go through many changes, updates, and reviews before they are released. Having a system in place to control versions of documents can take time and be a headache saver. Either having an engineering document management system with built in version control like Open Domain’s Vistapoint or having a standardized version control process can help ensure a smooth process.
3. Access control
There are several reasons for needing to control file access and limiting who can see what files. You might need to control access because of NDAs (Non-Disclosure Agreements) with a client, regulations, or to secure important intellectual property. Controlling user access and file permissions to engineering files is important to ensure information safety and stay in compliance.
4. Folder/Record organization
Organizing the spaces that hold your files is important so files can be found faster, and permissions can be set efficiently. Consider grouping records and folders by project phases, product, department, and discipline to ensure that files can stay organized and easily control user permissions.
5. Single repository
Having a single place for people to find, share, and store documents can help ensure a smooth process when working with other team members. It is important to have a single repository where you can find files throughout the life of the project. This way even far into the future, you know where to find files and can find designs if needed.
6. Reference management
CAD files often contain many references. It is important that your file management system can manage the references so that file references don’t break, get lost, or are referencing the wrong version. This can save time having to rework and ensure that you are working with the right file.
7. Quality control
Having a standardized review process can help you maintain consistent quality in your engineering documents. This is especially important for new hires who might have less experience or are unfamiliar with your company's process and quality standards. Consider creating a process document that describes the required review checks to be put in place or implement an automated workflow or quality control tool.
Engineering Document Management Best Practices
There are many important practices to consider when working with engineering documents. Some of the most important are having standardized documents, version control, access control, good folder/record organization, a single repository, reference management, and quality control. Open Domain’s Vistapoint is an engineering document management software that can help you optimize your workflow with built in engineering document management best practices.
Open Domain provides straightforward multi-CAD PDM solutions.
To learn more, please visit opendomain.com