Thursday, 19 August 2010

540,000 hours

I was chatting to one of our large AEC customers last week. They have about 1,000 CAD, BIM & Engineering software users around the group. During our chat, we discussed the fact that they are putting together a business case for management, aimed at securing additional budgets for investing in new training & learning tools. As part of this process, they worked out that they spend approx. 540,000 man (or woman) hours EACH YEAR, producing CAD drawings. And that's just in the UK, which is only part of the wider group!

I don't know what their hourly charge-out rates are, but let's say, for argument's sake, that the figure is £100/hr. That's a cool £54M per year on CAD production alone.

Now let's picture the impact of a 2% improvement in productivity across the year - that's over £1M in savings, or half a million quid for every 1% increase!

Suddenly, spending a few grand on testing and training tools starts to make a lot of business sense!

Let's look at some more numbers;

Take an average salary of £25k p.a. and a 225 day working year.

For every 1% improvement in productivity, a practice will save £250 or 2.25 days per person per year. Targeting a 5% annual improvement in performance, this is worth £1,250 or 11.25 days per person per year. (11.25 days = 90 working hours (average 8 hour work day)).

For a firm with 20 staff, this is worth the equivalent of a new member of staff! (20 x £1,250 = £25,000).

Now let's look at hiring; how much does it cost to employ inappropriate personnel for 3 months?

Assuming a £25k annual salary:

15% agency fee = £3,750
3 months’ salary = £6,250

Assuming £18/hr:

7.5 hrs x 5 days = £675 x 12 weeks = £8,100

These examples don’t include advertising costs for staff employed direct, or the cost of re-working for drawings which weren’t done right first time.


Thursday, 5 August 2010


This month, we are introducing a change to the way assessments are authored, based on the idea of linking separate modules in a 'daisy-chain', to create a longer test.

In essence, the KS system breaks down like this;

- A test is one or more modules linked together.
- A module is comprised of typically 4-6 questions, covering the same topic, i.e. Families in Revit or UCS in AutoCAD, etc.
- A question tests an individual's understanding of a particular software feature or command.

Questions and modules have training tag keywords (meta tags) associated with them, which makes training needs analysis, post-assessment, much more relevant.

Questions can be "task" based or "knowledge" based.

A task based question has files associated with it. The user has to do something to the file, in order to work out the answer, as follows;

- Task (interrogate) - the user has to open the file and find the answer, but they don't have to modify or change the file in any way.
- Task (modify) - the user has to open and modify the file, to work out the correct answer.
- Knowledge - this type of question does not require a file to be associated with it.

Test administrators can present a single module as a test, provided they create a new test from the module first.

A 'daisy-chain' happens when an administrator links a series of modules together, to create a longer test.

This concept allows us to create a wide range of test material, in bite-sized blocks, which map closely to corresponding training and learning material.

Daisy-chains go live next month.


MCMC 2010

It's that time of year again! One of the year's most enjoyable events takes place on August 10-11; the Mid Continent MicroStation Community User Conference. The venue is once again the excellent Overland Park Convention Center, in Kansas City.

The organisers have pulled out the stops, with an agenda packed full of high-quality speakers, over the course of the two days.

See this link for full details: .

Tuesday night's entertainment includes dinner and a repeat trip to Power Play, for another high energy Whirlyball contest. (For the un-initiated, Whirlyball is a mix of lacrosse, basketball - and bumber cars - not for the faint hearted!).

Tickets are just $95 per day, including lunch and snacks throughout the day.

The theme for this conference is Versatility. Covering multiple tracks, including, MicroStation, Civils, Plotting, CAD Management, Collaboration, Building, Structural Analysis and US Army Corps projects.