Unraveling the Cost of Inadequate Documentation in Engineering Systems and Processes

In the dynamic landscape of engineering and design, project success is intricately tied to the efficiency of engineering systems and processes. Documentation ensures seamless operations for CAD tools like SOLIDWORKS, data management systems like SOLIDWORKS PDM, and enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems. This blog examines the far-reaching consequences of the lack of proper documentation in engineering systems and processes, exploring how this deficiency leads to lost resources and time.

The Silent Challenge of Unwritten Details:

In many organizations, the intricate details of engineering systems and processes are seldom documented. This lack of documentation poses a significant challenge as these processes unfold in complex systems such as SOLIDWORKS CAD, SOLIDWORKS PDM, and ERP systems. Proper configuration and user input are crucial for the success of these systems, making documentation an essential component.

The Top Three Impacts of Inadequate Documentation:

1. Inconsistencies in System Configurations:

Without comprehensive documentation, inconsistencies in system configurations become inevitable. Each user may adopt a slightly different approach, compromising user experience, system performance, and overall system adoption. Inconsistencies create a breeding ground for errors and inefficiencies that can cascade throughout the organization. One example may be when an engineer or product designer uses a document template from 2021 and another engineer or designer uses one from 2024. 

2. Onboarding Challenges:

The absence of proper documentation creates hurdles during onboarding, especially for new users. Connecting users to the system and other essential resources becomes a time-consuming task. New users often don’t know where files are stored and may be unable to gather all of the locations on their own without prior knowledge. This lack of a standardized reference point makes the onboarding process convoluted. New users face increased difficulty navigating the system, affecting overall efficiency.

3. Prolonged Learning Curves:

Inadequate documentation prolongs the learning curves for employees, whether they are new hires or existing team members adapting to updated processes. A lack of clear guidelines and reference materials forces employees to rely on trial and error, resulting in prolonged training periods. This hampers productivity and impacts the compliance and adoption of established processes. When everyone at a company uses an old CAD model to start new designs, this may not be readily known to new hires, thus causing a delay in the learning curve.

The Value of Comprehensive Documentation:

1. Consistency in Configurations:

Proper documentation establishes a standardized reference point for system configurations. Companies update processes to improve and reduce known issues over time. This consistency enhances user experience, optimizes system performance, and facilitates smoother system adoption across the organization. If all users are not using the same processes, they may not be taking advantage of fixes previously resolved. A documented framework serves as a guide for users, reducing the risk of errors and streamlining operations.

2. Streamlined Onboarding:

Comprehensive documentation significantly streamlines the onboarding process. Since engineering teams have various experience levels, new users can easily access well-documented resources, expediting their integration into the system. The clarity provided by documenting company-specific processes will help bring all users up to the same level.  Ultimately, enhancing user confidence and reducing the time required for new team members to become fully operational is essential.

3. Accelerated Learning Curves:

Thorough documentation accelerates employees’ learning curves. Access to well-documented processes and guidelines empowers team members to navigate systems more efficiently, shortening training periods and promoting better process compliance and adoption.


In the intricate world of engineering systems and processes, the absence of proper documentation heavily affects organizations. From inconsistencies in system configurations to challenges in onboarding and prolonged learning curves, the repercussions are far-reaching. Emphasizing the value of comprehensive documentation is not just an investment in record-keeping; it is an investment in the efficiency, productivity, and success of engineering operations. As we continue to explore challenges and solutions in CAD system administration, stay tuned for more insights that can transform the way your business approaches engineering documentation and system optimization. Book a call with us today to talk about how we can help you properly document your engineering systems and processes.