Bill,
Sounds like the exact type of situation we are in. We have old schematics in
Autocad, old pcbs in PCAD and even a few designs in old Orcad. Until
recently, we used the same file managment system you describe and frankly I
did everything I could to get rid of it. What nonsense it was to keep all
the files separate. 
We use much the same part numbering scheme that you do for the individual
files and used to save them in separate subdirectories on a backed up
server. We call our "ECO's" ECN's but I see just as many as you seem to. It
was the policy that you kept track of what version schematic matched that
version of PCB by the "Revision Control Record" (RCR) in the ECN. The
product had a vintage number that was represented by the current ECN. So we
had paper controlling electronic files. (cart before horse senario)

We still use RCRs in the ECN, but we no longer break apart the files. We
keep the product number in the ddb file and show the independant
schematic/pcb versions in the file name as well.  Our ECN process is in the
stages of becoming automated as well. So linking one complete source file to
the database is going to be so much easier that linking, schematic, pcb,
gerbers, rev history...etc.
We also duplicate the source output into pdf files for documentation and
release into other departments not running Protel. The print manager works
wonderfully for pcb layers. Yes, it is a pain to configure each time, but it
only takes 30 secs to delete what I don't want and set up what I do. I have
the rebuild set up to only initiate when I click the rebuild button. When
set up, I can print out all the layers I want in any configuration in a
single pdf. To my knowledge, you couldn't do that with the old simplistic
print feature.
The working files are kept in a directory on the server that is accessible
only to the Development Engineers. Once a file change ECN is approved the
source and document pdf's are copied to a "release" directory for access by
the rest of the company. The only files that ever get separated are the
gerbers which like you are zipped up, then stored with the rest of the
source files for access by the purchasing dept.
Currently working files are divided up into project directories which have
individual access programmed, but we are experimenting with the priviledges
setup inside the Protel ddb file system.

We have re-written our ISO procedures to reflect all the new developments,
and personally, you would have to drag me kicking and screaming to back to
what you have to do. I'm not saying you are doing it wrong or poorly, but
the changes sure seem to be cleaning stuff up for us.

Regards,
Lloyd

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