Hans - looking at other companies for benchmarking data might be interesting, but you'll always end up comparing bananas to bricks. There are just going to be too many differences, in everything from company culture to work flows to business processes. Your only real source of pertinent data is your own organization, and the historical data you can mine from the past several decades of financial records. I'm not saying it's easy, but you've got the title and get the bucks, and this is part of the job.
However -- an old mentor once claimed that there are three important factors in the engineering biz -- People, Process, and Technology. And in that order! If you've got the wrong people, or have succeeded in demotivating the right people so they no longer care about organizational success, you're hosed.
After that, it's the business processes, workflow, and even the organizational culture. From the little bit you've mentioned, that sounds to be seriously borked. It definitely appears that there is an "Us vs Them" attitude between management and staff, which is a fatal disease invariably caused by management attitudes. If your staff are 'soldiering', then it's because of poor relations between the workers and the bosses. If the workers are disengaged, you need to get them engaged. Not just give them "Thou Shalt or Else".
I'll skip technology, because that's so far down the pike here it's unimportant. Start by doing the research into historical data, and use that to understand where you ought to be. Then think about how to get your people on board with company success. As an example: How much trainging are yiou offering to your cad folk? What's their career path in the organization? Are you providing decent hardware/software for them to do their job? Do they feel like they matter to the company, or do they believe they are marginalized and not respected?
Then look at the company management -- probably will really need an outsider to come in and really lay out the management and communication problems, although that's apt to be a hard sell.
Renderman: of course you've got project estimators, although they may not be called that. They are the people putting proposals together, and the project managers running the job after it's won. Whether they actually have a database of historical data to look at, damifino -- they may just be doing their manhour predictions from years of experience.