Basic things like columns, beams, braces, etc. We use weldments to get the shapes needed, but just for each single part. Then, assemble those parts and the plate work in an assembly which correlates with our shipping marks. Those shipping marks are assembled into another assembly, which is the full layout of the sales order and is used for a general arrangement/construction drawing. We did try to put plates directly into the weldments, but the cons far outweighed the pros.
What I'd like to avoid are replies like "why does your company do things that way?" My company is in this weird place between structural and mechanical. There is no software 'perfect' for what we do. Thanks for any help/idea you provide!