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Case Study

Global Manufacturer Ruhrpumpen Uses Adept Document Management to Pump Up Their Global Expansion Plans

Who:
Ruhrpumpen is a global centrifugal pump technology company that offers a wide range of engineered-to-order products for the Oil & Gas, Chemical, Power, Industrial Applications, and Water and Mining industries.

The Challenge: Achieving three strategic objectives
According to Victor Melendez, Corporate Development Director, Ruhrpumpen's immediate global corporate strategy has three key vectors:

  1. To expand geographically, increasing their market presence and building plants in in South America - namely Argentina and Brazil and The Far East primarily in India and in China
  2. To increase their product offerings in the higher-profit, engineered-to-order side of their market.
  3. To improve their documentation processes to satisfy increasingly demanding customers and to prove they are an easy and technically agile company to work with.

Expanding Geographically
To successfully expand requires that all of Ruhrpumpen's global facilities be able to work together and share resources. But with Research & Development plants all over the world using “ad hoc” processes, and different locations using different part numbers, classifications, specifications and controls, Ruhrpumpen needed to automate and streamline their document processes, make documents available across plants, and remove time consuming and inefficient manual processes.

Melendez explains a typical problematic scenario, “Melendez explains a typical problematic scenario, "We need to ensure that the product we make in Germany, Mexico, the United States or anywhere for that matter, is made exactly to the same engineering standards and quality levels. Otherwise, parts might not be fully interchangeable between one location and another; and the product may be different in one location versus another one".

“The key to solving this headache is the ability to share information among the different design and manufacturing centers and service centers within the company,” says Melendez. “Our goal is to get everyone working on the same latest revision.”

Increasing Product Offerings
As in most industries, the faster Ruhrpumpen can get innovative, customized, highly-engineered products to the fastest-growing segments of their market, the better. For Ruhrpumpen, this means sharing information among plants to develop products quickly...sharing parts, sharing designs, and sharing resources.

“It’s critical that we all have ready access to the same information, so that drawings and other engineering specifications are easily shared and controlled,” says Melendez. “For example, we need to make sure that if a part number is going to be made in Germany that they're able to pull the engineering drawing, with exactly the same revision level and with all the proper specifications that will allow them to make exactly the part that is needed. We need to ensure that happens.”

Improve Documentation Processes for Greater Customer Satisfaction
Ruhrpumpen's customers are demanding more and faster documentation for their products. The ability to share and keep track of the information flow to and from their customers has become crucial not just from a customer-satisfaction perspective but also from a revenue-realization standpoint. Much of their revenue depends on delivering the right documentation so it's a bottom line concern. “Our customers need to know that we are easy to do business with and that we are a technologically adept solutions provider for them,” states Melendez.

This perception was at risk, given the company’s previously de-centralized data systems and tedious manual processes. Jenny Knox, Project Manager at Ruhrpumpen explains how complex it was to manage their documentation. “We split our transmittal documentation into three separate places: One system stored our CAD files with all revisions in a vault; another system stored our transmittals on a network drive location; and yet another DOS-based system was used to record ‘when something came in and when something came out.’”

“With all these disparate systems, it was very difficult to control the revisions that were sent to a customer and to relate the document billing to the customer,” remarks Knox. “When a customer required an actual transmittal that listed all the documentation from start to completion of a project, we had to create them by hand.”

Adds Knox, “The major financial impact was not necessarily the number of people who were creating transmittals, bur that our outdated system made it difficult to invoice for our final deliverables. It was very hard for us to track when things were completed, or when something hadn't been completed.”

The Solution: Ruhrpumpen invests in Adept document management, a centralized solution for their global engineering and documentation

Adept gives Ruhrpumpen a platform for unified global engineering. . .
With Adept document management system from Synergis Software all Ruhrpumpen facilities are able to share and control resources regardless of time zone differences, language differences and cultural differences. Everyone is able to work “on the same page”. Says Melendez, “Now that we are working with controlled, predictable, automated document management systems, globalization of engineering processes is a lot easier.”

“Adept allows us to make sure all of the drawings are up to the latest engineering revision level, especially for all of our newest leading models,” states Melendez. “As we have moved geographically to these distributed locations with evolved 3D modeling in Autodesk Inventor, Adept allows us to make sure that all the information is properly shared and properly controlled between the different facilities.”

In a global organization, it’s also important to strategically control access to information. “We needed to start moving our data into different areas to be managed by the right people, and then give access to all the people who need it -- but in a controlled way,” explains Knox. “That's one of the areas where Adept is really enabling us. It's allowed us to do these kinds of global administration that would just not have been possible in the past.”

Adept allows Ruhrpumpen's facilities to get new products to market more quickly and more profitably
For example, the company is designing a new product line where a portion of the product line is being developed in Germany. The other portion of the design is being done in Mexico. “With Adept that information sharing has allowed us to develop the product line more effectively more efficiently and using fewer parts than if we had developed these product lines separately, either in Germany or in Mexico,” explains Melendez. “Now we're able to share some parts between one location and the other. So in that respect it has helped us tremendously in ensuring that our 3D models, engineering analyses etc., are easily shared between our design and service centers.”

Adept cuts customer response time from hours to minutes.
Customer focus and customer satisfaction depends heavily on document flow, and Adept has helped Ruhrpumpen deepen their relationships with key customers by streamlining document processes.

Before Adept, a critical customer documentation process required an engineer to check the customer purchase order from sales and create a spreadsheet that listed every single document the customer would need throughout the lifecycle of a project.

Explains Jenny Knox, Project Manager at Ruhrpupmen.“One of the big things that we're able to do with Adept that we were never able to do in the past is, within minutes provide an updated status of a project to the customer. Before, we spent almost two hours going through every customer document to manually create a project documentation report. Now we're able to create the report in minutes. It’s a huge time-saver – not to mention we can easily track when a document is late.”

“Adept is an integral part of our daily work”
Over the five years since its implementation, Adept has become such an integral part of Ruhrpumpen’s global operation that it would be difficult to place a dollar amount on its contribution to the organization.

States Melendez, “Trying to place a figure on the value Adept provides the company is like asking you to quantify the value Microsoft Windows in your PC. I mean, you can't really put a number to it. Adept is an enabler. It's something that enables us to provide all of these services to the different plant locations and customers.

Knox agrees. “Our project managers can't imagine what it would be like to do their jobs without having document management.”