In a Tightly Regulated Industry, Sunoco Logistics Uses Adept Document Management Software to Achieve More Accurate & Secure InformationCase Study
The energy industry is heating up, and Sunoco Logistics, (www.sunocologistics.com) a company responsible for transporting, terminalling, and storing refined and crude oil pipelines, must keep up with the industry demands for reduced costs and improved operational efficiencies. In its 115 year history, the company is more responsible than ever to regulators such as the National Pipeline Mapping System (NPMS) and Department of Transportation which require more stringent reporting and higher security standards for all pipeline related documentation. For these reasons, the company turned to Synergis Software’s Adept document management & workflow software to help them improve the quality of their data, add internal procedures for compliance, and increase security for all their pipeline documents.
New and tighter regulations are making the company more responsible for its data. It is regulated to supply the government with spatially accurate electronic data of its pipelines and facilities, and for updating and re-submitting any changes that occur on an annual basis at a minimum.
Managing More than CAD Files
Sunoco Logistics purchased Adept to replace its first document management system that no longer could manage the company’s increasingly complex CAD files, versions and inter-relationships with other non-CAD documents such as maps and images. Plus, with the pipeline industry moving toward the spatial/GIS world, Adept gave the company the capabilities it needed to associate its non-location type files, documentation standards, and construction files with spatial information.
While Adept was initially used in Engineering to manage and store AutoCAD files, it grew into a central repository to organize and control access to virtually all types of files — from pictures to scanned engineering drawings or even maps. Now the company uses Adept to store CAD, TIFF, PDFs, JPEGs, CALS, old raster file formats, AutoCAD, AutoCAD Raster Design, MicroStation, ESRI shape files, Excel and Word documents.
Multiple Departments Benefit from Adept
As Adept handled an increasing number of file types, it provided more relevant information to different people in Engineering, GIS Design, and Right of Way departments. Engineering uses Adept to manage AutoCAD files for civil, mechanical piping, and electrical design. They can also create, display and maintain the parent/child relationships between ESRI shape files and other files so they can be accurately tracked and accessed throughout a project lifecycle.
Beyond Engineering, Adept is used at all of the company’s field sites. Currently there are 13 seats of Adept in the Eastern and Western Pipeline Area-with another 20 seats expected in the next few years. Remote field personnel use Adept to access the most up-to-date maps, which they print out, bind and store in their vehicles. If Engineering makes a change to a map alignment sheet, the policy is for all field personnel to be notified in a required amount of time. Before Adept, notifying the right people about changes was time-consuming and manual; someone sent out a paper form, made a phone call, and then sent out updates by emails to individuals. There was also the added risk of being fined by the Department of Transportation if they discovered the wrong version of a map in the field.
With Adept, the notification process has been reduced from one week to just 10 minutes. Now when Engineering makes any changes to its alignment sheets, Adept is used to distribute the latest version of the map and automatically notify the appropriate people via email. Additionally, the field personnel use Adept’s enterprise visualization tool to review, redline and assign changes to transfer facility drawings back to engineering, which improves collaboration and design quality.
A Growing Need for Secure Documentation
As the company grew into the GIS world for pipeline design and maintenance, it needed to have a process for documenting and submitting required information to the Department of Transportation and other agencies. Adept gave it a reliable and easy way to collect and transmit this information electronically.
Adept’s security features are among its top benefits for the company. Because Adept has the ability to restrict access to documents based on very granular permissions, it helped the company comply with Federal security regulations from the Department of Transportation security measures and 9/11 requirements.
Because Sunoco Logistics pumps product through a pipeline for many different companies, it is required to report to the government when changes are made to certain standard pieces of shipping data. Adept gives the company a reliable and easy way to collect and transmit this information to the Department of Transportation and other agencies. Adept maintains version control and an audit trail about every task performed on a document, which helps Sunoco Logistics comply with regulations that require it to track historical data on its pipelines. With Adept’s audit trail feature, the company knows what, when, and how something was changed in a document.
Improving the Quality of Data and Standards
Throughout the Adept implementation, Sunoco Logistics worked with the Synergis Software team to migrate its legacy data directly from a spreadsheet format into Adept in batch mode – as many as 10,000 files at a time. Sunoco Logistics currently manages nearly 120,000 documents in Adept and expects to add 20,000 more documents this year.
Before migrating its data to Adept, Sunoco Logistics removed duplicate file names and implemented new standards. Once the legacy data was qualified by internal Quality Control and Quality Assurance, it took one week to train people on-site and install Adept on their laptops so people could be immediately productive after training. To complete the implementation, the companyís Civil Engineering Data Specialist went to all major field sites, where he installed Adept and trained the field technicians so they were self sufficient.
Lastly, the company hired Synergis Software’s Custom Programming team to create a customized file number/naming program. The program renames documents and has the ability to generate thousands of different numbering combinations for all of Sunoco Logistics’ facilities throughout the organization. The program is very complex while being very flexible. Most importantly, it saves the company time and ensures accuracy and achieving its business objectives to keep up with the industry demands for reduced costs, improved operational efficiencies, and adherence to government regulations.