In the Wake of Disaster, Thru Tubing Systems, Inc Beats the Competition to the Punch with Adept Document ManagementCase Study
Since 1997, Thru Tubing Systems, Inc (TTS) has been providing specialized downhole services and equipment to customers worldwide. As the oil and gas landscape becomes more demanding, Thru Tubing Systems, Inc. must rise to meet the challenge, continually innovating and improving to beat the competition to the punch.
Thru Tubing Systems, Inc is a forward thinking company. Since its formation, the company has always looked for ways to distinguish itself from the competition through innovation and proactive strategic management. In 2002, as TTS expanded to multiple locations, management realized the need for document security, central archiving and standardization of files. As a result, Adept was evaluated and installed to meet the needs of the company. “We quickly realized what the power of Adept could allow TTS to accomplish,” states Glenn Walls, TTS mechanical designer & manufacturing supervisor. “Not only would Adept meet the current needs, but we were able to develop, through Adept, a Full Tool Certification / Life Cycle System.”
The High Cost of “Multiplication Error”
Once TTS moved to multiple locations, accessing and attempting to keep the files all in order within Windows Explorer was impossible. Glenn explains, “We had numerous problems with files being stored in the wrong folders, causing manufacturing to order parts from the wrong revision, which cost lots of money.”
The Need for Tighter Security with Multiple Locations
With employees located in different towns, TTS management wanted to address the vulnerabilities of documents being accessed and used. “With Adept, we were able to lock down document access only to approved personnel,” says Glenn.
“Security wise, it is always good to know who is accessing, viewing, and printing files,” remarks Walls. “In a perfect world, everybody is honest and good, but in the real world, not everybody is. It is prudent to have file security. Unfortunately, lots of people are honest as long as they know they are being checked on.”
Stricter Customer Requirements
Since the disasters of Hurricane Katrina and the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, TTS’s oil and gas clients have gotten very stringent about what they require from their service providers. They want to know the specifications for all tools that TTS delivers: What materials they are made from; chemical specifications; the heat numbers; and so on — everything that’s going into their wells. With the proactive thinking of TTS management and through the abilities of the Adept program, TTS was years ahead of the requirements requested by the Oil Companies.
Satisfying Stricter Customer Requirements with Adept.
Adept makes responding to customer demands a snap. TTS now uses Adept to track every part back to its material manufacturer. If a particular material has a defect, TTS can go into Adept and find all the parts made from that material. They can pull all the specifications for items tracked by serial number, lot number or material certification documents and get that information out to the customer right away to solve problems efficiently and effectively.
“You just have to think about it a little bit and you can make Adept do just about anything you want it to do,” claims Walls. “If a customer has one of our tools and we find that there is a defect in that particular material, we can go back in and tell you where the parts are, who has them, and where they are located. If we get a problem with a tool we can go back and find out every customer that has a tool, and has it been run on a job, and has there been any problems.”
Walls explains how TTS used Adept to respond to customer demands, leap frog the competition, and win new clients. “We recognized the benefits of tracking our tools early on and this put us ahead of the process for the demands to come. Adept helped us be able to track and serialize all our parts. Now that customers are getting more stringent with the requirements, a lot of our competitors are playing catch up. But we are already set up. We already had a form; we were able to produce what the customers want.”
Now, the TTS service manager can bring in prospective clients and say, “Go and pick any tool off the shelf randomly and we will pull all the paper work for you.” Then the manager can go pick the tool, look at the numbers, go to Adept, open it up, and print it out for the prospect.
“We definitely sell our document management capabilities,” says Walls. “It’s a cutthroat business. Companies will get sales based on their ability to produce something quick. But our efficiency is not just sales-pitch. It is built on the fact that we do what we say we do. We can back it up with our testing and our documentation verification with Adept. Organization and understanding translate to higher service quality. Therefore, we have fewer problems saving TTS and our clients’ time and money.”
In fact, every project, from design to testing, is managed and controlled by Adept
“When we start a new project, we copy files out of Adept,” explains Walls. “We don’t use the Autodesk Inventor Content Center for parts and pieces. We use Adept instead. We set up our work areas for the project and we can do our design and walk through and everything locally: Screws, bolts, o-rings, as we need them. If it is not in Adept, we simply construct what we need and add the part in. We are constantly building up our custom library.”
Adept allow TTS to address service and work area concerns while designing. They step through the whole design process, making notes in Adept. When a part is ready for ordering, it’s filed in Adept. It’s reviewed in Adept. After testing is complete, the testing notes are added to Adept. If a customer ever asks for testing results, TTS simply pulls them from the test results area in Adept.
With assemblies as complicated as the ones TTS manufactures, Adept helps them go from design to production to delivery efficiently. “One of the great benefits of Adept is its ability to keep track of the links when you are in a 3D environment,” states Walls. “I might have one part on three different assemblies. It is crucial to know where the part is associated so not make changes that may affect other assemblies in a negative way.’”
Not Just Eliminating Errors…But Leveraging the Power of Information
Eliminating the errors associated with having multiple files, accessed by multiple locations, is a basic, yet critical benefit of document management. And Adept has helped eliminate errors by getting all of TTS users on the same page. Says Walls, “We know who owns a file; we know where the file is located; we know that we are working with the latest version; and we have confidence that the part being ordered is the correct revision.”
But, beyond these fairly well known benefits, TTS is experiencing benefits that directly impact important business decisions. They can now leverage their information in powerful new ways. When Walls first came to TTS, employees filled out paper forms to request purchase orders. These were filed away and were, of course, time consuming and prone to error. Furthermore, all that valuable information was impossible to leverage.
But now, Walls can pull reports from the Adept-controlled files quickly and easily. Recently a TTS employee asked Walls to estimate how much money TTS had saved by changing vendors on a particular part. “I was able to do a quick query of the system, pull up the purchase orders, and take a look at the differences,” says Walls. “With a simple search I was able a report that showed we saved seventeen thousand dollars over the last 11 months. I would have never been able to that without Adept.”
TTS is now leveraging their information to make crucial business decisions that boost profitability and competitiveness.
It’s Not Just for Engineering: Adept across Departments
As the above example illustrates, TTS is leveraging Adept beyond its well-known engineering and design strengths. TTS uses Adept for …
- Material Traceability
- Tool Life Cycle Records
- Serialization of Tools
- Purchase Orders
- Material Requisitions
- Delivery Receipts
- Standard Operating Procedures (SOP)/Tech Units
Any file that is used repeatedly, “we put them in one place so anybody with the proper permissions can access and use the files.”
So Simple and Powerful It’s “Part of Our DNA”
Like many of Adept’s biggest fans, Walls has difficulty measuring the value of Adept to his firm because Adept has a way of improving and impacting everything they do. Says Walls, “How do you measure what you do not mismanage? You can measure something that is mishandled because you have a dollar amount that has been lost. We know that we do not have near the issues we had prior to implementing Adept. ”
“If you want to know how successful Adept has been for TTS — eleven years into it — TTS is still using Adept and thinking of more ways to utilize this simple but powerful tool,” remarks Walls. “It has really become part of the DNA of what we do. Not many things keep me up worrying at night, but if somebody told me tomorrow we could not use Adept anymore, that would keep me up… Adept has definitely been a great investment for TTS.”