How Pelican Energy Uses Document Management to Add Revenue, Increase Billable Hours and Keep Clients HappyCase Study
Who: Pelican Energy Consultants, LLC is a privately held Consulting Engineering Company with offices located in Madisonville, LA, Metairie, LA and Houston, TX. Pelican provides Multi-Discipline Engineering, Design and Drafting, Project Management, Construction Management and Coordination, Procurement and Inventory Management.
Problem: How to add billable value in a down economy.
Every consulting firm lives and dies by billable hours. And billable hours can only be increased by adding real value for the client. So, in this economy, when clients are cutting costs and shaving non-essentials, every consulting firm must be on the lookout for legitimate and creative ways to add value, increase revenue and keep key clients satisfied.
For Pelican Energy, offering document management services for their clients was an obvious win.
Pelican provides document control for one of their largest client, managing and securing not only the documents that Pelican works on, but also the documents from other engineering firms that work with this key client.
Design Engineer Chad Chiasson explains the process. “If another engineering company needs drawings from our client. . .then they contact me and I sign out the drawings from Adept and email them to that outside firm. When they are done with their edits, they send the drawings back to me and I sign them into Adept as the latest version.”
Total document control for the client. And additional consulting revenue for Pelican. Win-win.
In addition, Adept makes life easy for consultant and client, in a very challenging document environment. Specifically, Adept manages thousands of documents of all types; streamlines the control of documents from a variety of sources, and manages complex file relationships.
Managing Thousands of Client Documents
Pelican not only controls their client’s documents, but they use Adept to manage and control every document from every other engineering firm that their key client works with. This amounts to between 15,000 and 20,000 documents for one company.
Not only does Pelican manage current engineering project documents, but they manage and track archived documents for projects from abandoned sites. Chiasson explains, “We keep the drawings for several abandoned sites. Sometimes there will be a platform from the abandoned site that they want to remove and use somewhere else. We use Adept to find those old drawings, even though that platform may not be where it used to be.”
This saves the client time and money through design reuse rather than having to go back and start from scratch on a new design. Real added value.
In addition to drawings, Pelican manages Excel spec sheets, permits, work orders, photos, jpegs and inspection documents for the client. Full service document management.
Managing Documents from Diverse Sources
When all the documents and drawings are coming from one source, that’s a pretty straightforward document management situation, but when there are 2, 3, or even 10 different engineering firms sending drawings in and out, that’s a prescription for chaos. Especially, when not everyone follows the rules!
Chaisson developed a simple way to standardize the incoming designs with their own drawing templates and it’s been a real added value for the client.
He explains, “The drawing borders that we use at Pelican are all designed to work with Adept, so that the attributes are automatically extracted and displayed in organized columns in our search results. When we get documents from our clients, most of them aren’t as organized as ours, so we manually fill in some of the attribute fields we think will help us search for those drawings”
Managing Complex Drawings with Extensive File Relationships
Pelican uses AutoCAD or CADWorx Plant to work on drawings like piping plans for this VIP client.
First they create a model in 3D. Test it. Create drawings, many of which are viewports. Lots of X-reffing. Sometimes there are as many as 20 other drawings that are associated with the model.
Chiasson explains that if a designer changes a pipe from 4 to 6 inches then all the drawings that feature that spot on the pipe need to be updated as well.
Fortunately, Adept manages all those relationships and updates everything automatically..
“All of the drawings that point to that spot will be automatically updated in the model,” says Chiasson. “I do not have to go and redraw all the piping in every single drawing. If I have one drawing that shows the plan view, and another drawing that shows the elevation view, I just go to the model and do it one time. Adept automatically updates all the other reference drawings.”
And the equipment being designed is so large and complex that multiple designers must work on each project. There’s no way everything can be included in one drawing. This, of course, adds to the complexity of keeping all the drawing and xref relationships straight.
But Adept keeps everything manageable…
“If you had just one model, only one person could work on it at a time,” states Chiasson. “Now when someone needs a certain drawing, I do not have to sit down and manually figure out all the support drawings that go with it. I use Adept to sign out the drawing and the support drawings are automatically signed out too. That is a big time saver.”
More Document Management Opportunities (and Revenue) in the Future.
Pelican is so pleased with the way Adept is helping them manage and control their clients’ documents, that they are looking for more opportunities to grow their document management services business and their revenues. Concludes Chiasson, “Getting more clients to use Adept for document control is a way for Pelican to grow its business. By training other users in Adept, we hope to pave the way for those new opportunities.”