How does a global Engineering, Procurement and Construction (EPC) organization manage and track over one million critical engineering documents at every phase of multiple projects, across offices from Pittsburgh to Beijing…and still save $760K a year? By looking closely at every step of the project processes with an eye to driving out costs with automation supplied by Adept document management.
Who: Taggart Global is a multi-disciplined engineering organization that provides a wide range of services from: metallurgical and engineering investigations, Front End Engineering Design (FEED), and feasibility studies through to full EPC project delivery of mineral processing facilities and associated infrastructure for the resources and energy sectors.
The Problem: Taggart was spending over $760K a year on non-billable, non-design work on two processes alone: Their “drawing register” and transmittals.
Says Stan Jankovic, CAD System Analyst, “We looked at our internal processes and realized that we were pretty inefficient and there had to be some type of solution to fix that.” But rather than focus on only those two processes alone, Taggart decided to look at every step of the project process to see where costs could be eliminated through automation.
The Solution: Adept is literally used at every stage of a project lifecycle: From Request for Proposal, through Estimating and Design, all the way through Construction and Post Construction.
Request for Proposal. When a Request for Proposal is received, a job number is issued for that project. Then all the documents are saved into Adept and the project becomes “live”.
Estimating. Next, all estimating information for a project is stored in a proposal folder in Adept. “Our process and marketing guys work with the client to ensure that we give them an estimate for what they really want to build,” notes Jankovic. “It’s at this stage where you get a hundred versions of our project ‘flow sheet’, which charts every design and modification for the project.” Adept is used to manage all the revisions.
Once the estimate is complete, it’s placed into Adept for an estimator to hash out the numbers. “Everything that gets placed in Adept is transparent. Everybody can see the estimates no matter where they are located. So if someone forgets to add in a $100K crane to the project, it’s obvious to everyone and the estimate gets fixed.”
A completed proposal is then sent to the client via an Adept transmittal.
Design and Engineering. Once a project is awarded, all the contract documents get stored into a different folder within Adept and the design process begins.
Eliminate the drawing register. “We asked our designers how much time, on average, they spent every day working on the ‘drawing register’,” recalls Jankovic. “The overwhelming response was three to four hours every day – modifying an Excel file. Now, that’s not doing design work or checking drawings or assisting junior people. When you add it up, at three hours a day, for 12 people, making roughly 40 dollars an hour, that’s $360,000 a year.”
Before Adept, this detailed information was manually typed into the drawing and into an Excel-based drawing register. Whenever a drawing was edited, the information was manually typed into Excel. Now with Adept, it’s no longer necessary to use or edit an Excel file, because this file has been replaced with Adept’s SQL Database.
In fact, with the help of Adept and Crystal Reports, “real time drawing registers” have become a reality. Attribute information is entered once into a drawing title block and is read and extracted into an Adept Data Card. When the drawing is signed back into Adept, the drawing information is re-extracted and is used by Crystal Reports to generate an updated drawing register report.
Automate transmittals. “Prior to Adept, sending out a transmittal required a full time person to type in 12-digit drawing numbers, along with their titles and descriptions into an Excel spreadsheet; and then print out all of the necessary drawings for the transmittal,” states Jankovic. “Separately, they filled out a transmittal cover letter and they manually matched up the drawing numbers in the Excel documents with all the drawing names in the transmittal zip documents. When you add up the cost for their time and labor, you add another $400,000 dollars a year just to send transmittals.”
Now with Adept, sending a transmittal is a much simpler process. Adept creates a transmittal PDF file based on a standard template. Then the documents are selected from the Adept FileGuide. Finally, Adept creates the transmittal letter as well as the transmittal email.
Construction. Once construction begins, we move all the project documents into a different Adept library, which has limited access. During construction, only the lead designer has authorization to make a change. As a plant is being built, there are constant revisions, such as which document has been changed in the field from the time it was designed.
“Once the plant or conveyor is authorized, we move the project documents into another Adept Library, where access is restricted to only me,” says Jankovic. “Because once it is an As-Built and once it is stamped that it is As-Built and it is functioning, nobody can do anything to that file, literally, except me.”
At this restricted stage, should Jankovic do anything – such as view a document – that task will be tracked in the Adept Audit trail.
Post-Construction. Once the project is completed, all the documents are stored in Adept. These projects can be re-used for other work, and then can be viewed or printed, but they cannot be modified.
To Get the Most Out of Your Document Management System. . .
Jankovic advises, “Look at your internal processes before you jump at any system out there. See internally how you work now and how you can improve that with document management. That is probably the biggest thing.”
By looking at every step of the engineering, procurement, and construction project process, Taggart, with the help of Adept and Synergis Software, were able to drive over $760,000 of costs out of the system.