Dear Desktop Engineering Reader:
Economist Ronald Coase, who had been the oldest living Nobel laureate, passed away the other day. He was 102. I heard one of his University of Chicago colleagues — yes, Coase worked to the end — say something to the effect that Coase’s genius lay in looking at the way organizations and societies operate, asking the obvious question that no one had ever posed, and then offering an answer. That sort of insight into the obvious problem that no one has seen and arriving at a solution resonates throughout today’s Check It Out paper presentation.
“Taggart Global Saves $760k a Year Using Adept Engineering Document Management at Every Step in the Project Process” is a quick but meaty read. The plot goes like this: Taggart Global is a successful, multi-disciplined EPC (engineering, procurement, and construction) organization. It provides a wide range of services, such as metallurgical and engineering investigations, front-end engineering design, feasibility studies, full EPC project delivery of mineral processing facilities, and related infrastructures for the resources and energy sectors.
Taggart’s systems analysts could see that some of their vital internal processes were pretty pricy. Specifically, they were shelling out more than $700,000 a year on just two non-billable, non-design work processes alone: tracking a drawing’s status and creating, transmitting, and tracking documents sent to various project stakeholders. How come?
It turns out that both activities were inefficient, manual Excel-based processes that ate up a lot of time. For example, engineers were spending three maybe four hours a day modifying an Excel file to reflect their design activities. The article estimates that this process alone racked up labor costs of $360,000 a year. My opinion here since it’s not mentioned, but this lost productivity had to hamper the company’s ability to do more business as well.
Anyway, this realization led Taggart’s systems analysts to study every step of their project process to see where manual labor costs could be controlled through automation. And the search for an automation backbone that mapped well to their organization eventually led Taggart to the Synergis Adept EDM (engineering document management) system.
Skipping ahead, this paper describes how Taggart now uses Adept to automate every stage of an EPC project’s lifecycle and details the problems that Adept has solved. Among the topics covered are request for proposals, estimating, design, engineering, construction, and post construction. And, of course, Adept tracks the status of all documents as well as creating, transmitting, and tracking documents sent off to various project members.
This paper really got me thinking of places I’ve worked at and how I work. So much of the way we work is habit. After all, the job has to be done and it’s always been done that way. Right, yeah, but is the process efficient? Does it enhance productivity? Is that manner of doing the work needed any more? Does the cost of the process impinge on the potential profit of the product? Those are the sorts of questions this paper brings up. It’s a good one. Download it from the link below.
Thanks, Pal. – Lockwood
Anthony J. Lockwood
Editor at Large, Desktop Engineering