Digital Transformation, Concurrent Engineering and What it all Means
Engineers and safety and maintenance professionals innately understand how difficult it can be to track capital asset equipment, and why engineering document management is so critical in managing an organization's equipment management process. It is because managed documentation must be accurate.
As changes are made to documents, the most up-to-date and complete information needs to be accessible for engineering, safety and maintenance teams. To ensure changes are properly managed, document version control is imperative. That is why part of an organization's digital transformation strategy to improve safety, technician efficiency and ROI needs to be finding a collaboration tool for Autodesk Revit as a SharePoint alternative.
Common Critical States of Today's Manufacturing
When trying to stay ahead of the competition in today's digital transformation environment, several issues must be considered at the local level. Your organization must address:
Whether data and supporting systems can be hosted in a Cloud environment, thereby lowering the demand on their IT architecture and support staff. These servers and systems take upkeep and will require replacement if hosted within your organization. Outsourcing this work to a cloud-hosted environment has shown lower direct costs, higher uptime, and a more viable product as upgrades and hardware support is managed by your provider.
Key knowledge resources within your organization are always moving on – to other opportunities (internal or external), to retirement or simply moving away from your company. If their information is organized and retained in a system that allows your team to continue with as much data as possible, this reduces lost efficiencies that will result as organization changes occur.
If your organizational capital (funds and personnel) is tied up in maintaining a wide array of aging hardware and locally hosted applications for an existing system or process, this creates an inertia to making progress that cannot be ignored. SaaS options continue to push their capabilities forward in order to maximize the value gained by their customers.
Safety and Compliance
Operating safely and within compliance is not optional. Much of the costs of these requirements can be tied back to applying standards to operations and maintaining adherence to said standards.
Managing change is crucial to ensuring the right information is available for your team to make key decisions in the field. You need a repository for this data and to ensure that all changes are completed properly and as quickly as possible, including the ability to track the rate of change and report on delays.
Certain documents are of such critical importance that they require a single-threaded change, meaning only one change at a time can be considered. For most documents, however, a more agile approach could be used, provided systems and controls exist to ensure accurate documentation is available for all engineering, maintenance and safety teams who could be consuming it simultaneously in the field.
Where this more agile approach excels is when long-running projects must coexist with smaller field-level changes related to work orders. Accruent’s engineering document management solution, Meridian, solves this challenge through a capability called concurrent engineering.
In a recent webinar, we described how Meridian enables this capability and how this can improve your project and maintenance processes. Watch the recorded webinar on-demand now.
Concurrent engineering, also known as simultaneous engineering, is a methodology focused on the parallelization of tasks using a team approach. Unlike most departmental solutions that are limited and not purpose-built from inception, Meridian provides a complete solution to manage all concurrent plant modifications. This includes small, medium and large concurrent plant modifications to maintain as-built master data for operations and maintenance teams.
Meridian also allows organizations to manage concurrent engineering for seamless project handover and easy audits. Customers can see a reduction in cost through the decrease in downtime and immediate access to all necessary as-built data leading to quicker repairs and cost savings.
What is concurrent engineering and how does it relate to engineering document management?
With concurrent engineering, a given document can be worked on under separate projects at the same time.
Concurrent engineering allows for visibility to statuses, review states, and version comparisons.
Meridian manages the relationships between checkouts – be it engineer, technician, safety or compliance assigned users – with an audit trail of users for document version control.
Why is concurrent engineering necessary for an organization?
Concurrent engineering facilitates agile projects, meaning continuous changes to critical capital assets.
An engineering document management system that works with AutoCAD creates empowered engineers and designers with overall access to document management metadata.
Concurrent engineering ensures that As-Builts are as accurate as possible, negating, for example, two years of redlines stacked up behind project or inconsistencies in As-builts at project handover because of field changes.
How can concurrent engineering help your organization?
Whether you are an engineering manager, environmental health and safety manager, a plant operations manager, or a reliability manager and engineer, concurrent engineering can improve your engineer document management by making:
Comprehensive documentation possible
Reporting for compliance and C-level easy
Changes visible and apparent to all stakeholders
Consequences of Ineffective Engineering Document Management
Companies that struggle with poor or inaccurate engineering documentation management will see negative implications across their teams. Here are a few common ways that various stakeholders are can be impacted:
Environmental Health and Safety Managers
The goal of an environmental health and safety manager is to ensure the company can continue to operate through compliance with regulations, reporting to both internal and external stakeholders. If they do not have the information they need, any number of both public relations and company problems could occur, including accidents, injuries, harm to stock prices and reputations, and loss of operating permits.
The engineering manager not only supervises employees but is also the chief problem solver. Without access to accurate documents for critical assets, decision making is more of a guess than a test, which costs time and money. If an engineer has access to a single "source of truth," their job is not only easier but costs the organization significantly less time and money.
Reliability Manager or Reliability Engineer
The reliability manager's primary goal is to identify and manage asset reliability and the risks that could adversely affect plant or business operations. An engineering document management system could be a vital player in their day-to-day processes by providing full visibility to project and asset documents and all the notes or changes attached. It enables them to approve workflows, and access archived projects and a portal for the reliability team to practice concurrent engineering, even with outside contractors.
Plant Operations Maintenance Manager
By directly overseeing maintenance personnel and all the technicians involved, the primary responsibility of taking care of critical capital assets falls to this manager. They have the most searching and coordinating to do in cases of failure. A single source of truth, knowing that there is no redline stack in a back room to be uploaded, all vendor information intact and the ability to make notes for engineering at the time of need, is an invaluable asset for limiting costly downtime.
Concurrent Engineering in Use
By using the concurrent engineering functionality available in Accruent's engineering information management software, users can track documents to ensure projects run in parallel and are error-free. Meridian also provides users real-time visibility to monitor revisions from different projects and ongoing maintenance. Project members associated with the same documents are notified automatically when a parallel project releases updated documents. This avoids unnecessary delays and shortens project turnaround times.
Find out how Accruent’s Meridian can help you achieve maximum ROI from your digital transformation efforts. Contact us today to request a personalized solution demo.