What are the benefits of standardizing structural design work?
Key issues in the steel detailing industry
A steel detailer produces detailed drawings for fabricators and erectors of steel works. The detailer prepares detailed plans, drawings and other documents for the manufacture and erection of steel frameworks (columns, beams, braces, etc.). used in the structure of buildings, bridges, industrial plans, and the like.
ANNEX GROUP is a leading company in the steel detailing industry and has been dealing with key industry issues for years:
- A lack of standards in the industry’s design work, including standards for drawings and the scope of information exchanged between the detailers and factories producing structures.
- Difficulty managing comprehensive project information (customer correspondence, detail drawings sent, change notifications, etc.)
These two problem areas ultimately lead to significant and widespread third problem area, quick responses to customer inquiries and requests. More specifically this involves ineffective communication with customers regarding service and project change valuations.
Change of approach
Around ten years ago, the market began to drive the speed and efficiency of customer service. It is ultimately affecting the quality of project implementation and business relations.
Annex GROUP, wanting to maintain its international role as a market leader, decided to address all three of these issues with one comprehensive solution. The checked the technological solutions on the market and did not found a sufficient answer. Because they did not tolerate compromise, they decided on pursuing a dedicated software solution.
ANNEX GROUP’S result was a standardized practice for creating and circulating project documentation in the field of steel detailing across the world.
Way to deal with the challenge
Cooperating with White Label Coders has allowed ANNEX GROUP to jointly consider the right software solution, the ERP platform, which fulfills the need to optimize processes in three key areas:
- Cost reduction (project leaders – the company’s most important resource – should spend much less time on manually generating documentation). We also should closely monitor and correctly bill project scope.
- Improving client experience – by consolidating communication, reducing human error and giving long-term clients access to the platform too.
- Improving elements of business controlling – by visualizing the profitability of projects / clients and the efficiency of project leaders in successfully delivering projects.
Cooperation between ANNEX GROUP and White Label Coders
In response to the needs defined by ANNEX GROUP, the White Label Coders team of developers devised an IT solution that addressed these practical needs through the following functionalities:
- Monitoring hours spent on projects by individual engineers, including over-hours, vacation and sick leave. The main purpose is to track the profitability of individual projects, clients and award bonuses to the most effective team leaders, who successfully deliver projects within the originally quoted budgets.
- Automating (and thus consolidating) client-facing messaging.
- Collecting requests for information sent by the team to the client in a specific project context, to make the information easily available for all the team members, as well as, to keep an eye on how responsive the client is and make it easier for the project leaders to follow up with the client.
- Organizing the project into phases and tasks, closely connected with the repository of the design files, which are dispatched to the client. The system automates preparation of individual packages, automatically keeping track of the increments of work provided by employees, revisioning the documents and generating detailed documentation, which traditionally has been prepared manually (transmittal letters, drawing logs, project statuses, RFI logs).
- Keeping track of change requests on the client’s end. The system provides a tool to quote changes and make sure that all extra work (if approved by client) gets billed correctly later on.
- Providing easily-readable dashboards for the team leaders, to simplify project supervision.
The system for ANNEX GROUP is still in the development phase, currently under testing, with the current scope expected to finish in the first quarter of 2020.
After system implementation, ANNEX GROUP’s daily monitoring of the following will detail exactly how they’ve benefited with standardization of document generation and document error elimination, also faster document preparation and oved efficiency in technical project documentation.
An important benefit of using the system will also be improvement of accuracy and efficiency in client communication and finally project and personal indicator (KPIs) reporting through system functions
“Universal system access to international employees is invaluable (thanks to this, every member of the project team has access to the same data at any time” was particularly emphasized by Mr. Romuald MALINA , Annex Group General Manager for Silesia Delivery Offices, as the real business value.