Challenge HZI faces during execution of large EPC projects
The main challenge HZI is confronted with especially when executing large turnkey projects is based on the large distances that lie between their head office in Zürich and the individual site locations. It is essential for an efficient project execution that HZI team members are able to quickly and securely exchange documents regardless of their location and this is not possible using any common form of correspondence such as e-mail or a postal service.
Also, the correct document handling is very important. Besides having a core-team of about 20 people at the project site and another 100-120 team members working from Zürich, HZI is also confronted with high fluctuations of team members during project execution. At times new engineers join the team 5 or 6 months after project start and the project manager needs to ensure that all team members regardless of location as well as the time they have entered the project, will work with the newest revisions, have an overview of the status of all documents they are responsible for, and work according to HZI standards.
At all times the document workflow must be traceable without any gaps and time frames must be upheld according to the agreed and contractually settled schedule.Here it is nessecary to be able to include all important correspondence, especially the correspondence that relates to the various document revisions such as customer comments or submitted information and documents received from suppliers. A gapless documentation therefore, is not only essential for HZI internally but also a requirement in terms of the final document handover to the client who also requires a complete documentation.
General Challenges for HZI:
- Quick & secure document exchange between various locations
- High level of document transparency and traceability to ensure on-time delivery and cost control
- Implementing cross-project standards for processes, consistent workflows and project correspondence to compensate for high fluctuation of project members
Prior to introducing PIRS, HZI stored all documents on the main drive of their internal file server, all team members copied documents to their local client and worked with their copy. Therefore, it was hardly traceable which copy was the latest version.
The sending of documents to the customer or supplier was also done locally from within the personal mail box of various team members. It was difficult to track which document version had been sent to the customer or supplier and especially if and when a document had been sent exactly. If the respective team member was not available, his correspondence could not easily be accessed. Therefore, each team member and even the project manager was only able to access correspondence they were involved in directly as sender or recipient or that had been filed manually in a central folder.
In addition, internal approval processes were not as transparent and required a lot of manual work as well as paper printing. In order to approve a document, it was first printed and reviewed, then comments were made on the print-out which was then scanned in and forwarded to the next in line to give his approval. Each person required to approve a document would therefore print, then scan in each document he needed to review.
Roland Gassmann summarized the situation prior of introducing PIRS as follows:
“In general, there was a lack of transparency. […] It was difficult to keep track of currently valid document revisions and the status of the latest documents, whether or not they had been sent to a third party and if HZI was working according to schedule. […] Also document related correspondence including a complete record of the correspondence history could not be traced. […]
Therefore, we were looking for a system that would allow us to centrally manage all documents and revisions. At the same time we wanted to introduce a central document handling standard and controlled document workflows while also enabling us to include all our project correspondence.”
Challenges prior to introducing PIRS:
- Significant manual labor for document management and handling required
- Large amount of printed documents – multiple copies per document revision
- Lack of cross project consistency for the management of documents and correspondence
- Lack of transparency especially in terms of document status, current revision and correspondence history
- Missing overview of current project status
- Loss of important information included in project e-mails
- Lack of easy reporting