Goodson Associates Lay The Foundations For Efficient Project Delivery And Office Connectivity
At our recent Never Compromise on Technology Breakfast Briefing in Edinburgh, Simon Innes, Managing Director of the civil and structural engineering consulting firm Goodson Associates, shared their journey to bring efficiency to project and document management, and ensure connectivity across the business with Deltek PIM. Here is what Simon had to say:
A Quick Introduction
Goodson Associates is a civil and structural engineering consulting firm providing design services to the construction industry. We have 80 staff based at one of our four offices in Edinburgh, Aberdeen, Glasgow and Leeds - all of whom work together to provide delivery of complex structures, infrastructure for development, and transportation planning.
Identifying Our Immediate Needs
- Our journey started with paper files. We were required to print every email onto blue paper before filing, creating a laborious task when locating an archived email.
- Our time sheets were managed in a similar way to emails. They were handwritten then put into the system manually.
- As an ISO 9001 accredited organisation and member of the Structural Engineers Registration (SER), we needed a system that would demonstrate our ability to meet customer and regulatory requirements efficiently and compliantly.
- Because we work as one team, ensuring connectivity among the offices has always been absolutely paramount to us as often we have teams in one city location working on projects based in another.
In 2006 we introduced a new document management system called Archetype, which at the time, enabled us to manage our emails and our project data in a more controlled manner. This gave us insight into how important it was to have such a system in place and how inefficient our systems had been in the past. Soon the Archetype system couldn’t cope with our needs however and we migrated to Union Square – later acquired by Deltek, now known as Deltek Project Information Management (PIM).
When looking to introduce a new system, it was important that our information would migrate easily. Thankfully, moving onto Deltek PIM from our old system was absolutely seamless.
Deltek PIM Is Making Us More Efficient
- We are now able to set up pools for new projects. This enables received and sent documents and emails to be tagged against the project for easy retrieval. If there is an attachment to the email, this can be added to the same or different pool or tag as required.
- When we receive a new project, this may be in two halves. There may be block AB and block CD but these can be linked easily into one pool, then any related emails linked to that same pool to avoid duplication.
- Timesheets and absences can be managed within Deltek PIM. I receive a notification of how many days late people are with submitting timesheets and likewise with absence, I can easily view who is out of the business on any given day.
- All outgoing sales invoices are generated in Deltek PIM. Once an invoice has been raised, it is pushed through to Sage. This gives us an accurate view over what has been raised and what is outstanding. Equally, invoices received automatically connect back to Sage via Deltek PIM.
- The Design Lifecycle Manager (DLM) process allows us to version control the drawings that are coming in and out of the system. The DWG is generated by Revit so when they are received, we can upload them automatically into the DLM though placeholders.
- Quality Assurance is incredibly important so we set up a system which automates the drawing management process. This allows us to identify the technician and relevant approvers through the DLM. When the technician uploads a drawing into Deltek PIM, it is then automatically sent to all approvers to review, add comments and eventually approve back to the technician.
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Life After Migrating To Deltek PIM
We now have our financials, emails, drawings and documents in one central location and our site investigations and structural reports are issued directly from Deltek PIM - maintaining security and version control at every level.
We have instant remote access to project information. Teams from across our four offices can access the detail they need relating to any project, whether they are on-site or in the field.
How much access is given to staff is very much determined at the discretion of the individual company but we felt that our teams should understand how profitable or unprofitable projects are so that they can help manage any challenges – so they have full visibility and access. Anything related to GDPR or HR is security protected however.
We still work on servers as I don't fully trust the cloud alone. Instead we replicate our data to one of our local office servers and in the cloud - so we have local and cloud backup. I can still access Deltek PIM from my computer at home though. We do not require a VPN. So I have it connected on my phone, my iPad and on my laptop.
Finally, we are always learning what else Deltek PIM can do. There's a real depth to it so we continue to want more out of it. I cannot imagine life without a document management system and Deltek PIM does the job for us.
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