The Projects Problem

OK, so you have an oil refinery or a chemical processing facility, and it comes with a “user’s manual” of several thousand documents whose contents have to be managed. Your documents’ integrity is important; not just for running your plant efficiently, but also for proper maintenance and for the safety of your workers.

Industrial facilities also have engineering, maintenance & construction projects running concurrently. These projects all require their own sets of documents and procedures to function, and often these are the same documents. Some projects modify their documents, and some don’t. So, after a period of time has passed, which document is the master? Where is the single “point of truth” in your documents across multiple projects.

This is one of the biggest challenges in industrial document control; managing concurrent engineering. While platforms like Microsoft SharePoint are excellent for team collaboration, barring third-party enhancements, they lack the controls necessary to insure long-term integrity of your documents. Integrity is everything for your documents. Without it, you lose trust, and without trust you lose the value of the documents. Not only does this cost money, but lives.

You can assign unique “dash drawings” to each project. These are copies of master documents whose doc numbers are appended with a “-1”, “-2”, etc. to differentiate them from the masters. Then you can reconcile the masters with redlines over time and reissue new documents as the changes are reconciled. This involves time and work and requires excellent communication between project users.

You can use a controlled document management application with a built-in concurrent engineering capability. This empowers selected users across multiple projects to check out and edit their own project copies of the master documents. Changes made to the same documents can be consolidated across multiple projects and reconciled into a new master document. Upon check-in other users of these documents automatically get notified of and linked to these changes.

E*Doc revision 6.0 has a projects module with full concurrent engineering capability. This gives your projects the freedom to not only use the current master revision of any document, but also the ability to make changes to those documents in a controlled manner that maintains their integrity across multiple projects.