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Technical interview: EIDA Solutions
Oil and Gas Technology spoke to Dan McAlister, cofounder of EIDA about how his company can help the pipeline industry
How does your software assist pipeline engineering companies?
Established in 2010, EIDA Solutions brings together a wealth of experience in the construction and technology industries. We have leveraged this domain expertise to develop a ground breaking solution to assist engineering companies in this digital age. The EIDA team has developed four main modules within the product, each to help our clients in their day to day work. These include Document Control, Quality Assurance, Engineering and finally Commissioning.
Document control provides a comprehensive solution to adding, managing and distributing a vast array of project documents in an intelligent database. Its principle objective is to make the latest documents readily available at the point of need, whether in the office or on site. An overview of all this information can be assessed through a number of different reports and charts.
Quality assurance enables users to instantly generate project handover documentation. The unique EIDA rules engine ensures 100% accurate content, thereby eliminating costly rework all too familiar during and post project handover. Whether a CSA, Mechanical, Electrical or Commissioning project, EIDA not only generates and compiles all necessary handover documentation, it also offers management with full project handover oversight.
The Mechanical module incorporates a fully functional pipework fabrication and installation progress tracking system. Multiple stages of pipework fabrication can be updated via mobile devices, with full spool audit history instantly available. Increased fabrication productivity is guaranteed on large and small scale projects. EIDA also manages requests and deliveries to site, eliminating costly duplications of pipework and supports. In a recent report carried out by one of our clients and Dublin Institute of Technology, it was noted that less than 0.2% of pipework on the project needed rework, thus saving our client many thousands of dollars.
The EIDA Tracker enables users to monitor progress of a range of construction activities, from equipment deliveries to area/room handover. Checklist templates are instantly applied and users have the ability to capture images and record punch items directly from a mobile device. All data is real time enabling users to accurately view project completion and with P6 integration, progress against schedule (PAS) is automatically calculated. Upon project completion, all data is readily exportable to a client’s asset management system including necessary information from the construction modules, such as related drawings, TQ’s and Submittals.
Why would pipeline companies invest in your solutions at a time when there is so little cash to spare?
We have developed a software product which uses technology to accelerate and simplify the delivery of complex construction projects. This has been proven on all our projects to date and our interactive approach to improving many processes aligns itself with the paradigm of Lean Construction. As mentioned previously, we are dedicated to enabling our clients to reduce project operating costs, enhance quality and optimise site performance. Reducing rework on a project to less than 0.2% can lead to enormous savings.
EIDA Solutions main goal is to save clients on costs. Many CRM systems tend to charge large outlay before a project begins. This mainly comes in the form of training, customisation and an upfront fee for using the product. At EIDA, we feel that all of the costs associated with setting up a new project should be spread out over the course of a project and this is why we use the software as a service (SaaS) model. We only charge our clients a monthly fee which incorporates full training, customisation, server costs and above all, quality support from our very own dedicated support team on standby 24/7 to deal with any queries pertaining to EIDA.
How do you streamline fabrication and installation operations? What aspects of pipeline fabrication and installation does your software help manage and control?
Fabrication and installation is fully traced by adding labels with a QR code to each pipe spool. This component can then be tracked using the hand held devices in the fabrication facility and on site. Each stage of fabrication, from material picked to despatch can be tracked giving engineers control of their project.
Companies that continue to rely on papers records for their day to day business operations are denying themselves the opportunity to differentiate their businesses and create a sustainable advantage in the field. Many companies who avail of our services would have come from a heavily paper orientated process of tracking fabrication on excel, to creating requests via paper dockets. A major stumbling block is the lack of transparency between the fabrication facilities and site.
How important is the ability to access this tool via mobile devices and apps?
The EIDA app fully compliments the software’s existing features, providing the users with a range of functionality in order to manage projects on site, where it matters. Since its inception in early 2012, the app has developed into a great tool for engineers to access all relevant information onsite or in an office environment. Its main features are Document Retrieval, Progress Tracking, Punch Items and Daily Activity logs. The app is IOS and Android compatible and also has the ability to work offline, meaning user can carry on work uninterrupted.
We have great ideas for the app in the coming months where we will be fully integrating with Building Information Modelling (BIM) and Geo-fencing settings which prevents the App from functioning when removed from a specified location, thus enhancing a client’s security requirements. This coupled with ever changing technologies means that we can constantly improve on what we have to offer.
Is this level of connectivity and control a revolution in pipeline engineering operations?
This product has been specifically devleoped with this industry in mind. Users carry out there daily tasks in EIDA that they would otherwise be doing so across multiple platforms. Document retrieval, weld history, punch items, progress tracking, logistics and many other site based activities are all encompassed in EIDA.
How user friendly is the EIDA App? Why is this important?
Ease of use is a primary objective for us. Our app enables multiple users (fitters, welder, foremen, engineers & management) to carry out their daily tasks in a site environment. Updates are instant when online, but in more harsh environments where connectivity is not guaranteed, the app is fully functionlal offline and updates automatically once connectivity has been restored.
What led to the decision to develop EIDA?
Dan McAlister realised a severe lack of software ‘tools’ available to aid engineers and management with the execution of mechanical & electrical construction projects. In October 2009, both Dan McAlister and Ramy Michael commenced the design and development of a software product to address this gap in the market.
How did you go about developing it?
In-house development commenced in late 2009 and the software was successfully piloted on a power generation project in January 2011. Since then, the software has been used numerous on oil & gas, semi conductor & pharmaceutical projects throughout Europe and the Middle East.
Do you plan to increase the capability of this module? If so, why and how?
We are committed to ensuring our customers not only receive the best software product in order to achieve project results, but we pride ourselves in our comprehensive maintenance and support package included in implementation. Each product has its uniqueness and tailoring the software to suit the project requirements is necessary in order to maximise results. This is done by understanding our client’s requirements and incorporating additional functionality, exceeding expectations in most cases.
Do you plan on developing further solutions for the pipeline sector? If so, why and how?
These are very exciting times for EIDA Solutions. We have a great team of developers and R&D specialists who are constantly enhancing the performance of our product. Our development roadmap and continuous development (mainly from clients) results in an ever improving product.
BIM forms a large part of our development roadmap. If it gets built in EIDA (for instance down site via the mobile device), it will be displayed as built in BIM. This provides management with realtime updates within a 3D environment.