Jovix and the Power Market: A Combined Cycle Power Plant Case Study

The client referenced in this case study is a multinational construction and development company ranked in the Top 10 of the Engineering News-Record Top 400 Contractors for 2015. With expertise in civil infrastructure and commercial development initiatives, the client has set out to increase its presence in the power and energy market. In May 2016, the client contracted with Atlas RFID Solutions to implement the Jovix Material Readiness solution on a natural gas and combined-cycle power plant construction project. The owner/operator has stated that the project is to produce a gross capacity of 650 megawatts, improving energy efficiency in the region and powering over 650,000 homes. The power facility has been designed to greatly reduce the emissions footprint per unit of power, overall fuel costs, and nearly 85% of clean water usage.

Projected Savings
over 2 Years:

$1,047,123

Reduction in
man hours:

54%

Projected Savings over 2 Years:

$1,047,123

 

Reduction in man hours:

54%

Specifically, the client needed a solution to automate its material receiving and locating activities on the project site. The project team had been receiving materials for months via manual processes, which proved inefficient and error-prone considering the volume and complexity of the lifecycle. Through a deliberate and effective implementation approach based on unique pain points for this project, Jovix was deployed to address those pain points while automatically providing data for relevant KPI measurements that provide an ongoing methodology to measure positive impact and ROI for the client throughout the project.

QUICK FACTS

  • The client is listed in the top 5 largest building/manufacturing contractor by revenue and top 5 largest heavy contractor by revenue in the US (ENR Magazine).
  • The client aligned in a joint venture with another Top 10 ENR contractor and a large local contractor to form the structural EPC that is involved in utilizing the Jovix system.
  • Upon completion, the power plant will be considered one of the cleanest power-generating facilities in the state of New York.
  • The plant is predicted to lower the region’s CO2 emissions by approximately 494,000 tons per year for the first 15 years of operation

QUICK FACTS

  • The client is listed in the top 5 largest building/manufacturing contractor by revenue and top 5 largest heavy contractor by revenue in the US (ENR Magazine).
  • The client aligned in a joint venture with another Top 10 ENR contractor and a large local contractor to form the structural EPC that is involved in utilizing the Jovix system.
  • Upon completion, the power plant will be considered one of the cleanest power-generating facilities in the state of New York.
  • The plant is predicted to lower the region’s CO2 emissions by approximately 494,000 tons per year for the first 15 years of operation

Deployment Scope

Initially, the planned scope of the Jovix deployment supported only the management of thousands of heat recovery steam generator (HRSG) components for the plant. Through detailed discovery and operational assessment process, the Jovix/Client team determined that a more comprehensive deployment was needed. The client’s status quo materials management processes were dependent upon paper transactional processes and multiple spreadsheets. It was agreed that to maximize value of the system, Jovix would also digitize field materials management and Material Readiness processes to support more time on tools and therefore increased labor productivity, and enable visibility into the project with real-time material data powered by auto-ID and mobile tablets.

Pain Points
The project is very complex, with over 80,000 diverse materials – shifting care, custody, and control between several concurrent teams over the span of 2.5 years. The specific pain points addressed in this deployment are as follows:

  • Schedule delays
  • Cost overruns
  • Limited material visibility and low inventory accuracy
  • Disorganization due to up to 7 separate jobs simultaneously utilizing limited storage space
  • Undefined approach to Material Readiness
  • Delays in locating materials
  • Risk of re-procurement caused by inability to locate materials on-site
  • Manual processes creating inefficient, unclear procedures

Solution
The Jovix deployment was designed to relieve these specific pain points and to achieve the goals of this unique project. Those goals are as follows:

  • Support Material Readiness to enhance productivity
  • Provide visibility of materials throughout the supply chain
  • Reduction of direct and indirect labor costs
  • Virtual separation of designated material inventories
  • Proper reporting data for high-level project fulfillment
  • Ability to create efficient electronic receiving, storage, and issuing processes
  • Re-procurement cost avoidance through accurate electronic record-keeping and GPS/RFID location tracking
  • Inventory management and recognition across multiple yards and warehouses
  • Development of preventative maintenance record-keeping

Deployment Details

Material Readiness Approach
The client was looking for an opportunity to utilize a continuous improvement solution within their materials management processes. According to industry studies, the typical direct laborer spends 15% of time waiting on materials. With a Jovix deployment, users have access to real-time material data throughout the supply chain, ultimately reducing that wait time through positive material location identification, better planning with more reliable data, and a collaborative platform with work planning tools and scheduling software.

Field users on the project perform material transactions on a mobile device. These transactions include the following real-time mobile capabilities:

  • View and identify material locations
  • Request materials
  • Allocate materials to pick lists
  • Perform inspections and preventative maintenance activities
  • Flag OS&D items to quarantine
  • Issue bulks to site
  • Return items to stock

This increase in accuracy, visibility, and efficiency ultimately drives a more productive, less wasteful site.

Deployment Details

Material Readiness Approach
The client was looking for an opportunity to utilize a continuous improvement solution within their materials management processes. According to industry studies, the typical direct laborer spends 15% of time waiting on materials. With a Jovix deployment, users have access to real-time material data throughout the supply chain, ultimately reducing that wait time through positive material location identification, better planning with more reliable data, and a collaborative platform with work planning tools and scheduling software.

Field users on the project perform material transactions on a mobile device. These transactions include the following real-time mobile capabilities:

  • View and identify material locations
  • Request materials
  • Allocate materials to pick lists
  • Perform inspections and preventative maintenance activities
  • Flag OS&D items to quarantine
  • Issue bulks to site
  • Return items to stock

This increase in accuracy, visibility, and efficiency ultimately drives a more productive, less wasteful site.

Material Visibility & Inventory Accuracy
Prior to the Jovix deployment on the project, material receipts had been ongoing for months. The first challenge for the Jovix team was inventory accuracy. Over 2,200 individual pieces of material had been received on-site and each piece required identification, verification, and placement into inventory. Integration of data between purchased material and Jovix was imperative in order to achieve a streamlined process.

Within two weeks of deployment, the first laydown yard had been geo-mapped with all materials received and labeled. All physical locations were referenced within the system, allowing for the ability to quickly and accurately find, pick, and issue materials. The method of material data integration was also defined, allowing large amounts of materials and incoming shipments to be loaded into the Jovix system. The proven process was then presented to the site team, ensuring both a successful project commencement and eventual turnover of material receipt responsibility to client personnel.

Material Visibility & Inventory Accuracy
Prior to the Jovix deployment on the project, material receipts had been ongoing for months. The first challenge for the Jovix team was inventory accuracy. Over 2,200 individual pieces of material had been received on-site and each piece required identification, verification, and placement into inventory. Integration of data between purchased material and Jovix was imperative in order to achieve a streamlined process.

Within two weeks of deployment, the first laydown yard had been geo-mapped with all materials received and labeled. All physical locations were referenced within the system, allowing for the ability to quickly and accurately find, pick, and issue materials. The method of material data integration was also defined, allowing large amounts of materials and incoming shipments to be loaded into the Jovix system. The proven process was then presented to the site team, ensuring both a successful project commencement and eventual turnover of material receipt responsibility to client personnel.

Tagging Strategy

Barcode
The client team opted for geolocation via barcode to manage the materials in its equipment laydown yard. Barcode labels are ideal for warehousing and controlled laydown yards, where materials are not moved frequently, and they provide a cost-effective solution for materials stored in fixed locations or indoors. Barcodes may also be used in other areas of a project based on findings from the operational assessment and consultation with the site team prior to deployment.

Active RFID Tags
Active RFID tags are utilized on high-dollar, long-lead time, and engineered materials that are laid out over a large geographic outdoor area, with a high possibility of movement. Active tags, which are battery-powered and transmit RF signals at a regular cadence, report real-time location and status.

Receiving, Storing, and Issuing Material

The typical paper-based process of receiving material is inefficient and error-prone. Independent time studies show an average of 40 minutes per receipt using clipboards. With Jovix, materials are digitized throughout the supply chain and transactions are automated. Transactional data is fed to the server, enabling a streamlined process in real-time. Similar independent time studies utilizing Jovix for receipt transactions showed a time reduction to an average of 8 minutes per receipt, including OS&D activities.

Deployment Lessons Learned

The Jovix management team, in conjunction with the customer’s project management team, conducts a debrief after each project implementation period to identify any challenges that may have impacted the overall success or ease of set-up, adoption, and full deployment of the Jovix system at that site. Identified below are lessons learned through the project that, if addressed in future implementations, could help increase the overall positive impact as well as the perceived and realized values of the Jovix solution.

Lesson 1: Vendor Material Data

The method in which necessary material data was presented by the vendors was incomplete, with many shipments arriving without notice. This caused a backlog of data input to the Jovix system. Without prior assignment of a material identification number in Jovix, the materials could not be received in real time. The client had relied on the owner to provide them with contacts, material packing lists, and bills of material, as the owner, not the client, was responsible for the purchasing of materials. This gave the client limited leverage over the vendors when requesting BOMs and/or packing lists, and introduced obstacles in to the materials management team’s ability to plan and work efficiently.

Recommendations
In order for a customer to realize the maximum potential enhancement of the material visibility and material life cycle functions through the Jovix system, the Jovix team recommends the identification of data requirements early in the project timeline. Ideally, these should be defined and documented during contract negotiations between the contractor and the owner of the project. Doing so ensures the contractor has the sufficient leverage necessary to require suppliers provide proper documentation.

Lesson 2: Limited Field Users

At the time the Jovix System Coordinator (JSC) de-mobilized, the joint Client-Jovix team consisted of one field materials manager and two field users. The manager was responsible for all data entry management responsibilities in the system, and the field users were responsible for the completion of all of the physical requirements of receiving, picking, and issuing materials, as needed. Although these processes can be completed relatively quickly and easily via the Jovix system, the quantity of inbound materials began to overwhelm the small team of three.

Recommendations
While the team of three was sufficient at the launch of the project, the Jovix team recommends cross-training and adding additional users as a project’s material activities increase to peak volume. Not only does this help prevent staff overload, but it also lessens the risk of impact to the project schedule if one or more members of the materials team is away from or leaves the project.

Lesson 3: Limited Preventative Maintenance & Inspection (PMI) Requirement Information

The importance of reliable and efficient PMI processes to this, and any other, project cannot be overstated. However, limited information on the PMI requirements for this project were provided during the early stages of the implementation of the Jovix system.

Recommendations
It is important that the contractor and owner outline the proper procedures ahead of time, and designate the expectations of completion. Having these requirements outlined and resolved in advance of project start will help improve the rate of implementation for Jovix-supported process on site.

Lesson 4: Material Process Flow

Prior to the implementation of the Jovix system on the project, the material process flow was not fully defined across departments. In addition, there was a limited availability of operators, which resulted in delays across the yards and jobsite. Because these material processes had not been defined, individuals pulled materials at will and without proper notice or request. This practice resulted in substantial errors in material handling and inventory count.

Recommendations
Particularly during the early stages of a project, the Jovix team recommends that material processes are defined across all relevant departments and that check and balance systems are developed and implemented. This ensures that individuals are accountable for their actions. In the context of a Jovix implementation, these measures contribute to the complete and proper definition of acceptable processes and ensure that inventory accuracy is not impacted due to inconsistencies in the early stages of material management processes.

Measured Improvements with Jovix

Receipts
In the first 60 days of Jovix utilization at the project, over 8,300 material receipts were performed with the Jovix tablet. The labor savings and cost avoidances from the new Material Receiving Report (MRR) process is anticipated to reach a 3-to-1 ROI over the life of the project.

Issues
Since deployment, Jovix has recorded over 900 material issues. Based on independent time studies, the typical issue activity with pen and paper takes 11 minutes. With Jovix, the issue process at this project now averages 3.5 minutes. This 7.5-minute decrease will accrue significant savings over the life of the project.

Direct and Indirect Labor
Two of the client’s most important requirements for a successful Jovix deployment are increased efficiency and cost savings associated with Material Withdrawal Requests (MWRs) and Preventative Maintenance and Inspection (PM) activities.

Material Withdrawal Requests – The client required improvement with its status quo process for material withdrawal requests, which was paper-based, error-prone, and delayed. The Jovix system was able to address this requirement by enabling the creation of a digital MWR with a need-by date. When that MWR is created, the requestor can immediately see the percentage of materials that are ready for pick and issue. The user is also able to drill down into that MWR and see what materials are not available and why—such as inspection, OS&D, or a shipping delay. The status of each MWR is visible to all associated parties in real time. With this ability to manage by exception, team leads are better able to plan the work of those in the field, significantly increasing “tool time.”

Documented Savings This process greatly improved the project’s lead times and scheduling, as it provided metrics for the engineers and managers to allocate resources. Timed studies show that digitizing the MWR saves an average of four (4) minutes per document versus paper; yet the most significant impact is the unprecedented visibility into work planning that makes field activities more productive and efficient.

Preventative Maintenance and Inspections The client team also desired to make major improvements in its process for preservation requirements, which was also paper-based, error-prone, and delayed prior to the Jovix implementation. The tight coupling of the Jovix preservation functionality and the Jovix Material Readiness functionality drives efficiency by enabling material activities such as receipt to automatically trigger an inspection task. In addition, preservation activities are able to automatically update materials information. For example, if a material fails inspection, Jovix can automatically place that material into quarantine status.

Within the Preventive Maintenance and Inspections (PMI) functionality of Jovix, users are able to perform the following tasks:

– Build inspection templates
– Upload requirements from suppliers
– Create recurring inspections
– Set reminders and alerts
– Assign inspections to a user
– Locate equipment requiring maintenance
– Collect pictures and digital signatures.

Documented Savings: At this project, time studies reveal that the status quo process for creating and updating PMI records averaged 15 minutes per material transaction. With Jovix, the same actions are completed using a mobile tablet and take only 5 minutes.

Analysis & Conclusion

This is the first of many power plants that the client hopes to build, and is the first project with a Jovix Material Readiness solution deployment. By employing Jovix on this project, the client has been able to reduce material-related risks and eliminate associated inefficiencies. As the project progresses and the time savings associated with direct and indirect labor increase, the labor savings will also increase. The following graph depicts forecasted savings over the 24-month project timeline using current averages per Jovix functionality.

Projected Savings
over 2 Years:

$1,047,123

Reduction in
man hours:

54%

Projected Savings over 2 Years:

$1,047,123

Reduction in man hours:

54%

The Jovix team looks forward to a continued positive relationship with this project and with the client’s Power and Energy division for future projects.

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