Jovix vs. the Status Quo: An EPC Firm & Mod Yard Case Study

A top global EPC firm performed a 3-month Jovix pilot project on a module yard site in the Canadian Oil Sands. The purpose of this pilot was to perform a live side-by-side comparison of Jovix and their legacy materials management solution. Jovix offers real-time Material Readiness data in a collaborative platform with RFID-enabled mobile technology; whereas the legacy solution is paper-based and does not have a mobile component. Jovix served as a bolt-on solution that provides material visibility in real time in an automated, mobile, and graphical interface on both tablets and a desktop server.

This ROI analysis focuses on the observed efficiency gains in material location, receiving, picking/issuing transactions, and post-pick visibility.

The project team, comprised of Jovix and non-biased EPC personnel, performed time studies for Jovix mobile transactions alongside the manual, paper-based processes that are the EPC firm’s status quo. The study focused on these transaction types with anticipated improvements with Jovix:

  • Material Receipt: Anticipated gains in efficiency by eliminating the paperwork
  • Request/Pick/Issue Processes: Anticipated gains in efficiency by eliminating paperwork, improved visibility, and improved process control
  • Material Location Tracking a.k.a. “Track and Trace”: Anticipated gains in improved material visibility, reduction in material location times, and reduction of temporarily lost materials

The intent of this field comparison was to quantify the time savings and efficiency gains achieved with an auto-ID enabled mobile solution for field transactions in order to build a business case for an enterprise-level adoption of Jovix across all of the EPC’s projects globally.

PILOT GOALS

Prior to Jovix deployment, the following goals were established as the success criteria for the pilot project:

  • Improvements in material location times for pre-engineered pipe spools and structural steel
  • Business process validation related to Jovix functionality
  • EPC team training and familiarization with the Jovix solution
  • Module yard employee training and familiarization with the Jovix solution
  • Exploration of Jovix solutions components
  • Validation of the ROI framework
  • Validation of initial EPC legacy solution and Jovix integration business requirements
  • Assessment of Jovix capability to manage all site materials management transactions within the mod yard

PILOT GOALS

Prior to Jovix deployment, the following goals were established as the success criteria for the pilot project:

  • Improvements in material location times for pre-engineered pipe spools and structural steel
  • Business process validation related to Jovix functionality
  • EPC team training and familiarization with the Jovix solution
  • Module yard employee training and familiarization with the Jovix solution
  • Exploration of Jovix solutions components
  • Validation of the ROI framework
  • Validation of initial EPC legacy solution and Jovix integration business requirements
  • Assessment of Jovix capability to manage all site materials management transactions within the mod yard

STUDY METHODOLOGY & ASSUMPTIONS

The Jovix team and the EPC field team worked on-site for the duration of the pilot. To establish baseline measurements, the Jovix-EPC team first shadowed module yard personnel performing activities on-site, recording exact process activity sequences and associated time demands. The team spent additional time interviewing personnel to gather subjective data around process pain points. Any process activities not directly observed by the Jovix-EPC team were replicated in mock trials, with the observed time demands rolled into the expected total process times. With few exceptions, all input data used in ROI results and estimates have been empirically derived.

It was assumed that a full Jovix deployment beyond the pilot project would include upstream tagging at the supplier location for pipe spools and steel. In order to incorporate that assumption into the pilot testing, the Jovix-EPC team travelled to supplier locations to pre-tag materials. Receiving time-savings data assumes that time demands associated with applying RFID tags or barcodes is absorbed by the supplier.

Jovix, EPC, and the module yard team jointly agreed that the ROI measurements should focus on project activities in which Jovix would be leveraged during an actual implementation at the module yard, specifically receiving, picking/issue, and material storage location maintenance support.

Mod Yard Observations & Pain Points

The following observations and pain points were recorded and used as a baseline for all future measurements of efficiency gains:

  • Delay in MRR paperwork submission to office and delay in actual data entry
  • Delay in pick tickets returned to office for filing
  • Difficulty locating pipe spools
  • Lack of material visibility, post-pick

Implementation Results

Receiving To improve process comparison, time savings percentages exclude the time between MRR paperwork completion in the field and the time the MRR is actually entered into the legacy system. This delay is significantly larger in scale than the activity process times (hours versus minutes). However, this delay does impact material visibility. The EPC team members observed an average 8-hour delay from the time an MRR was completed in the field to the time the MRR was delivered to the Materials Management office. The EPC team observed a further 4-hour delay before the MRR data was input into the legacy system.

Overall Result: When comparing the entire receiving cycle time, from MRR creation in the field to final update of the legacy system, Jovix reduces the MRR cycle time by 12 hours. This efficiency gain is made possible through the use of RFID tags on pipe spools loaded onto trailers upstream at the fabricator. Receipt of the materials requires only a scan of the tag with a mobile tablet.

Result by Percentage Breakdown MRR Process Time Savings: 47% Jovix-enabled receiving reduced the total receiving activity time by 47% when considering MRR scenarios that did not contain OS&D, Direct Transfer of Material (DTO), or Rework from data entry errors. The time reduction is driven primarily by the ability to scan pre-tagged/pre-barcoded materials to check against the shipment packing list, and the instantaneous transfer of MRR data into Jovix and the legacy system upon tablet sync. These two process improvements eliminate the need for manual data entry of MRR information into the legacy system, as well as the manual checking of handwritten material IDs against a paper-based shipment packing list.

MRR Process Time Savings*: 59% – Jovix further reduces receiving process times when including the time demands associated with OS&Ds, Direct Transfer of Material (hot material), and Rework scenarios. Specifically, the EPC team observed a 93% reduction in time demand associated with the OS&D management process. Jovix automatically generates OS&Ds based on user-definable logic, eliminating the need to manually create OS&D reports in the legacy system. When required, Jovix enables users to capture photographs with the mobile tablet and automatically associates those photographs to both the damaged material and OS&D record, eliminating the need to capture, upload, and organize OS&D photos in a separate file directory external to the legacy system.

When Direct Turnover to the workface is required for hot material, Jovix reduces the time for this activity by 80%. Jovix supports immediate issue of received materials without the need to sync to the server, while the legacy system processes require the manual creation of a pick/issue ticket.

Implementation Results

Receiving To improve process comparison, time savings percentages exclude the time between MRR paperwork completion in the field and the time the MRR is actually entered into the legacy system. This delay is significantly larger in scale than the activity process times (hours versus minutes). However, this delay does impact material visibility. The EPC team members observed an average 8-hour delay from the time an MRR was completed in the field to the time the MRR was delivered to the Materials Management office. The EPC team observed a further 4-hour delay before the MRR data was input into the legacy system.

Overall Result: When comparing the entire receiving cycle time, from MRR creation in the field to final update of the legacy system, Jovix reduces the MRR cycle time by 12 hours. This efficiency gain is made possible through the use of RFID tags on pipe spools loaded onto trailers upstream at the fabricator. Receipt of the materials requires only a scan of the tag with a mobile tablet.

Result by Percentage Breakdown MRR Process Time Savings: 47% Jovix-enabled receiving reduced the total receiving activity time by 47% when considering MRR scenarios that did not contain OS&D, Direct Transfer of Material (DTO), or Rework from data entry errors. The time reduction is driven primarily by the ability to scan pre-tagged/pre-barcoded materials to check against the shipment packing list, and the instantaneous transfer of MRR data into Jovix and the legacy system upon tablet sync. These two process improvements eliminate the need for manual data entry of MRR information into the legacy system, as well as the manual checking of handwritten material IDs against a paper-based shipment packing list.

MRR Process Time Savings*: 59% – Jovix further reduces receiving process times when including the time demands associated with OS&Ds, Direct Transfer of Material (hot material), and Rework scenarios. Specifically, the EPC team observed a 93% reduction in time demand associated with the OS&D management process. Jovix automatically generates OS&Ds based on user-definable logic, eliminating the need to manually create OS&D reports in the legacy system. When required, Jovix enables users to capture photographs with the mobile tablet and automatically associates those photographs to both the damaged material and OS&D record, eliminating the need to capture, upload, and organize OS&D photos in a separate file directory external to the legacy system.

When Direct Turnover to the workface is required for hot material, Jovix reduces the time for this activity by 80%. Jovix supports immediate issue of received materials without the need to sync to the server, while the legacy system processes require the manual creation of a pick/issue ticket.

Material Location, Pick/Issue

Result by Percentage Breakdown Material Location Time Savings: 63% – The time required to locate materials was reduced by 63% when using a combination of GPS coordinates and RFID tags. Although outliers were removed from the data sets to allow for better process comparison, there were instances observed by the Jovix-EPC team of picking crews unable to find materials for multiple hours using the legacy system without Jovix technology. Those actual man-hour costs are higher, considering that multiple workers were searching for the materials simultaneously.

It is important to note that this study was conducted at a relatively small, well-organized, and well-run modular facility with an experienced materials management crew. Despite these advantages, the GPS and RFID functionality of Jovix still achieved a significant improvement in the efficiency of locating materials. It is reasonable to expect further efficiency improvements when implementing Jovix on larger, more complex projects.

Pick & Issue Time Savings: 46% Picking and issuing process efficiency improved by 46%, inclusive of material location time demand. Using the same approach as the MRR process analysis, time savings percentages exclude the time between pick ticket paperwork completion in the field, and the time the signed pick ticket is actually returned to the warehouse for filing. This delay is significantly larger in scale than the activity process times (hours versus minutes). While this delay does not affect materials visibility under the non-Jovix enabled process, it does increase the risk of documentation loss. This risk of documentation loss is virtually eliminated when using Jovix-enabled devices to perform picks and issues in the field. Materials Management staff have immediate visibility into the specific state of materials as they move through the picking and issuing process in Jovix.

Materials Visibility The EPC legacy materials management application does not track materials beyond the pick/issue stage. Using Jovix, the Jovix-EPC team confirmed the feasibility of tracking picked/issued materials through installation. To demonstrate this concept, status logic was defined such that any materials that were located by sweep in front of a module were automatically updated to “At Workface” status. Once the RFID tag was removed and read in a disassociation zone, the status was automatically updated to “Installed” status.

Thus, in addition to the issue of the pick list out of the legacy system, Jovix was able to track three additional material statuses post-pick:

1. “Picked” 2. “At Workface” – Indicates the material has been staged 3. “Installed” – Once the RFID tag has been collected and disassociated

Conclusion

This EPC firm is a global construction leader, and is setting the example of what is possible when adopting a solution that enhances complete visibility into today’s complex project landscapes. Jovix and this client continue to work together to develop new functionality that responds directly to the needs of today’s construction mega-projects, which benefit the entire industry from EPC Firms to Owners, Contractors, Fabricators, and Suppliers. Collaborative tools are a key component to greater efficiency and productivity in this industry.

*includes OS&D, direct transfer of material, and rework time demands

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