JDR Cable Systems Case Study

The Client

JDR Cable Systems Ltd. is a provider of bespoke subsea power cables, umbilical systems and reeler packages for a broad range of applications to the offshore energy industry. JDR has an accomplished record of meeting client expectations and a commitment to life cycle customer service which makes JDR the global partner of choice to its customers. JDR is expanding rapidly with the current business level expected to double in the next two years. Th company has international manufacturing locations in the UK, the US and the Far East.

The Challenge
The solutions provided by JDR Cables to its customers are complex and challenging. The solution developed involves sales, engineering design, planning, manufacturing and QA departments. Some of the components are supplied by external parties. The sensitive role that the solutions play for offshore energy companies require thorough testing of all components evidenced by certification, regulatory compliance and test documentation.

In total, a document set of some 8,000 pages is supplied to the customer to accompany each solution delivery. Full payment by customer is dependent on the satisfactory delivery of agreed documentation.

  • A SharePoint based documentation management system was required to:
  • Meet the rapid growth of business by increasing productivity from existing resources
  • Facilitate centralised project document control through project site based collaboration
  • Integrate the working of sales, design, planning, manufacturing and QA departments
  • Ensure availability of correct versions of documents during entire project life cycle
  • Implement fine grained access control and approval hierarchy
  • Ensure availability of audit trail for all key documents and workflows
  • Reuse business information across multiple systems through Enterprise Application Integration
  • Manage the customer change requests to ensure design, delivery and commercial integrity
  • Enable easy collation and delivery of the comprehensive document set by QA
  • Enable timely payment from customers

An additional complication was the lack of senior analytical and technical resources within the IT departments.
Because of experience with previous initiatives, key employees in various departments needed to be convinced that the new initiative was different and will succeed.

The Solution
ION IT was initially engaged to carry out business analysis of the requirement and present an outline of the solution to the Executive Management Team in July 2012.

This phase involved mapping current business processes in all the departments and drawing out the wish list of requirements. Document flows and document relationships were established along with the issues preventing the efficient functioning of processes in the sales to order to cash cycle. A presentation was made to the EMT and their approval to proceed obtained.
In order to mitigate the risk of such a large project, JDR cables agreed to carry out a proof-of-concept project. This was a sample document management solution providing automated invoice scanning and processing (IPS). This project started in August 2013 and involved the integration of multiple systems: Ephesoft document capture/scanning, SharePoint repositories and workflows and InforVisual ERP.
The solution includes metadata extraction from invoices, data validation, document numbering, storage and retrieval mechanism, filtering capabilities, matching of goods receipts and purchase orders, and input to accounting and payment systems with a bi-directional integration between the ERP Financial Module and the SharePoint document repository.
The main Document Management System (DMS) project started in October 2013. This built on the analysis work done earlier to design the overall solution. ION IT were tasked to evangelise the proposed solution to the business and to engage the EMT and the department heads and their teams in order to explain the project and their role in the successful delivery.
The first part of this project was to establish an integrated document numbering system for all the internal policy, procedure and process documents including the templates used by all departments in their work. This enables the Sales and QA teams to establish a competitive advantage via clarity of the bid proposition to the customer, and to automate the documentation packs delivered to the customer as part of the product delivery.

An additional benefit is the improved efficiency of business processes, and the consistency of those processes across JDR’s multiple locations.

For each customer project, the document collaboration will start early with the opportunity managed first through SalesForce, with key documents being synced with SharePoint Document Repository. At the firm stage, SharePoint will automatically build a full Project site based on triggers from SalesForce. The project sites will be based on pre-defined site templates linked with key forms, procedures, work instructions etc. relevant to the project. The documents will hold key metadata including automatically generated document numbers based on a predefined numbering scheme. Workflows will manage the processing of documents within and across the departments, triggering notifications at key milestones and providing transparency into the entire document life cycle. The project is being implemented in phases which started in December 2013. Core functionality has been delivered at each phase including:

  • Policies, Procedures and Processes (PPnP) governance site and workflows
  • Project site for each customer product
  • Material release workflows
  • Master document register
  • Manufacturing record book
  • Proposal management system
  • Packing list management system
  • Issue (defect) management system
  • Microsoft project server integration for time/task capture
  • Timesheet system
  • Extranet delivery via Box integration

Key hurdles during the journey were:

  • Educating different stakeholders to accept the need for the solution
  • Simplification of business processes within departments
  • Reconciling differing priorities and preferences of various departments
  • Selection of appropriate technologies
  • Distributed development of the solution in three locations
  • Effective project management keeping the EMT engaged over the project lifecycle
  • Time pressures on key JDR Cables employees with conflicting requirements of the DMS project and their day to day work.

Benefits to JDR Cables:

  • ION IT was able to exceed JDR Cables’ expectations by providing: • Analytical, technical and internal selling leadership
  • Reliable technology selection guidance
  • An evolving, scalable solution to address JDR Cables’ expansion objectives
  • An innovative contribution to address issues outside application development
  • An innovative methodology for fast and effective solution delivery
  • Attractive economics
  • Future flexibility – resources and support