When the senior management of Fluid Components International sent Karyn Dawes and her team on a quest to replace their manual document management with a computer system, their first choice was rejected for cost and complexity. They dug deeper into the marketplace and discovered Synergis Adept. Now they have more than document management, they have a complete engineering information management and workflow solution that serves multiple departments including manufacturing.
Fluid Components International is a world leader in flow and level measurement applications for industrial process and plant applications. They offer their customers a variety of patented thermal dispersion flow measurement technologies, and claim to have the world’s largest installed base of thermal flow meters, flow switches, and level switches. With offices and manufacturing facilities in California, The Netherlands, and China, engineering processes and production workflow were becoming too complicated
“At first everything was in paper,” says Karyn Dawes, Configuration Manager at Fluid Components headquarters in California. From drawings to procedure management with paper drawing logs, “it was all a manual process.”
They were using software for rudimentary document management, a flat file system Dawes says “was becoming obsolete.” They decided their new document management software needed to do more than control CAD files. “We use AutoCAD, Word, and Excel. We needed a program that could handle all these file types. Adept was it.”
Adept has proven to be more than up to the challenge, Dawes says. “I can put anything into Adept; it doesn’t matter what file format. Adept may not see it as a supported file type, but we can still maintain it and put a revision control on it, no matter the file extension.
Fluid Components primarily manages engineering documentation in Adept, “but if management says, ‘Hey, put this somewhere,’ we will find a place for it in Adept, even if we have to create a library for it.”
Fluid Components also takes advantage of the workflow management features in Adept. Adept PublishWave has become part of their automated workflow. An add-on to Adept, PublishWave enables single or batch mode printing to both hard copy and to PDF/TIF electronic documents directly from Adept. This provides all team members — especially those who do not use Adept directly — access to the critical data they need without having to have various native software applications (CAD, for example) on their desktop computer. Synergis has designed PublishWave for organizations that want tight control over engineering document output. It is commonly used to automate drawing production and version control and provides clients and vendors required documentation in a suitable format.
PublishWave usage is “across the board” at Fluid Components, Dawes says. “Our engineers are our ‘doers,’” says Dawes; “they use it most for sign-in and sign-out and revision changes.” The Fluid Components sales team also uses PublishWave to share drawings to both customers and prospects. “I have others in our approval process, those who must approve documentation as it goes through,” Dawes says. Manufacturing shop floor drawings are also transmitted using PublishWave, covering that last mile with Adept’s process and workflow management.
“After implementing Adept, we really saw the advantage of being able to not only view current documentation at the touch of a button, but also to see our version history,” says Dawes. Fluid Components is now in the process now of bringing other version history records into Adept. “Not necessarily as a ‘version,’ but as a file in and of itself,” says Dawes. “Obviously we can’t version something in that wasn’t there to begin with.” Adding new file types is allowing them to “expand and capture more history over the course of time than just what is now in the current version in Adept.”
Next up, Dawes says, is getting their Quality Assurance group on board with Adept. Currently QA uses an aging Access database. “I keep telling them we can put it in Adept, in its own library and its own vault.”
Dawes has nothing but praise for the support her team gets from Synergis Software. “We are well taken care of by Help Desk. Our account manager is there if we need her. If I submit a ticket, they are talking to me within a half hour and they are on it.”
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Randall S. Newton is Managing Director of Consilia Vektor, a research and content development consultancy specializing in engineering and distributed ledger technology (DLT) industries. He has been a guest contributor to the Synergis Adept blog since 2014.