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Case Study


Document Control & Submittal Management Application

Being a document controller for a Vendor company can be extremely frustrating. Their job is crucial for the success of large engineering projects, but they do not get the recognition they deserve.

During an engineering project, a document controller needs to route the right document to the right person and the right time. For any piece of equipment involved in the project, a series of technical documents, like manuals, test or procedures need to be attached.  These documents are always changing hands, new information gets added, orders are changed and it very easy to lose track of what is going and experiencing delays because of documentation.

Every day, hundreds of documents are submitted from Engineering Production and Construction companies to Vendors and Sub-suppliers, and sent back. This is normally managed manually on a spreadsheet and at the end of the project, all documents get printed and put together in a compilation, which could weight easily 20 kilos of paper.  One single error and everything will be rejected.

What is the solution?

DocBoss is the main product of Gnaros, a software company located in Calgary, Alberta.  And its goal is to simplify, automatize and optimize the chaos described above.  The system automatically keeps track of the piece of equipment in a purchase order, links them to series of required documents, creates an index for each one of them, keeps track of where the documents are, route them to right person and at the end of the life cycle, collects all documents in a compilation, ready to be printed.  Well, it actually does way more things, but I am giving you the short version.

Understanding user’s pains

DocBoss ethos has always been about service and commitment to their users, and they took to the task to understand their user’s pains like no one has done it before.  In 2016, DocBoss published the study “Supplier vs EPC, Why is document controlling so painful”, which counted with the participation of 106 organizations, 45 supplier organizations, and 61 EPC organizations, focusing in document controllers, project manager and inside sales representatives.

Every company submitting documents to an engineering, procurement, and construction (EPC) partner faces the same problems: large volumes of manual work, coupled with complex (or unclear) expectations and procedures. This often leads to time-consuming rework, frustrating both parties.

The single most important factor to EPC respondents is accuracy and format. More than 80% of EPC survey respondents stated that data validation and correct formatting are the most important factors for successful supplier document management. Suppliers often have no document control system or clearly defined protocols.

Top Suppliers pain points related to documentation

  • Payment holdbacks related to documentation.  In other words, no docs, no money.
  • Frustration (and additional cost) when a minor mistake/variation trigger the document rejection / resubmission process
  • Document management skills are not appreciated or rewarded.

Top EPC pain points related to documentation

  • Dealing with supplier is messy and iterative
  • Lack of attention to timelines
  • Receiving poor quality document scans, documents not usable.

Let’s talk about design, shall we?

In November of 2015, we started working on a complete redesign of the whole enterprise application.  DocBoss as a product had captured the attention of many potential customers but usability problems usually got in the way for closing sales.  Also, current users had several issues working with the interface, requiring a long learning curve, and relying on customer support on regular basis to do routinary work.

Assigning files from the incoming document dashboard

Every document coming in from outside the system needs to be placed in the right container, commonly called document card.  We had three different kinds of sources for those documents, files from a vendor, from internal or from a customer.

See how the assigned files to a card from the Incoming Documents Dashboard works now.

About this client:

DocBoss minimizes the manual work required to deliver project documentation. With a unique solution which creates and links the document register to the order data, DocBoss systematically creates document metadata (including document specific tag lists).

Learn more about DocBoss

If you would like to discuss more, share feedback or ask any questions, please get in touch.