Kvaerner's Tale Of Digitization Sans ERP

by Amit Tripathi    Jan 28, 2005

For an enterprise especially in the engineering segment, digitization generally means deployment of an ERP and integration of all disparate processes. All other aspects of automation keeps happening as an add-on to the core ERP.

But, the concept of digitization takes a different intonation for Ashok Adhikary, associate director- systems, Kvaerner Powergas India Ltd., as he shares his views in an exclusive with CXOtoday.

As Kvaerner’s mainline business is engineering consultancy, documentation of project details and processes, forms the backbone of the engineering knowledge pool for this enterprise. So when Adhikary says, “I ensure that the IT team treats our employees as internal customers,” he points at the IT team’s commitment to provide best of services and support to the needs of all the 1200 employees of the enterprise, in addition to customers.

To provide this support, Adhikary, the man responsible for executing the concept, embarked on a digitization spree encompassing all aspects of the company’s inward as well as outward processes. In order to lend support to the engineers working on different projects, an engineering document management system (EDMS) was developed by the IT team to store, share, locate, and monitor project progress information which are held in documents.

All inhouse / process licensors, vendor documents are also stored and retrieved through EDMS (a system based on client/server architecture with Win XP/NT clients and Oracle/MS SQL database on Win NT/Unix based server). A plethora of reports such as project reports, in-house drawing, specifications, process licensor, and vendor documents are generated from the system.

The engineering major has deployed an array of software systems that is used for other processes, which includes electronic document management (EDM), PDMS, and PDS for 3D design, VANTAGE plant engineering and procurement management system from AVEVA. Software such as PROII, HYSIS, HTRI, CARSER II, CODECAL etc are used for process simulation. Structural design is handled by StaddPro while planning is handled by Prima Vera.

Quips Adhikary, “Our IT support gained momentum from 1996 onwards with an aim to manage projects end to end digitally.” And all this without any so called core ERP. Says Adhikary, “For us having an ERP is not a pressing need as our method of business is different. In our case managing projects, and its documentation is more important.”

However, the application that is dear to Adhikary is the employee self service (ESS) portal, which he believes will grow even bigger to reduce paperwork in the office environment. He says, “In the Indian context less-paper rather than paperless office is very much attainable.”

The ESS portal home page that is connected to the MS SQL database comprises of small square size portals dealing in different aspects of an employee’s need. The portal lists various links that an employee would like to store for future reference, for e.g. library, salary, leave, travel, early departure etc.

With the E2E portal (employee to employee) employees can meet their necessities (for example a car pool).

Another highlight is the knowledge management (KM) initiative. Says Adhikary, “We have built the KM portal using Sharepoint KM tool. This portal is used as a repository of all learnings from previous projects. This portal offers guidance on processes, equipment design, specification, etc. It minimizes loss due to attrition and mobility thus ensuring that time is not wasted in reinventing the wheel.”

Currently the structuring of information is being undertaken for setting guidelines for knowledge collection. Another IT challenge is the establishment of a mechanism for adequate validation and filtering of knowledge before it is incorporated in the portal.

The company uses 1 Mbps leased lines for its Intranet link where as its Pune location uses 256 Kbps leased line connectivity. The access to its global network is ensured through IP/VPN connectivity. Last year, according to Adhikary, close to Rs five crore was spent on various IT initiatives of which 35% was on spent on software.

Aker Kvaerner ASA is a $4.5 billion global provider of engineering and construction services, technology products, and integrated solutions. The company operates in oil and gas production, refining and chemicals, pharma, in addition to mining, power generation, pulp and paper. It currently employs 21,000 employees.