Procurement: Materials Database Part 1.
When developing a new design strategy that increases efficiencies and reduces design man-hours on a project it is important to consider the impact on other departmental processes. It is a prerequisite anyway for implementation of any new workflow solution to consider all aspects of a company’s operation to ensure the solution addresses everyone’s needs.
Planning, design, procurement, administration, manufacture, installation and commissioning were all included in the consultation and development for this project.
In particular, the purchasing of materials would be impacted by the reduction in design time as the Procurement department would have considerably less time to manage the bid preparation and subsequent issue of Purchase Orders. Almost from day one of a project start; excluding long lead items; the procurement department needed to be aware of material requirements to meet the project deliverable dates. Before I get into that it may be prudent to provide a brief over view of the design process.
Brief Design Overview:
What we have is a library of preconfigured modules (assemblies) comprising Electrical, Mechanical and Structural components based on historical data that fit together in various combinations to build a sub station akin to using lego blocks.
A single module may constitute the area as highlighted above which would be similar for each quadrant of this grid layout (roughly 20 or more modules). The individual module may comprise 2 or more configurations which would be selected according to the project design requirements.
These modules are generic and represent the most common configurations for that location which would initially be used by the Basic Layout team to develop the concept design. Once the Basic layout is complete, this would be Design Reviewed by engineers and Management and then passed to Design Engineering for the inclusion of project specific requirements and completion of working deliverables.
The Basic Layout may also include preliminary routings for underground cable conduits and drainage which would provide the Civil team with early excavation volumes as previously covered in an earlier article.
As every module (assembly) contains its own inherent Bill of Material it is possible for the Procurement Department to have preliminary material quantities at this very early stage. The options for doing this are to create a Top Level layout model that incorporates all the sub assemblies and generate a structured (indented) BOM; which could be extensive and unmanageable; or alternatively, develop a process that permits access to this data that does not require access to the Cad model to regenerate an updated BOM.
Basically what happens is the engineers extract the BOM from each module upon placement to a specified project folder which in turn will be accessed by Procurement to analyze the datasets via a database that automatically generates material reports. This is very quick, efficient and has the added advantage of providing information on progress. For Basic Layout the generic library BOM data would be used and only for the Design Engineering phase would we need to extract the BOM from the project modules.
Part 2 of this article will look at the database in detail and how it is used.