DIALOG Fitzroy have well-equipped and modern pipe fabrication workshops in Brisbane and New Plymouth.  For piping projects to be successful it is essential that good systems to track production rates, percentage completion, and Quality Control recording are established. Without these systems it is a struggle to understand the basics of job performance and countless hours can be spent by highly skilled people chasing performance data. 

Of course, there are off the shelf programmes available to deal with this, but these do not fit the way our business operates, and/or are extremely labour intensive around data entry.

So we decided to create a tailored solution to cater for our needs, and with the ability to be expanded.

An internal team was set-up and a bottom-up approach adopted, whereby the needs and the requirements were gathered, processed, and analysed in a lot of detail. Foundation work was carried out by Project Manager, Asim Malik and our summer student Alexander Wiseman.   These guys played a vital role in the programming and shaping of this solution.  In a very short period they became proficient in the use of Microsoft PowerApps (an extension of Dynamics D365) and were successfully able to connect all the dots.  This resulted in the development of a module-based application called WCS (Weld Control System).   This electronic application records the information only once and avoids duplication and countless reams of paper. The graphic user interface is simple and user-friendly.

The Weld Control System is an integrated solution where the information related to fabrication, QC inspections, sign-offs, is captured via the “WCS” application, stored on a dedicated SharePoint intranet site, and is reported through Power BI, which all works in real-time. This provides a huge benefit to the Quality Control department for their day-to-day operations and the Project Management team for tracking progress. The application can be installed on Windows, iOS, or Android platforms.

Whilst the team is happy with the outcome to-date, and it has been deployed on all new piping projects, it is still a prototype solution. More modules will be developed, reviewed, and then released at regular intervals with controlled revisions. A feedback module is added to the current release to channel all suggestions for future development.

We still have a way to go, but have recognised a major frustration within the business and developed a solution, a single method of operating which eliminates a huge amount of double handling.

We want to make a special mention of the awesome contribution of Alexander Wiseman our Summer student from Auckland University.  It is great that we can offer internship opportunities for engineering students to get exposure to real-world problems and also all the necessary means to develop and implement solutions, so, well done Alex!