To keep up with the demands of other companies, EPCM companies will need to embrace the technology that is the driving force behind change in their industry. Automation and AI tools can help EPCM companies meet the expectations of their clients, completing projects without errors and without missing the deadline.
Advancements in Technology Affecting the Industry
Many industries are beginning to rely on EPCM companies to help them with new projects. With a focus on efficiency, there is a demand for ever-increasing speed of project delivery. Earlier deadlines and faster turnaround requirements are forcing EPCM companies to move faster with less wiggle room in the budget.
Advances in technology are the driving force behind changes in the EPCM industry. Tasks can now be completed faster, with less errors, and sometimes even automated entirely. Robotics, Artificial Intelligence, the internet of things, and additive manufacturing are all impacting how business is conducted and will likely continue to change the business landscape.
For example, drones in a warehouse can monitor and track inventory much more efficiently than people. 3D printing can reduce the time it takes to create products.
Sustainability is a growing concern felt through all industries as well. Construction produces carbon emissions and uses a large amount of resources. Finding a way to reduce emissions and use sustainable materials is a goal of many companies. These goals mean that the previous way of doing business could be changing. For example, cheap material suppliers may no longer be the best option if they are not using sustainable material. This alone can cause upheaval in vendor selection, with contracts and offer documents needing to be read closely for these new demands.
Text Data at the Core
Engineering, procurement, and construction management rely heavily on contract text, especially in procurement. EPCM companies have to go through the process of evaluating a selection of potential suppliers before deciding which ones will be the best choices for the project. They may receive multiple offer documents from different companies, and a decision needs to be made quickly for the project to continue.
These tender documents are often hundreds of pages long. When multiple companies submit offers, they all need to be read quickly and correctly to make the best decisions. If a section is missed or misunderstood, the supplier who is chosen may not really be the best candidate for the job and can result in a regulation or requirement not being met.
Because of the advances in technology, with automation and digitalization driving down the timeline of projects, EPCM companies need to implement automation and digitalization where they can to reduce their own project lengths.
Learning to harness new technologies can also open up new markets. Sending out an offer to a customer that was previous unattainable due to a large barrier to enter, could be minimized by modern tools.
Working across borders or in multiple jurisdictions can also create issues and bring the burden of extra text data to process.
Difference areas may have different regulations or requirements, which create a large amount of extra work before an offer could be made or a project could commence.
All in all, whether it is tenders in procurement, offers to customers or regulatory text, processing this text quickly and accurately is important. However, organizing and analyzing all of the technical text is a huge task. When dealing with very large documents, finding the important information and sharing sections with relevant engineers can be arduous, and in the worst case, vital information can be missed. Luckily, advancements in technology can also help EPCM companies move through project workflows without errors and without breaking the budget.
New Tools, New Opportunities
4castplus allows an entire team – engineers, project managers, project controls, and procurement – to work together and collaborate within a single system. It includes a suite of tools to keep EPCM companies on top of projects, with a full lifecycle procurement system, project controls, and customizable notifications based on system events.
Selko Analytics has developed Artificial Intelligence software that can automate the processing and categorizing of text data documents. Machine learning allows the software to be customized to a specific company’s needs, and the software will learn from any changes or corrections a user makes.
This will reduce the amount of time and people needed to read through technical text documents; they simply need to verify the software’s results at the end. Any corrections made are “learned” by the program and will ensure more accurate results with each use.
Aconex improves workflow processes by using one single platform for everyone involved on a project to collaborate. Automated workflows and a project archive will reduce time spent duplicating work, allowing personnel to dedicate their time and resources elsewhere. Integrated search tools allow users to find information quickly, and cost and schedule information ensure projects remain under budget.
There are many tools that can help engineering, procurement, and construction management companies meet the expectations of their clients. Technology is advancing so quickly, EPCM companies will need to embrace it and use technologies such as AI and automation to their advantage and do business faster, more accurately, sustainably, and cost-efficiently.