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Document Management System @ EIL By DK Gupta, Director (Personnel) and
RP Mehrotra,
AGM (Engineering),
Engineers India Ltd

Engineers India Limited (EIL) was founded in 1965 to provide ‘Indian capability for refinery design & engineering’ and related technical services to hydrocarbon industry. Soon it diversified to Pipelines, Petrochemicals, Gas Processing, Offshore structures and platforms, Fertilizers, Metallurgy, Power together with several infra-structure areas including Highways & Bridges, IT, Airports, Mass Rapid Transport Systems, Ports & Terminals, Non-conventional/ Renewable Energy Sources, Specialist Materials and Maintenance Services, Intelligent Buildings, Water and Urban Development projects etc. Today EIL provides complete range of services needed to conceptualize, design, engineer and construct projects of various complexities to meet specific requirements, serving Indian and overseas clients.

Rendering referred services demand creation and processing of large number of documents through entire life cycle of the project. These documents comprise in-house generated and/ or (documents) received from various stakeholders of the project including client, licensors, suppliers, vendors, statutory authorities etc. All these documents are value-embedded and have engineering and contractual implications requiring monitoring of its entire life-cycle till project completion and its eventual archival, at job closure.

Unique nature of EIL’s portfolio demands that documents of current and archived projects are easily accessible for reference.

Till early 1990’s creation of documents in the organization was largely manual. At completion of project identified value-documents were ‘micro-filmed’ and archived or ‘original tracings’ were ‘copied’ as sepia and stacked as archive. Both required document-management as full time activity, with investment of space and manpower.

Advent of computers in late 1990’s saw revolutionary change in document creation using software tools. Drafting of drawings done manually on drawing boards changed to drafting through software-aided drafting tools on PCs. With this, archival requirement now also included soft-files of computer generated documents - in floppies and/ or tape-drives.

Further, the growing organization saw establishing of independent regional/ overseas design offices to render and attend clients’ engineering needs from closest quarters. Geographically separated design offices together with PC-based document creation process posed newer problems for a fool-proof ‘total archival’ through a central location.  Suddenly, the archived information and knowledge-base within the organisation got ‘distributed’ and was now available in silos at different work-places and not at one identified central repository, thus hampering sharing of knowledge uniformly within the organisation. Thus, ‘knowledge though available’ was ‘not readily accessible’.

Over the years EIL worked on diverse projects in its core area of expertise and throughout this journey ‘evolution of the organization’ remained a constant process. The organization succeeded to attract best talent from talent pool and delivered projects with efficiency. The underlying reason for this success remained its capability to groom and mould freshly inducted resources to EIL’s working through mechanism of ‘knowledge-sharing’. 

Taking cognizance of knowledge-loss due manpower separation either due to natural biological reasons or attrition (which became global phenomenon) it became imperative that building of KNOWLEDGE MANAGEMENT SYSTEM was necessary that catered sharing knowledge with all users through a central repository. It was also felt that document transactional process should be automated to eliminate possibility of bypassing of established (document) coordination processes of the organization either accidentally, deliberately or inexperience.
As first step in this direction a road-map was drawn for implementation of electronic Document Management System (eDMS), with following features:
1) KNOWLEDGE residing in the system should be available to all EIL users and this should be REUSEABLE
2) AUTOMATED WORKFLOWS should be available in the system for document exchange with stakeholders
3) INFORMATION IS DIGRESSED & IS INDEPENDENTLY AVAILABLE to entire project team at issuance of approved document through the system

Suiting organizational needs a web-based commercially available electronic Document Management System has been implemented in the organization, with required customization.

The system can be accessed from all offices of EIL, located in India or abroad. Value-added deliverables are possible to be delivered in reduced response time reusing existing knowledge-base hosted in the repository.

Salient features in the system are:
Creation of ‘knowledge-base’ in the repository, comprising soft-files of native applications of past and running projects and soft-files of scanned documents, where native files were not available. This ‘knowledge’ will be incremented with each new document put in the system and will be available to all users for ready reference.
Availability of feature to ‘execute search’ on knowledge repository using ‘key’ parameters, called metadata for quick results – to ease access to and retrieval from, accurate archives.
Building ‘transactional workflows’ in the system through customization of software to provide seamless flow(s) to transacted documents for ‘intra-department’, ‘inter-department’ and ‘with external agencies’, conforming to coordination procedures of the organization. With this implementation document exchange will require minimal to nil human intervention during transactions, thus eliminating possibility of missing any recipient from standard distribution list or adding any unintentional recipient. Also, system enforces posting of required notifications and disbursement of respective tasks to recipients allowing controlled dissemination of information to approved users required for collaborative working.
Audit trail of all performed activities will be mapped in the system. Date and time of any performed activity can be traced and extracted as ‘Report’.
Archival of documents in a different area in the repository has been built. At designated period after project completion all documents from ‘live project area’ will be shifted to ‘Archival’ enforcing stringent right access on such documents, providing systematic and controlled approach to document retention, archiving and disposal.

Visioning future requirements it is expected that the implemented system would be a boon for reuse of knowledge, both as reference and also as bench-marking future deliverables. Knowledge which till lately was ‘available but not readily accessible’, thus many a times losing its relevance, is now ‘instantly available’.

With project sites scattered over continents, and few remotely placed in inaccessible areas, it is proposed to establish ‘reprographic centers’ at nearest town/ city neighboring the project site from where electronic connectivity could be created with main hub centre at Delhi.  This will ensure instant delivery of issued documents at sites which hitherto took weeks.

It is expected that this implementation would substantially contribute in reduction of overall response time in project delivery and go a long way in organization’s quest of technological excellence.

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   RNI No. WBENG/2008/27737
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