One of the world’s largest providers of construction and professional engineering services was experiencing rapid growth and attracting an increasing number of international projects. For more than 60 years, this Fortune 500 company had remained an industry leader in aerospace, automotive, construction, energy, petrochemicals, transportation, utilities and other sectors. The scope of its business requires that engineers have access to a vast library of international standards, regulations and technical data for a broad range of industries as well as the ability to collaborate regularly between more than 250 offices worldwide.
In 2014, the engineering firm’s leadership team was committed to introducing a new global Intranet and they wanted it to include a system to streamline the use of standards and technical references enterprise-wide. The Global IT Director saw that they could achieve significant efficiency gains if engineers spent less time looking for information and more time working with it. He also knew that the company could get greater value from its investment in standards information if delivery mechanisms were consolidated and more fully automated.
Selecting a Trusted Solution Provider
Because the engineering company had long been a leading user of IHS products, the Global IT Director turned to IHS again for a “total global engineering solution” that would simplify access to reference content for more than1800 professionals globally. The firm had acquired multiple IHS subscriptions over the previous decade to meet the needs of individual regional offices. These separate subscriptions were supplemented with an assortment of paper-based documents, handbooks and manuals, many of which were not the same iteration of technical data or compliance regulations. Managing those hardcopy resources required manual work, slowing the process and allowing room for error.
The Global IT Director and library team sought to eliminate this costly duplication of resources and reduce the risk of offices working with incorrect or outdated standards.
The corporate librarian who played a lead role in the project, explained, “We were looking for a one-stop shop for everyone. We have offices all over the world and each office was interested in some of the standards. They may not need all of them but if you give them the opportunity to access everything that we license, then it makes it easier for them when they’re talking to their clients. It was an opportunity, number one, to cut costs; but it was also an opportunity, number two, to provide our engineers with a more comprehensive and efficient way to access and share standards information.”
IHS presented the proposal for merging subscriptions into a single contract and single enterprise-wide solution in September 2014. IHS Knowledge Collections™ with IHS Standards Expert™ went live by November 2014, just two months later.
It was an opportunity, number one, to cut costs; but it was also an opportunity, number two, to provide our engineers with a more comprehensive and efficient way to access and share standards information.
Raising Awareness with Training
To maximize the value of its new global solution, the librarian and her team collaborated with IHS experts in a robust training program that showed the firm’s technical professionals and engineers how easy IHS Standards Expert is to navigate. The combined training team initially conducted 58 online sessions for 430 users worldwide and additional sessions are planned.
Based on search statistics, the engineering firm reports that use of the new system continues to grow. “I do know that more and more people are using it because we’re having more and more people show up in our training sessions,” said the librarian. In addition, Standards Expert ranks is now the number one most-visited page on the firm’s Intranet.
Reducing Delays with 24x7 Access
“One of the reasons we are moving to standardized systems is because our people are in different time zones.” the librarian continued, “When we finish here in the US, we hand off to somebody in the Far East who’s just coming on. And when they get done they pass it to somebody who may be in the Middle East, who then passes it back to us. It is waiting for us in the morning. I don’t have to worry that I’m going to get a panicked email waiting for me saying we need ISO standards for a specific project right away.”
Providing all of the firm’s engineers and technical professionals with anytime/anywhere access means that there are no longer hours or even days wasted trying to figure out who has a copy of the needed standards on hand and distributing the documents to others. Each team member can locate the correct standard from their desktop whenever they need it, 24 hours a day and seven days a week. The result is increased productivity for the entire firm and faster service for its clients.
Achieving Continued Cost Savings
From the outset, the engineering firm’s consolidated global license agreement eliminated the need for regional offices to fund separate, duplicative licenses as well as reducing the need for supporting manual work. The system’s ability to deliver continued cost savings became apparent as the regional offices rapidly increased their use of the new system.
For example: when the company was preparing to renew its global license, one regional office’s share of the annual fee was approximately $75,000. When compared to the number of standards accessed by that office’s staff during the prior year, the estimated cost of ordering hardcopy documents would have been more than $1 million. That translates into projected cost savings of more than 92%.
Confidence, Continuity, Competitiveness
“The global license for Standards Expert allows me to sleep better at night. We address all of the copyright issues. Engineers are told from the get-go, you know you have access,” the librarian said. “Everybody on your project in another state or another country has access whenever needed. We don’t have people running around making copies and checking versions.”
As the company continues expanding and new offices come online, new engineers discover that the information they need is in the global IHS system. Many of them quickly recognize that it offers the firm a potential competitive advantage.
“Prospective clients will often ask if the office has particular standards and technical information needed for the project. Typically, the office does,” says the librarian. “The one thing that the engineers know is remaining stable for them is that the industry standards product that we license from IHS is there. It’s not going anywhere. That allows them to focus on their work, wherever it is they’re doing their work or for whatever piece of the company. That is such an important point for Standards Expert. One of the big benefits is that you know it helps continuity when organizations are growing and changing. You know the knowledge is not headed out the door.”
Confidence is important capital for an engineering firm that believes in equipping their employees for whatever work is required for their clients. Working in partnership with IHS, this industry leader has now provided its people with a “total global engineering solution” to continue growing the business.