Client Requirement: To improve the efficiency of the overall maintenance process, reduce the time taken by technicians to record data, track real time the progress of projects and eliminate the need to manually write wind turbine blade maintenance reports, post inspection and repair.
The issues: Reports were being produced manually using laptops, written notepads and digital cameras. The process was not only time consuming and unreliable, it was frustrating for technicians as the size and number of images used in each report would invariably crash Word. This meant longer lead times were needed to produce the necessary reports, which then required formatting and checking by project managers, before they could be submitted to the client. The entire process from start to finish could take over two weeks.
Our solution: Railston & Co proposed an entirely new approach to the way technicians collected data. We removed the need for expensive laptops and cameras, replacing them with Apple Mini iPads (Wi‑Fi + Cellular). This enabled us to standardise the formatting and layout of each report, enabling the technician to capture all of the information required via the iPads. Data is now collected and saved centrally in the cloud instead of being buried in Word documents. This information can be turned into reports in a few seconds. Jobs and tasks can easily be broken down or created and sent to individual technicians in real time. The Wi-Fi and Cellular sim allowed us to track the whereabouts and real time status of project down to the specific task a technician was working on. This data is then displayed in the operations centre, on a digital map dashboard.
The result: - A New Digital Platform Collabaro has significantly reduced the time taken to record maintenance information and generate reports. In addition, it generates real-time feedback (depending upon network conditions) of rich data. This enables GEV project managers to monitor workflow live, in the field. Reports are now generated within seconds and formatting is pixel perfect, improving the operational efficiency of the business.
Above all, we believe our digital platform has improved the overall management of blade inspection and repair in the offshore renewable energy sector.
“We started trialling Collabaro at several sites in 2015. The idea was to replace our manual reporting processes, which were causing us real challenges across the business – our maintenance technicians are excellent at spotting and repairing damages but there was no standardisation on the reporting of damage classification. For example, how big is a ‘big crack’ actually? We went about working with our clients to introduce some standard measurements. The biggest frustration for most of our technicians was the time it took to write reports, post inspection and repair.
There were significant gaps in the process, too – such as when the serial number on turbines had been missed.
Railston & Company fully understood the technical challenges but more importantly, the commercial ones too. They produced a detailed scoping document about our requirements before developing Collabaro as a solution. The opportunities became clear to us during the scoping phase and went way beyond improving how we generated reports. We found their approach refreshingly different to the other companies, which were generally more technically led, and which seemed to offer us off-the-shelf and slightly modified software solutions. Railston & Company made us challenge our processes and our ideas about how we did certain things.
We quickly benefitted by speeding up the invoicing process but, more importantly, meeting our clients’ KPIs. One of the biggest wins was halving the time it takes to produce our reports. They are now perfect each time. We now have a clear roadmap of technical and commercial innovations that will take us into 2017, which should give us improved quality, assurance, accuracy and value for our clients.
Railston & Company have catapulted the recording and reporting of asset maintenance into the 21st Century. They have succeeded in developing Collabaro around a real-life set of business challenges. We’d recommend working with Jason because he thinks beyond just the IT. His practical, hands-on approach, his ability to break down technical problems and his very broad background in business gave us the confidence that we were working with the right partner. It’s great to work with someone who thinks both disruptively as well as considering how different factors will impact on your business. His awareness of current and emerging technologies and how they could map onto and improve our business processes made all the difference.
We’d also recommend Collabaro itself as a cost-effective solution with the right balance of functionality, versatility and connectivity. We are now looking to deploy Collabaro across our Group of Companies and hope to see efficiency gains similar to those we’ve seen in our Blade Inspection and Blade Repair business."
Managing Director, GEV Group