13 July 2021
‘Due to the implementation of Typical Manager, much has been improved!’
By introducing a new software platform, ENGIE seized its opportunity to further improve the engineering process. This software solution is Typical Manager. The use of this platform reduced engineering costs. Also, there is more uniformity in the process, the quality is well assured and the lead times are shortened. We discussed this approach with Jan van Eijk, (contract) manager Building Automation at ENGIE in Nieuwegein.
Jan: ‘Until 2016, there was a lot of time-consuming work in the engineering department at ENGIE Nieuwegein. The team at this location is involved in setting up and designing Control Technical Descriptions (RTOs), Functional Specifications, DCC software and graphical interfaces. Dozens of projects were completed in this way. The preparation of IO lists, providing those lists with texts and coding and finally, the classification of IO was always a very time-consuming task. Just like the preparation when drawing up the RTO (control technical description or FDS), to put the basic principles on paper for the software engineering and commissioning. In short: we had to improve the process.”
In the same year, supplier Schneider launched a new software platform, based on the product with which ENGIE had been developing solutions for decades. The first major project related to this was an important – financial – learning experience for ENGIE. Jan: ‘A great moment to redesign the process properly. We talked to Yellax and discussed our ideas. We wanted to run more projects with the same number of people. Speeding up standard engineering saves time, so everyone was motivated to improve the process: standardization and automatic generation of the process software and engineering documents were fundamental. Integration, cooperating with third parties and further development of GBS are becoming increasingly important. But also the fast world of IoT that we must continue to follow. Moreover, the scarcity of technically well-trained personnel and the need to continue to challenge these technicians – and thus keep them on board – is also a great challenge.’
ENGIE develops and implements smart, sustainable solutions at the intersection of technology, energy and digitalization. For example, in the field of energy-saving, sustainable energy generation, technical optimization of installations and systems and sustainable management and maintenance of these installations and systems. ENGIE helps companies and governments to make a quick and cost-effectively step to 100% sustainable energy management.
“We started with a basic library. We supplemented this basic library based on projects to be realized, with small effective steps and a clear end goal in mind,’ Jan continues. ‘We started to work with a POC process, in which a small object was elaborated in Typical Manager. Upon this, a GO/NOGO decision followed. During the implementation, we consciously opted for a small project team that we set aside for this process a few days a week, which was very efficient. We generated a small piece of RTO and checked it directly in a project. The collaboration with the consultant of Yellax was excellent. The project team also kept their colleagues closely informed of developments by using the Scrum methodology. The biggest challenge, however, remained the project pressure, which often prevailed in such a standardization process. Nevertheless, we managed to achieve fast and effective results from a pragmatic approach and various tests.’
The engineering activities of the Building Automation department had to be largely standardized. Based on 80% standard and 20% customization on a project. Jan explains: “That target has been largely achieved! At this moment, the IO lists and control technical descriptions are generated with Typical Manager. In addition, the software and visualization are generated as well. We encounter that despite standardization, flexibility has been retained. In addition, we are now less dependent on certain knowledge carriers. In essence, the knowledge is secured in the database. There is also more room for development of the engineers and technology. Moreover, the failure costs are considerably lower when we started to use Typical Manager. Thereupon, the use of hours is also more efficient. Exact numbers are difficult to give, but instinctively this is around a 30% saving. In short: we achieve more in fewer hours! Interestingly, the work does not necessarily have to be done by an application engineer. The work planner can also work with configuration and data. Finally, the quality has also really improved. In the past, the projects and the associated data were not always uniform.”
The Building Automation department is mainly involved in HVAC, control technology, access control and camera systems. They mainly focus on the care and cure world, data centres and high-end office buildings, such as the WTC’s. Building Automation has a lot to do with the important pillar of ENGIE – ‘digitalization’.
The results at a glance:
Reducing engineering costs for producing documents (RTO) and process software were major time hogs on projects. By generating, ENGIE saves several check moments.
The most common processes are standardized, but choices and options remain possible for a flexible process. In this way, a process can be oriented from simple to very luxurious, from a basic to a high-quality solution. This reduces personal solutions to the software and ensures more uniformity.
Each standardized process is extensively tested several times before it is incorporated into a project. In addition, the project is traceable, so that a solution can be found immediately in the event of a bug. Faster service and higher quality!
Projects have shorter lead times and decisions are made later and later. After the order, customers also expect a super-fast delivery. They also want to be able to indicate changes up to the latest. We want to meet our customers in this. Essentially, this is possible with Typical Manager.
Jan is very satisfied with the collaboration with Yellax. “During the implementation, few Yellax hours were needed. Walter, the key user, was able to handle many things well himself. Improvements for Yellax? Difficult to mention. We find the latest version of Typical Manager very advantageous and valuable. It is wonderful to see that our wishes have been included in the development. ‘so, the only thing I could mention is that I wish we would have had that latest version a couple of years earlier, haha!’ says Jan with a smile.
In the future, this will require more integrality, with information being exchanged between different systems. “Digitalization is progressing very fast and the realization of Smart Building or Smart Hospitals has become increasingly common.”