Blog Post

Saving Time and Money with Better Efficiency in Steel Fabrication

Five Ways Tekla PowerFab Can Help

If you’re like most people, you’re tired of hearing about the pandemic – as if all of the world’s problems started in 2020. The steel fabrication industry in Canada goes in cycles. Some of the issues we face are pandemic-related, but most are not. In any given year tariffs are imposed or lifted, the economy is up or down, and still we move forward. We know these problems are beyond our control. But the good news is that many of the problems we tackle every day – such as improving processes, reducing waste, communicating better, and winning a bid – can be alleviated by simply getting it right the first time. It all comes down to taking a systematic, collaborative approach to managing your fabrication, and there are tools that can help.

What does this actually mean in the real world? Here are five good examples:

1) Reducing waste (including wasted time!)

We all know how important it is to reduce waste on the job, and the best way to do it is to have accurate information. For example, physically keeping track of inventory and consumption of raw materials, remnants, and hardware isn’tekla softwaret easy if your team is doing it manually, and it can waste time and resources. You don’t want people running to the shop whenever they need an accurate update on supplies. If they do that three times a day, that’s half an hour a day or 2½ hours a week, and all that wasted time adds up. Or consider this scenario, where your project manager has to stick his hard hat on and run out to the yard to figure out whether or not he’s got all the materials he needs to produce next week’s pieces. He needs very specific and accurate information, and if it’s handled manually, errors can happen that delay production. With the Tekla PowerFab suite, your team can get their information right the first time – with accurate purchasing, inventory, and production control at their fingertips to reduce waste and wasted time.

2) Collaborating remotely and leaving no one in the dark

Work-from-home protocols have forced most companies to investigate better ways to access and share information, no matter where their people are working. With Tekla PowerFab you can ramp up your electronic information flow with a solution that shares information internally, as well as with your upstream and downstream stakeholders. For instance, when bidding on a job, you can automate the process of receiving data from the general contractor, ensure you’re asking all the right questions, and get all that information right the first time, electronically and in one place. The same easy collaboration, visibility, and data exchange apply to everything from purchasing and inventory control to scheduling and modelling workflows to project and production management. Plus, you gain the visibility you need to do your job from anywhere on a computer, tablet, or smartphone.

3) Submitting estimates that let you sleep at night

Getting back to bidding, wouldn’t you like to submit an estimate that you know is accurate, fair, and doable – basically getting it right the first time? Margins are really tight in the industry these days, so bidding with real-time information on-hand is ideal. The Tekla PowerFab suite can take you a big step further, by helping you analyze your materials, processes and workflows to find savings to win the bid. For example, say you find a way to save time on an operation by making a small change, and that small change enables you to shave three percent off your bid. This could make the difference between winning the job or losing out. Plus, having the confidence that your estimate was based on accurate, real-time information can help you sleep better at night. Leave the blind and risky bidding to the other guys.

4) Moving away from manual processes

Let’s look at drawing revision management, which is very time consuming when done manually. Using paper drawings, marked up on a busy desk in the office, isn’t convenient for all the stakeholders who need access. And ensuring everyone is referencing the right version can be a nightmare. Making the digital transformation and moving to electronic drawing and collaboration is a great way to get the process right from the outset. Yes, there will be revisions, but with Tekla PowerFab, the versions will be traceable, trackable, and shareable. You can build and share 3D models or paperless drawings, and even ensure they’re going out to the right teams. For example, the shop floor would need your part and assembly drawings, while the onsite crew would need to see the assembly and general arrangement, etc. You can organize your drawings and models in relevant folders, keep the appropriate teams updated – and collaborate from anywhere.

5) Doing more with less

By getting rid of most of the manual processes that just move paper along, you can increase productivity without increasing overheads. With Tekla PowerFab, you can manage your entire fabrication process in one easy-to-use software suite that understands fabricator workflows. We know it’s tough out there and that you’re always fighting to stay profitable. Tekla PowerFab can help you do more with less and even expand without having to add overhead.

Developed specifically for steel fabricators, Tekla PowerFab can bring you significant savings in time, money, and labour. It delivers a smooth, continuous, and real-time flow of information throughout every project’s lifecycle.

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