Realising the Benefit of a Common Data Environment across Multiple Teams and Geographies
Consulmet (Pty) Ltd (“Consulmet”) was founded in 1993, primarily offering metallurgical test-work services to the mining and mineral processing industries. Over time, the company broadened its range of services to include project engineering and management for the supply of metallurgical processing plants. With over 25 years of experience and a portfolio of over 100 successful projects in Diamonds, Iron Ore, Coal, Copper, Gold and Mineral Sands, amongst others, Consulmet is a specialised process engineering group specialising in fast-track design and construction of minerals processing plants on a fixed price basis. The company has a strong track record of delivering projects in remote areas and developing countries across Africa.
Today, Consulmet is one of South Africa’s leading lump-sum turnkey (LSTK) service providers in the process engineering and project management disciplines, who have realised what the impact of technology solutions such as Autodesk Vault’s Common Data Environment (CDE) – can have for a multi-disciplinary company working across multiple teams and geographies.
In 2008, the Drawing Office Manager, Loman Bester, realised the need to improve efficiency within the technical drawing office to help accelerate productivity. While the drawing office at Consulmet has long been avid Autodesk users, and successfully so – managing their design data was something the overall team needed to improve.
Loman shares, that having a reliable and secure CDE for a company like Consulmet was significant for multiple reasons, mainly file management and shares five critical challenges of not having a CDE:
- Inconsistent data: Engineers may work with different versions of the same data without a CDE, leading to inconsistency and errors.
- Miscommunication: Without a common platform for sharing data, engineers may communicate ineffectively with each other, leading to misunderstandings and mistakes.
- Data security: When data is stored on different systems or servers, ensuring it is appropriately secured and protected from unauthorised access can be challenging.
- Time-consuming workflows: Without a CDE, engineers may need to spend more time searching for the information they need or manually inputting data, which can slow down the workflow and reduce productivity.
- Difficulty in collaboration: Collaborative work can be difficult without CDE, as team members may have to spend more time coordinating with each other rather than working together effectively.
With about twenty people in the drawing office, multiple engineers, project managers, procurement department, construction, and logistics teams all needing specific and correct information about a project, the importance of having a CDE became clear and critical.
This is where they engaged with Autodesk Gold Partner Baker Baynes to start their digital transformation journey to CDE, transforming their processes, technology and people.
Heinrich Lotz, Consulmet drawing office Section Leader, and Head of Automation who has worked on multiple projects at Consulmet, related these challenges to one of the company’s recent projects, in Angola. This project is spread over approximately 1,195 square kilometres and is recognised as one of the largest Kimberlite deposits globally.
This project became a shining example of the importance of having a CDE, as it was a project that incorporated not just the local teams at Consulmet but a variety of other vendors across geographical locations as well.
Heinrich shares that without Autodesk Vault Professional, they could have easily experienced significant file overriding or deletion. However, they have set up robust content libraries in Autodesk Vault Professional that accelerate collaboration across multiple project stakeholders and speed up their design time by up to 60% – which inevitably creates huge cost savings.
“Implementing a CDE with the help of Autodesk Gold Partner, Baker Baynes, using Autodesk Vault Professional whilst customizing Autodesk Inventor Professional using iLogic and the VBA environment, has enabled a ‘plug & play’ way of working – where everything works, and we could detect potential issues faster than ever.” – Heinrich Lotz.
The team can fast track much of their design, procurement and logistic processes using various Autodesk solutions. Plus, the interoperability between solutions such as Autodesk Vault Professional with Autodesk Revit fostered even greater collaboration between vendors, further promoting the benefits of having a reliable CDE.
In conclusion, Consulmet celebrates their success with Baker Baynes and Autodesk as being vital to succeeding in their digital transformation journey over the years. The services offered by Baker Baynes were not transactional but transformational for the company overall. The team enjoys Baker Baynes extended technical support, which has been pivotal in the success of many projects where the team experienced issues with their software. Heinrich shares that “with Baker Baynes as our Autodesk Partner, we don’t feel like a number but a valued client and partner striving to succeed in using technology for the better.”