Digital Transformation Advancements in Design and Manufacturing that Produced Tangible Bottom Line Impacts
TW Profile Services is a customer-orientated steel service centre, operating since 1994. Focused on high-quality workmanship, this organisation is renowned for its skilful expertise and precise artisanship and as a result, has grown into one of the largest steel service centre’s in South Africa.
TW Profile runs a vast operation consisting of over 300 employees, a 36-man draughting team, an average yearly turnover of R500 million, and moves over 1500-2000 Tons of steel each month. These actualities in themselves equal complexity, but when one views the complicated assemblies, designs, and manufacturing paradigms that this powerhouse faces on a daily basis, it is astounding how this incredible team seamlessly conquers each task at hand.
Whilst TW Profile operates like a well-oiled machine now, they have travelled a significant journey to get to this reality. Starting on the drawing board in the beginning, they then migrated to AutoCAD. They soon realized that the intricate requirements with complex designs and understanding the impact of supporting parts required a shift to a 3D modelling environment.
Customer service has always been at the heart of TW Profile’s operation and they identified many of their clients had a vision, an idea, but no means to translate these intents into practical production drawings.
This communication challenge filtered internally with skilled sales resources lacking the technical know-how to understand and interpret design detail for quoting and advisory purposes.
Under the leadership of Shaun Waring, now Operations Director at TW Profile, an exciting digital transformation programme was initiated to address these challenges and contributed to the market leader position that TW Profile proudly boasts today.
TW Profile’s Leadership looked at the organisation as a whole and identified how they could embrace leading technology, including Autodesk, as well as optimise workflows from sales, costing, design, and production to customer service.
They have always understood that fostering an environment of growth internally would harness the change that was required to achieve their now reality. This internal transformation would ultimately benefit their clients and bode well for forging long-term relationships with clients.
The ultimate goal was to achieve efficient collaboration between all departments, embracing foresight on all project aspects, adding and in some cases switching software programmes that integrated with advanced design and manufacturing practices.
TW Profile committed to a digital transformation journey that involved adopting Autodesk Inventor as well as upskilling key talent to optimally use Inventor. This upskilling was extended to training their sales team on AutoCAD to understand and interpret client drawings, in order to advise and quote accurately. With the assistance of the Baker Baynes team ( tan Autodesk Gold Reseller in South Africa), their key talent was professionally trained in Autodesk Inventor, applying real-life project contexts in their training programme.
TW Profile has now evolved to operate their own in-house training facility to upskill promising young individuals.
“ We believe that training youngsters, doesn’t only benefit our organization, but it uplifts the industry as theory meets practical applications within our training centre”. Shaun Waring – Operations Director.
Their inherent client-centricity extended to offering draughting and design services to clients who are not equipped with such resources, to help them communicate and realize their ideas.
A specialised team headed up by Andries De Beer was formed to proactively identify design challenges through compiling assemblies and using advanced features within Inventor to qualify the quality and structural integrity of the design, before costly production and implementation errors occur.
The fruits of adopting a digital transformation journey is evident from the top levels of management to the draughting team. TW Profile’s 3D modellers says “We can create a visualisation that we can show the client and together understand how it all fits together. We now have confidence that when our fabricated parts go to site, they will fit.”
TWP goes on to say that “It is good to see the completed assembly as we can pre-empt changes upfront”.
In just one instance, in an assembly of over a hundred parts, TW Profile was able to save R100k of potential production wastage by using a digital prototype to identify design flaws before reaching the fabrication and installation phases.
De Beer confidently states that they have saved millions of rands by investing time upfront in assembly designs in Inventor, which affords them capabilities that can’t be achieved in a vanilla 2D environment. He feels that Autodesk Inventor offers them the ability to be much more accurate on their designs.
Barring the extraordinary software advantages, by adjusting their workflows and upskilling their team along this journey, with the help from Baker Baynes, TW Profile has been able to improve the accuracy of estimations.
Furthermore, they are now able to offer in-house draughting services as a value-add to clients. This not only fills a gap for their clients but allows TW Profile to take control of the detail and accuracy of drawings, improving their estimation outcomes.
As impressive as TW Profiles’ operation is, the team humbly attests that they are only as good as their last delivery. They have a big operation to keep going and skills transference from the ‘old way of doing things’ is a constant moving target, as advancements in design and manufacturing are always changing.
Partnering with Baker Baynes from the beginning has afforded them the ability to be in the ‘know’ with technology advancements, but more importantly to understand the relevance and application in their context.
“We are thankful to have Baker Baynes as a technology partner and we are excited for what our future holds in continuing our efficiency advancements” Andries De Beer – TW Profile