Material Monitoring and Reconciliation with Pipetrak IT

Louise Smyth

The sheer quantities and varieties of material that are needed to be procured, organized, dispatched and recorded during the lifecycle of a pipeline construction project can be mind-boggling. Reportedly, inefficient materials handling has led to tons of wasted material or material that has been lost or unaccounted for, resulting in significant wastage and costs that have a direct impact on the overall economics of the project.

The constantly changing variables in the pipeline construction process lays bare the many ways in which material handling can swiftly become a victim of human error. A fitting example of this is the Alaskan Pipeline Project. The freight delivery shipping chart itself depicts the complex grid of materials and pipes that were shipped to multiple locations with multiple points of entry with the pipeline itself divided into six sections. Did the correct grades of steel and material specifications get installed at accurate intended locations as had been defined by design? Without real time and automated checks in place, and no advanced pipeline data management solution deployed, it was probably left to manual processes and paperwork.

Unsurprisingly, this gargantuan project was not without its share of technical and quality related controversies. For instance, the infamous welding controversy that the pipeline project was doused in. Reportedly, a whopping total of  $55 million were spent on the repair of faulty welds that had come to light as a result of a conspiracy to falsify XRays in the Quality control process.

With Pipetrak IT’s ability to keep a check on quality issues such as welding and x-ray quality statistics, welder performance and QA/QC processes in real time, thereby intercepting and stemming potential disaster as the process unfolds, it is an important step forward. The wastage of money, time, human resources and material can be curbed to a significant extent.

Another issue that commonly arises in the course of such large projects is the ability to place timely re-orders for material to prevent stock-out situations and delays. The Pipetrak IT software does a complete reconciliation analysis of the material consumption constantly as construction progressed and indicates the number of pipes and fittings approaching threshold stock levels so that timely orders may be placed and the construction progress is not disturbed.

As all material vendors are using the Pipetrak IT system too, a seamless and timely order and delivery process may be implemented which increases efficiencies in material management.

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