UK & Ireland Featured Project: NGN - Design Management

QEM Solutions are assisting NGN with Design Co-ordination activities, to ensure successful project initiation and design management of all current NGN projects.

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Overseas Featured Project: Capita Symonds - Valve Inspections

QEM Solutions were contracted to carry 3rd party inspection and witnessing activities on a series of valves fabricated in Germany for a series of SGN contracts throughout Scotland.

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11 Aug 2017

Technology is nothing

“Technology is nothing. What's important is that you have a faith in people, that they're basically good and smart, and if you give them tools, they'll do wonderful things with them.”

These are the words of the late Steve Jobs. Now, he was a man who knew a thing or two about technology. But – crucially – what the former CEO of Apple tells us is that there’s no point in technology for its own sake. Good technology is about giving smart people great tools.

In the world of engineering, there’s constant white noise urging us to get up to date with technology. And we’re promised that technology will keep us ahead of the competition. Get a website, a Facebook page, a Twitter account. Try this software with these cool features. Download this app. Store your stuff in the cloud. It’ll make life simpler and your business more efficient – honest.

But how much of these imperatives are just adding to the confusion? And where businesses do try new technology, does it actually improve their processes and integrate with other business functions? Does it give their smart people great tools?

Let’s turn the question back to front. Instead of trying to work out what shiny new technology we think we want, shouldn’t we instead examine our business, to reveal what isn’t working? Identify that, and you’ve a clear idea of what technology you actually need.

Let’s take just one example. In engineering, many SMEs still rely predominantly on paper documentation. That’s fine. It’s worked for decades. But is it still working as projects become ever larger, with tighter margins? Take permits: permit queues eat into project costs and staff morale. Where – like this – paper has become a hindrance rather than a help, it’s an indication that the cloud may be a better option.

Let’s show you what we mean. ePermit is an advanced, cloud-based permitry system that reduces downtime on big sites. It runs across the web, on phones and tablets, and can function electronically to provide electronic permits for workers wherever they are in the world. What’s the result? By reducing the amount of time required to produce permits each day, productivity increased by 30% at a reference site in north-east Scotland. And it freed up permit controllers to perform vital safety inspections too, making workers safer. Oh, yeah, by the way, we created it.

Whatever technology we choose, we need to identify what isn’t working first. Only then can we adopt technology wisely. Giving our people, not some snazzy tech that sounded good at a pitch, but the tools they need to do wonderful things.