SMART Asset Integrity Solutions (SMART AIS) inspects the integrity of components in its clients’ complex industrial processes. To support its growth, the company knew it needed a digital replacement for paper-based inspection processes. So SMART AIS turned to Quatronic, a certified OutSystems partner based in the Netherlands. Four months later, two of Quatronic’s developers had built a web application and a mobile app to accelerate the entire asset registration and inspection process. Now, SMART AIS has a built-for-purpose solution for asset integrity management, and the speed and efficiency needed to drive business growth and deliver more value to its clients.
4 months to build two apps
60% time saving on ultrasound testing
Mobile, off-line field service app used for safety inspections
"We needed a way to get more done with the people we have, and we needed to do it fast. OutSystems gives us a platform to rapidly develop new digital capabilities that help us work more efficiently and deliver more value to our clients.”
How to Improve the Efficiency of the Asset Management Cycle?
Challenge - Far out into the North Sea, massive gas production platforms are buffeted by powerful waves and high winds while extracting natural gas from reservoirs deep below the seabed. It’s an extremely hazardous and remote environment, so the integrity of the piping carrying the gas must be assured at all times to help keep production flowing—and keep workers safe.
SMART Asset Integrity Solutions (SMART AIS) helps its clients around the world—including North Sea gas producers—ensure their critical production, distribution, and manufacturing processes run as efficiently and safely as possible. To do this, the company provides numerous services, including asset integrity inspections, to monitor, assess, and report on the state of components within complex industrial systems. These inspection reports help its clients maintain compliance with vital safety legislation and make informed decisions about asset maintenance and replacement.
Until recently, SMART AIS performed complex inspection planning, assessment, and reporting using multiple Excel files and paper drawings. It was a time-consuming process that made it difficult for the company to scale to meet the growing demand for its independent inspection services.
“We’re a small company of around 30 people, so we have to come up with smart solutions to get things done with the people we have,” says Martin Barendregt, Discipline Manager and Asset Integrity Advisor at SMART AIS. “We needed to give ourselves a way to work more efficiently to handle the growing demand for our services. We knew we needed a digital solution.”
But with no in-house development capabilities, acquiring the right solution proved difficult. “We assessed an off-the-shelf solution, but it lacked many of the things we needed, like legislation integration, and the vendor told us that customizing the solution would take at least a year,” says Martin. “We needed to work faster to make the most of the growing market opportunity, and that’s what OutSystems helped us do.”
Digital Asset Management and Mobile Inspections
Solution - After consultation with OutSystems partner Quatronic, SMART AIS knew it had found a way to build the solutions it needed more quickly. The company set to work collaborating with Quatronic to create its first two applications:
- A web-based asset management application to centralize asset information and accelerate inspection planning
- An offline mobile app for inspectors to use on tablets on remote offshore locations.
Quatronic led a business-focused design sprint with the Smart AIS team. The high-speed prototyping approach translated ideas into wireframes, and a proposed scalable architecture. Now everyone was agreed on the solution design, Quatronic was able to make rapid progress with the development.
With the OutSystems low-code development platform, it took two Quatronic developers just two months to build live MVPs of the apps and a further two months to roll out the full solutions. Quatronic’s automatic testing framework helped ensure a flawless go live for both the web and mobile applications.
With the asset management app, SMART AIS staff now have a web-based dashboard to register and maintain all information related to their clients' assets. And, they no longer have to wade through multiple documents and Excel sheets to find the data they need to plan inspections.
Field-based inspectors use the mobile app to synchronize with this data so they can use it offline during the inspection, rather than carrying stacks of drawings and papers. The app gives inspectors and engineers instant alerts when measurements such as pipe wall thickness fall outside the required parameters. When inspectors get back online, they can synchronize their inspection data with the web app to enable rapid assessment and client reporting.
Currently, inspectors use the mobile app to record ultrasound measurements for assessing the integrity of piping components, but SMART AIS plans to add modules for other types of inspections, including visual, magnetic, and penetration testing. And a planned customer portal will make data available to the company's clients immediately after the inspection.
“Using OutSystems, we’ve created a step-change in how we plan, conduct, and report on asset integrity inspections,” says Martin. “We’ve replaced slow, paper-based processes with an efficient, digital solution, shaving up to 60 percent off the time it takes to complete ultrasound testing processes.”
“We wanted to build a lot of things in a short timeframe, and we plan to add many new features in the future,” he adds. “OutSystems makes it much faster and simpler for us to develop, deploy, change, and add to our solutions, thanks to its development speed, reusable components, and easy-to-use interface.”
Quatronic is a young and ambitious company founded by four experienced Business Technology consultants. We believe that each company has its unique offering and culture that satisfy their customers and make their employees tick.
Learn more about Quatronic B.V.
Faster, Mobile Inspections and Real-Time Insights
Results - With its new apps, SMART AIS can operate far more efficiently. Staff no longer need to spend hours looking for the latest version of documentation, manually preparing inspections, and generating Excel reports. “We’ve shortened inspection turnaround times by around 40 percent,” says Martin. “We’ve digitalized the process. Now everyone has access to the same, pre-registered information, and we can compile inspection reports almost instantly when the data from our mobile app synchronizes with the back office.”
Freed from the time constraints of the old manual processes, SMART AIS staff can focus on adding value for their clients. With real-time insights from the new OutSystems apps, the company's clients no longer need to wait on reports when deciding what actions to take to assure asset integrity. “With instant visibility of the integrity of assets, we're able to trigger preventative actions much earlier, helping our clients’ facilities remain productive and safe,” says Martin.
Importantly, the new apps also make all the inspection information, processes, and decision-making auditable. “Auditability is incredibly important in this field, where our clients must comply with stringent regulatory mandates on the safety of their operations,” says Martin. “These new apps allow government auditors to clearly see that the correct procedures have been followed and that all the proper assessments have been done.”
“In these environments, asset integrity really is a matter of life and death,” he adds. “Rapidly developing scalable, modular asset management, and inspection apps in OutSystems has given us the ability to handle more inspections with the same resources. That will help us grow our business and support our clients more effectively, but it will also help keep people safer.”