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Engineering companies (EPCs) need to find a method to discuss document requirements after the equipment supplier has been selected and before the project begins.

Looking at it another way, here are 5 suggestions that suppliers of process equipment can make to their EPC customers to enable the two sides to work better together:

Move away from cover pages. Utilize metadata in whichever form is available. If suppliers have the data in machine readable format, make every effort to accommodate the available format. If you (the EPC) rely on cover sheets for review, you should be able to create them automatically for supplier metadata however it is supplied. This should also extend to databooks. If the documents have been supplied and the data is available, EPCs should be able to generate the databooks.

Allow suppliers to embed metadata (as XML) directly into the PDF documents. This should provide additional value to you and to you customer on turnover. Effectively the metadata travels inside the document. This won’t be easy for many suppliers, but should be supported if available.

Provide incentives to more capable suppliers. Less holdback, higher preference. DocBoss can help you reduce holdbacks by automating tasks you might otherwise be doing manually and ensuring the documentation you submit is approved the first time.

Hold 5 minute document kick off meetings (take notes!) with your supplier immediately after the PO is let. Review the requirements, and agree on reasonable exceptions. With the exceptions handled and documented upfront, fewer issues will pop up downstream.

In that vein, improve communication between procurement and engineering, facilitating changes to document requirements. Currently it can be difficult for suppliers to change/amend document requirements after being awarded a project. On occasion, a supplier might determine a document(s) is unavailable in the required format after the project has started and the EPC change management process is cumbersome and slow.