Custom documentation requirements of Engineering, Procurement and Construction (EPC) firms is getting increasingly complex and time-consuming. If you’re an EPC who provides your vendors with stringent documentation templates to be completed at the end of projects – AMEC comes to mind – you know what I mean.

For vendors who deal with multiple EPCs, they find that each EPC has its own way of doing things, their own processes and their own systems which the vendor must comply with on an individual basis.

Research that we’ve done suggests that EPCs feel that data accuracy is the biggest issue they face with regards to their dealing with vendors. In other words, EPCs spend a significant amount of time and effort on vendor documentation and often use holdbacks to ensure that they receive the documentation in the correct format before agreeing to pay the entire invoice.

Perhaps the biggest issue facing EPCs – and their vendors – regarding documentation occurs before the project even starts. Or at least it should. It relates to agreeing to what specific documents will be delivered before the project starts and ensuring that the complete requirements are mutually agreed to up front. That way both parties are on the same page and know in advance what documentation will be provided and in what format at the end of the projects. Then it’s up to the vendor to deliver it.

Once the project is underway, the next ongoing issue regarding documentation occurs when the EPC reviews what you have sent them and inevitably makes comments and returns the documents with requested changes which necessitates that you have a reliable method of revision control so that everyone knows which document is the most recent. This should include keeping copies of old versions so that you can refer to them if required.

Finally, you should also have the ability to control and track who is making changes to documents to understand who made the changes at any given time.

Properly handling the document control function helps vendors to reduce the time spent on documentation rework and thus their costs, decreases the chances of a holdback at the end of projects and increases the chances that the EPC will consider them a vendor of choice in the future.

If you’re an EPC consider how effectively your current vendors deliver documentation to you. If you’re a vendor, think about how well your current system enables you to deliver said documentation to your EPC customers and how you can improve upon it. If you’re looking for further assistance, give us a shout and we can talk in more detail.

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