The success of Engineering, Procurement and Construction (EPC) projects depends on, among other things, a thorough technical bid evaluation (TBE) process. However, TBE requires engineers to manage, organize, and analyze enormous amounts of data from requirements to supplier bids to the final TBE template and report. As project complexity increases, the problem grows exponentially. Knowledge management (KM) and artificial intelligence (AI) technology, that help TBE engineers tame the data and automate repetitive tasks, will dramatically reduce the labor hours required for TBE while improving overall outcomes.
1 – Organize Documents for Better Access
As part of the Technical Bid Evaluation process, Knowledge Management technology classifies, categorizes and organizes project data/documents and makes them easier to find, analyze and interact using advanced search functions. As a result, it helps engineers collect and compile project requirements, standards, and design data needed to kick off a successful Technical Bid Evaluation. Engineers also refer to industry-standard data sheets, web sources, legacy knowledge bases, and other document repositories. Without intelligent, contextual search provided by KM solutions, they either have to rely on legacy knowledge to locate necessary information or search through layers of folder structures, which takes time and stresses the project schedule.
Good KM applications will also manage ongoing communications around the TBE process. Instead of using emails or texts to ask and answer questions or make notes about any phase of the project, a smart application will manage the interactions and all relevant project information together within the application itself.
2 – Generate Templates and Bid Packages to Save Time
Once TBE engineers have the right initial documents, today, they copy and paste requirements and materials requisitions into bid packages for suppliers. Knowledge Management software, combined with trained artificial intelligence (AI) tools automate much of the process, saving significant engineering time.
An AI-driven system can pull the relevant information from project documents stored and organized in a single repository and generate the files needed for supplier bid packages. The systems can use the same information to construct a template for bid evaluation once submissions are in.
The automated process cuts labor hours and helps prevent any key requirements or materials from falling through the cracks. Engineers don’t have to spend time building packages and templates from scratch. Instead, they focus on reviewing the generated documents for quality and completeness. The initial TBE process takes much less time, and with fewer errors, there’s less risk to the project.
3 – Automate Supplier Bid Processing for Faster Results
When supplier bids start arriving, Knowledge Management capable systems will collect and organize them in a searchable data source. Then software with trained AI capabilities can “read” the submissions, select important information, and categorize it. The software populates the TBE template with important information from each supplier so engineers can review it and start their analysis. Engineers avoid the tedium of reading dozens of bids and copying the relevant information to the TBE template. And a process that can take weeks shrinks to a few hours.
As part of processing the supplier bids, AI-based KM technology also helps identify compliance deviations and ambiguous statements in supplier submissions. Engineers can then send follow-up questions back to the vendors. And the system processes the vendor responses and stores them for easy access. As engineers continue their analysis and update documents, the Knowledge Management technology keeps everything in a single data source, so they always have the most current version to work with.
KM technology also supports advanced searching, which helps engineers quickly answer questions about current and past projects. As they work toward a final selection of suppliers, they might need to know which vendors they’ve used before, what ones are closer to the build site, or which ones met budget and time estimates in the past. When they can find this information quickly, the project is less likely to stall and waste time or money.
4 – Support Final Analysis and Reports
With the Technical Bid Evaluation template populated, AI-based software will generate reports for the technical team, vendors, and leadership. Engineers don’t have to do the copy-and-paste work of writing up the reports. They concentrate on reviewing and refining the AI systems’s output. If there are any questions or problems about the analysis, all the documents and communications associated with TBE for that project are located in a single repository with smart search for easy access.
Because the Knowledge Management technology saves engineers from low-value tasks and manages the documents, an EPC firm can choose to get bids from more suppliers than they have in the past without risking the schedule or budget. Including additional suppliers allows firms to explore new vendor options, build a more robust supply chain, or find efficiencies and cost savings.
BONUS – Learn from Past Projects
Because KM solutions bring related data together in one repository, they help prepare the information for analysis. Advanced analytics can assess the TBE information and identify trends and patterns which help engineers incorporate lessons learned into future projects. Data analytics uncovers ways to cut costs, lower risks, and increase build accuracy.
How Mintmesh’s Rudy for Engineers Improves TBE
KM capabilities and AI together confer significant advantages for improving the efficiency and effectiveness of the TBE process. Rudy for Engineers uses advanced Machine learning and Artificial Intelligence to automate the TBE process and incorporate essential KM capabilities.
Rudy is built on Mintmesh’s proprietary Engineering Language Processing (ELP) technology to read all TBE documents from material requisitions to supplier submissions and extract critical information that TBE engineers need to make a vendor selection. It also populates the TBE template for experts to review and refine.
Rudy consumes hundreds of documents in minutes, saving engineers the work of pouring through supplier bids and copying information into a TBE template. In addition, Rudy’s Knowledge Management features help organize and manage the data generated during the TBE stage.
Rudy keeps all the documents related to Technical Bid Evaluation together in one place, so engineers, vendors and owners know where to find anything they need. Rudy also handles all communications among the TBE team and between the EPC firm and vendors, so crucial details aren’t lost in long email chains.
Finally, as an element of an overall KM strategy, Rudy is easy to integrate with other systems for sharing data and preparing records for data analytics company wide.