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Case Study:

Rapid-Span Group of Companies

Rapid-Span consists of a group of companies that specialize in the manufacture of steel, precast, and timber components for the transportation industry, and in particular, bridges. With production plants in British Columbia and Alberta, they have been supplying bridge systems and components to government and industry since 1983. Their goal is to be a leading provider of transportation infrastructure products. Rapid-Span is widely recognized for the quality of its product and reliability of its service. Rapid-Span is utilizing Intelex's Quality Nonconformance application.

Challenge

  • Ensure accurate, real-time access to nonconformance (NCR) data
  • Streamline NCR reporting to top management and auditors
  • Save time and money on data entry and stop chasing paper
  • Ensure documentation of ISO 9001 processes to support certification 

Intelex Solution

  • Intelex Quality Nonconformances

Results

  • Streamlined and standardized NCR reporting process
  • Gained real-time overall visibility of NCRs with the ability to trend data
  • Simplified compliance with ISO 9001 and construction industry standards
  • Increased accountability and follow-through of corrective actions

Objective

Prior to Intelex, Rapid-Span relied on a paper-based system to manage and report on nonconformances (NCRs). However, this approach presented a number of challenges, including a lack of access to real-time data and limited visibility into the status of corrective actions. With paper-based systems there is always the risk of paper getting lost or buried on someone's desk, and preparing reports for management was a time-consuming process that involved manually counting and categorizing nonconformances.

Another motivation factor for Rapid-Span's decision to centralize NCR reporting was simplified compliance with ISO 9001 and the Canadian Standards Association (CSA) certification they held. Rapid-Span undergoes regular audits to maintain these certifications, but they were looking for a solution that would save time and hassle and take them to the next level, beyond basic compliance. 

Implementation

Although Rapid-Span has several applications they have built internally, in this instance the company decided to leverage the existing workflow and best practices of a software vendor with experience in the construction industry. Intelex was found to be the most cost-effective solution to meet their requirements, and the intuitive interface of Intelex's Nonconformances solution stood out from the alternatives. The ability to display real-time data for management on customized dashboards was also appealing.

Rapid-Span chose to host the application internally and the application went live on May 1, 2012, just less than two months from the date of purchase. The Intelex implementation team guided Rapid-Span through the process of importing data and developing scorecards, reports and dashboards and the user training needed was minimal. Following a few one-on-one sessions and a 5-page set of instructions that were provided to system users, employees were up and running within the new system.

Efficiency Gains

  • Realized significant time savings by replacing paper-based reporting with Intelex's Nonconformances software solution, creating one central repository for all NCRs. NCR summary reports that once took an estimated ten hours to compile now take just two hours.
  • Simplified compliance with requirements for quality certifications: ISO 9001, concrete-related certifications CSA and CPCI, and steel-related certifications AISC and CISC.
  • Gained easy, real-time access to NCR data and trends including the number of NCRs currently open, the number opened within the last year, the origin of these NCRs, and the progress of corrective actions.
  • Achieved greater visibility at the executive level with dashboards summarizing business critical data and enabling informed decision-making regarding the company's direction and priorities. Workflow ensures that Rapid-Span's VP of Operations sees and signs off on all corrective actions.
  • Increased accountability and timely resolution of identified NCRs. Corrective actions are assigned and tracked within a central location and escalating email notifications and deadlines ensure these actions are carried out so that nothing slips through the cracks.
  • Tim Damen, Quality Management Representative

    " Tracking our NCRs was quite a job because it was all done by hand. I would count the types of NCRs and categorize them and graph and chart them for management. I put a lot of energy into that and it was incredibly time consuming. Intelex is so far ahead of where we were that it's not even measurable."