Case Study – ProHeat Systems

Stefan Romocki, Managing Director of ProHeat Systems set up the company with the aim of being dedicated exclusively to the development of preheat solutions for the gas industry. These solutions reflect a much needed paradigm shift in terms of product and business culture, embracing a more collaborative design process focus on improving equipment .

ProHeat’s clients include the large Gas Distribution Networks in the UK such as Scotland Gas Networks, National Grid and Northern Gas Networks as they are encouraged by industry regulation to develop low carbon gas networks. ProHeat was also the winner of the Best Energy Network Improvement Award at the UK Energy Innovation awards in 2014. With a keen focus on understanding customer needs, ProHeat’s designs are radically simpler than the current generation of boilerbased products, while offering the highest available efficiency. ProHeat achieves this by focusing on the development of a fit-for-purpose product to meet specific needs of the gas preheating market through all aspects of operation, installation and maintenance. This is in contrast to their competitors who are generalist product vendors, where there can often be misalignment with the unique needs of customers who are responsible for providing critical infrastructure.

Crucial Issues
ProHeat is a fast growing and innovative engineering company in an established and highly regulated industry which demands control and visibility of all stages of design and fabrication through to commissioning and training. Stages of their projects involve electrical, mechanical and process engineering design, fabrication and commissioning phases. Managing multi-discipline activities is crucial, as well as dealing with complex documentation within projects plus effective customer communication and collaboration across multiple geographic locations.

Requirements and Reasons
Stefan Romocki explains the complexities involved with ProHeat’s document storage and project management requirements: ‘There are a multitude of factors that we needed to specify for any given project, such as:

  • Ensuring that our management team had control of the revision workflow and approval of key project documents, whilst being linked to project milestones and client transmittals
  • Needing a seamless working environment for designers to work on their tasks updating complex 3D models, drawings, schedules and other documentation, whilst keeping a full version history and control of data access levels
  • The ability to move from individual project success, and subsequently managing a wider programme of projects, with the function to feedback improvements in planning, profitability and execution from current and past projects directly into new projects (continuous improvement cycle)’

In addition Stefan outlines that the system had to be capable of taking on more and larger projects with more dependencies and demands on key resources: ‘Given the calibre of the partners with whom ProHeat work, the software had to demonstrate integrity and auditability of documentaion and the associated changes. ’Clearly, partners’ standards and policies must be maintained as well as our own and it had to be possible to confirm this’.

The Process of working with Webforum
’We were previously using DropBox for our file management, which was just not suitable for our needs,’ Stefan explains. ‘In addition we were tracking documents using an Excel spreadsheet. ProHeat is an innovation focus company operating in a heavily regulated market which can be challenging, given the raft of documents generated when just one component is changed on a customer project, we need a system which is robust and flexible, especially as we have grown and taken on multiple projects in parallel. ’Webforum more than met the challenge by providing their integrated online project and document management service, which we were able to deploy seamlessly and in a short time period.’

The Webforum Result
‘Overall the system delivers over and above our expectations in terms of system functionality, stability, ease of use as well as being configured to the specific requirements of our projects’, Stefan comments. ‘In particular, the following were massively important factors for ProHeat:

  • Flexible control over user access to system functionality,project plans / activities, the documents that can be accessed and which level of access is granted in each case
  • The means to fully implement our desired document control standards and procedures including document metadata, version control, revision workflow and an approval process
  • An intuitive platform for our engineers to collaborate with each other without the need for extensive training
  • Additional collaborative features to provide project and company news and information for the project teams as well as the means to efficiently track issues and risks.’

Stefan continues to sing the praises of Webforum: ‘Our standards and those of our clients for documentation have been surpassed and we have the ability to ensure these are adhered to during the life cycle of our projects. We have a record of our project activities, document revisions, issues and approvals for current and completed projects providing both a reference point and an audit trail.’ Client Transmittals are now created within the system in a straightforward and professional manner, plus projects can be set up quickly from templates which are updated from learnings from previous and ongoing projects. ‘We have project level detail on resource costs and time allocation to improve future planning. There is close control and visibility of our projects and we are using extended document management features normally only available to the largest organisations,’ enthuses Stefan. ‘This is essential for us to deliver projects in line with the expectations of our large clients.’

About ProHeat Systems

ProHeat Systems is a London based engineering design firm dedicated exclusively to development of preheating solutions for the gas industry. Preheaters are considered critical infrastructure for the safe distribution of natural gas by preventing freezing and hydrate formation at points where gas pressures are significantly reduced.

"The external noise and headache is removed from the process. We know what document went out, who approved it, it’s all transparent. The software is easy to adopt, very flexible, logical and intuitive".

Managing Director of ProHeat Systems

For further details contact:
Colin Payne, Managing Director, Webforum (UK) Ltd.
Phone: +44 (0) 845 1 547 247
E-mail: colin.payne@webforum.com

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