Laboratory testing plays an important role in ensuring quality control for critical components in both the oil and gas as well as offshore and marine industries. Rigorous testing has to be done before, during and after fabrication before critical components such as boilers, pipework and even ship hulls can be installed.
This is where companies like Professional Testing Services (PTS) come in. Based in Singapore, PTS specialises in destructive and non-destructive testing of ferrous and non-ferrous materials and welds. And handling the back-end work at PTS is a team of individuals that keeps things oiled and running.
Take Zheng Ming Quan, for example, an assistant laboratory manager at PTS. "My role involves overseeing and managing the internal operations of the lab. This ranges from administrative tasks, such as procurement and resource management, to more technical tasks, such as workflow optimisation, process innovation and research and development." Part of Ming Quan's job is to ensure that there is a proper system in place to manage and store all the test data collected at PTS — and this is where things get a little tricky.
"We used to keep hard copies of our data. While this was adequate to a certain extent, it was a major hassle to retrieve a specific document from rows and rows of identical files," Ming Quan grimaced. "Even more problematic was a misfiled document, as it was almost impossible to determine who had misfiled the data, extremely time consuming to subsequently retrieve it:'
Furthermore, specimens and test results often have to be conveyed between the various departments within the laboratory as quickly and accurately as possible. Failure to do so would mean delays at best and, at worse, invalid data and unnecessary costs due to the use of incorrect specimens or test conditions. "Instructions, client information and requests used to be passed from one [person] to another using hard copy request forms. Our engineers spent a lot of time verifying the information received, causing unnecessary delays."
After Adopting Canon's customised software solution, however, changed operations in a dramatic fashion. For example, PTS adopted Canon's Therefore information management software, which allowed PTS' documents to be digitally archived, stored and indexed for easy retrieval. Later, if need be, these documents can also be sent to designated recipients for higher productivity. Digitisation also means higher accuracy, visibility and accountability of all the information travelling between the various departments. And since the software is integrated with Canon's printers, hard copies of documents can also be scanned and automatically digitised and indexed for access later on.
"With Canon's archiving software, operation and workflow issues, such as data retention and information flow problems, were resolved. [This] allows us to easily virtualise, store and retrieve information in a secure manner," Ming Quan said.
Canon is not the first brand that PTS approached for similar services. Having established itself in 1985, the company has had several different vendors over the years. However, services have not always been satisfactory. "For example, routine servicing was either late or completed in a shoddy fashion," recalled, Ming Quan, adding that the PTS had also had vendors whose technical support was either unhelpful or non-existent.
That was not the case when Canon came on board. When PTS wanted to upgrade its Canon's Therefore DMS 2011 Business Edition, senior technical consultant James Lim was there to ensure smooth transition. Aside from transferring existing database from the old software to the new, James remained at the office for long hours — sometimes deep into the night — in order to complete deployment as soon as possible.
In 2014, PTS' main server unexpectedly had a critical hardware failure, threatening the company's entire document database and disrupting critical work processes. Fortunately, James provided assistance over the phone — despite the fact that he was notified late at night — and even dropped by PTS' office over the weekend to reinstall a back-up server and reload the Therefore database. By Monday, everything was back on track with minimal disruption to office operations, and zero loss of data.
At the end of the day, Canon believes that it is more than just the quality of our products. Service, too, is critical to give customers a well-round experience. 'Delighting You Always' is not just a marketing tagline — it is a belief that Canon holds on to at every step of the way.