Using Google Apps Scripts to automate conformance reporting for clients
CGS have been adopting Google Sheets for most reporting in recent projects. Utilising this versatile tool along with some custom "Google Apps Script" we have been able to offer our clients close to "real-time" conformance results.
The basic procedure is:
- Conventional on site survey to QA the finished asset
- Once the data has been manually checked and verified as accurate, it is processed and exported in one mouse click in our CAD software 12d using a custom "chain" and "macro"
- The data is then automatically imported into its respective tab of our clients conformance sheet using a "Google Apps Script"
- Finally a pdf is exported of newly added data, as well as a snapshot pdf of all current data and sent to a distribution list of client personnel dependant on which section of the job the data is in.
The beauty of this procedure is that, other than the conventional survey to collect the data and the one mouse click in 12d the rest is entirely automated!
Also, as well as having the pdf exports emailed, we also give our clients access to their own copy of the entire Google sheet, meaning they can have current data minutes after it has been surveyed in the field.
The subgrade example above shows a typical sheet with the custom menu options for use by us and the client. Giving them the ability to filter by chainage range and date range in this example then export a pdf of the area/layer in question to a shared Google Drive folder with the correct standardised naming convention, date, signatures, logos, etc all done automatically.
Another advantage of doing these tasks via a script is inbuilt error checking. For example below is a warning that appears if gaps in the data are identified greater than 50 meters in chainage:
Prior to the use of Google Sheets this process was a painfully laborious task taking hours every day for a data processor. As well as the unavoidable manual QA checks on the data, the data processor would also have to do manual exports from 12d, then formatting in Microsoft Office and other applications using templates, and then manually emailing to relevant personnel.
Using this system our clients have current data at their fingertips shortly after construction is completed and are able to interrogate the entire data set or filter it as they wish without having to wait for an email from an ever frustrated surveyor to get back to them!
If you would like more information about having these systems introduced for your reporting get in touch for a demo.
The Value of Engineering Services
Engineering services represent one of the largest sections of the industrial world, with an estimated $750 billion worth of value addition per year. These services comprise a vast swathe of design and support services essential for the functioning of practically every industry, spread across the entire spectrum of engineering.
A significant portion of these services also are being outsourced and there is potential for more outsourcing in this field.
Engineering services are service functions directly linked to or related to core engineering processes. Examples are: (1) CAD / CAM (computer aided manufacturing / design), (2) Auto design, (3) Failure analysis of structural steel. A definite difference lies between engineering functions and engineering service functions. Auto engine manufacturing is an engineering function, while a similar engineering service function lies in engine design. It is analogous to the difference between manufacturing and manufacturing support services.
Engineering services work is taken to be a value-added service. It is not possible to be automated due to various factors and emerging technologies. Engineering services keep in touch with the client at all steps. The user may be included in the process too. It is an iterative process, where consistent reevaluation of the process and the progress is required. Modifications are involved as a natural part of the overall process. Once completed, engineering services may cover the operation, the sales, or instruction on the use of the product.
Engineering services are divided into phases: (1) Idea Phase - Identification of a problem or an idea (new building, product) (2) Analysis of the idea or problem. Solution is designed under guiding factors listed below. (3) Test Phase - The engineer applies the design to a model to test. This would occur more frequently with products as opposed to construction. (4) Manufacturing or Construction Phase - Engineering services supervise the manufacturing processes (for electrical and mechanical engineering), construction (mainly for civil engineering), or improvements made to a plant operating system. Modifications are made during this process. (5) Product Completion or Production-Engineering service provider or manufacturer may simply hand product over to the client (e.g. electrical device).
(4) Manufacturing or Construction Phase - Engineering services look after the supervision of manufacturing processes (for electrical and mechanical engineering), construction (primarily for civil engineering), or improvements made to a plant operating system. In this process modifications are added. (5) Product Completion or Production-Engineering service provider or manufacturer may simply hand product over to the client (e.g. electrical device).
Also, they may sell the product (e.g. scientific instrument), may actually operate the product (power plant), or may teach the operation to the user (e.g. office building). Standards play a large role in engineering work as much of engineering results in the design of products. Standards serve to facilitate the reproduction and ensure compatibility between products. This could be in the form of standard software formats or guidelines for fitting screws or pipes.