Our partnership will push the entire midstream forward in efficiency and safety compliance with strategic software.
TG Mercer and Entrance have partnered to create SpreadBoss, a logistics support tool that allows thousands of joints of pipe to be tracked, providing customized inventory reports and creating a pipeline status history database. Not only does the software reduce time and effort spent on tracking pipe, it also provides accurate and timely data capture, as well as consistent documentation. The software solution has become a differentiator for TG Mercer, because it makes them the best in the industry for providing fast and accurate field data for corner office decisions, while reducing the labor cost of that information and making it easily available for regulatory and safety purposes. The project was recently covered in Pipeline and Gas Journal!
The big idea
Every industry-changing technology starts as an idea, and according to Charlie Hankins from TG Mercer, the idea for SpreadBoss grew organically. TG Mercer is very logistically oriented, and most of their projects center around active pipeline construction. They’d get calls asking how much pipe a particular yard has at any given time and would then proceed to compile the information to respond to the customer request. Because of the effort needed to gather joint counts manually, by the time the information reached the people who needed it, it was out of date. Additionally the manual process of calling, faxing and typing in spreadsheets of information was both time consuming and wasteful. With almost no computerization, it also created a huge paper trail that had to be followed by compliance and safety specialists to get the information they needed.
What started as an idea to improve efficiency grew over the life of the project to become a tactic for differentiation. “We were originally looking for a way to get information that was going on in the field to our headquarters more quickly.” notes Charlie Hankins, Executive Vice President of TG Mercer, “But as we looked into what was possible with technology, we saw that there was a huge market gap we could fill, where we could bring untapped value to many constituents within the midstream sector.” There are huge implications for the industry with this application. Pipeline projects are huge, with lots of people involved, and status tracking is of interest to people in roles all across a midstream organization. Given the level of importance associated with the product and the complicated specifications for paperwork, the lack of sophistication in the industry’s standards for pipe tracking was extremely surprising. You can imagine that knowing the status of orders, segments and joints of pipe is useful for:
- Project management
- Inventory maintenance
- Financial systems
- Regulatory compliance
- And more
TG Mercer’s team didn’t stop at imagining those implications; they brought their idea to friends in the industry in order to customize the solution to match the needs of various stakeholders. They looked to transform their idea into industry-wide improvements with custom software.
As SpreadBoss grew from an idea to a reality, the team at TG Mercer was looking at a quickly growing project scope with many industry problems to solve. They needed a partner in place to quarterback software design and development, because that’s not what they want or need to specialize in. This partner would provide them with a software strategy road map and someone with experience to make sure that milestones were in place to get to completion. Entrance brought software project management to the table, with the industry perspective needed to determine what the resource and time implications were for adding new functionality. Entrance focused on enabling intelligent business decisions, and offered TG Mercer help quantifying what they needed to achieve the business goals at hand with a custom software solution. “Entrance really thrives in an environment where complicated industry problems need to be fixed in line with business needs,” states Nate Richards, President of Entrance “We love bridging that gap between what technology looks like in industry today and what solutions match business drivers.” And the great thing is that everyone wins with such a great partnership in place – the midstream industry gets new value, TG Mercer brings something exciting and special to the table, and Entrance gets to be in the ideal role of value generation with custom software.
There are huge implications for the industry with this application. It’s an entirely new product that was created with industry members involved. With a positive impact both on process automation and pipe history documentation, this solution is going to become the standard for logistics in the midstream arena. SpreadBoss was built based on real industry insights and many of the exciting features of the tool were created to match specific needs expressed by real potential users. The first implementation of the software system is currently underway. It’s a 900 mile project, and SpreadBoss is already proving its value. One field employee noted, “This software is easy to use. And I can now check in 15 joints of pipe in the time it would take me to fill in just one before!”
Find out more about inventory management for oil and gas services in our case study!