|Chevron/Texaco Overseas Petroleum Company
"BrightStar worked closely with our Engineers to plan and develop a comprehensive system for tracking our project costs. The Cost Tracking System that BrightStar implemented for the Facilities Engineering group has provided a central repository for all our project information and has been instrumental in helping our engineers successfully track their project expenditures. This has helped our engineers to catch problems early on, preventing several project cost over-runs, and allowing us to mitigate the budget impact."
Sam E. Vanzant
Facility Engineering Manager, COPI
The Facilities Engineering Group needed a way to gather all the various information related to their Engineering projects in order to accurately track and forecast costs to prevent over-running project budgetary amounts approved by their partners. Previously, all forecasting and project cost control was manually produced or entered in Excel spreadsheets. Each engineer had his/her own spreadsheets and formulas for tracking project costs. As a result, no two projects were tracked the same way and incomplete cost tracking was prevalent, leading to many project cost over-runs. No off-the-shelf software existed that would handle all their varied project needs. Chevron Overseas chose BrightStar to design and implement a custom Cost Tracking System that would provide a centralized repository of ALL project related information, gather real-time costs from their JD Edwards accounting system, and allow the engineers to accurately and quickly track the necessary project information to allow them to stay within their approved budgets.
A Comprehensive cost tracking system was developed using Actuate, MS Access, Excel, Word, Project and Visual Basic to track all engineering project expenditures. The system was integrated with their JD Edwards accounting system to provide near real-time expenditure updates.
BrightStar met with a team of Chemical, Instrument and Electrical, Construction and Production Engineers in several discovery sessions to document current processes, formulate possible solutions to their issues, and gather all necessary company information to put together a plan to migrate Facilities Engineering(FE) to a robust, data warehousing system that would provide a centralized, cost tracking and control system to help FE with their construction projects. A custom solution was chosen as the way to proceed given the limitations of current spreadsheet usage and COTS software. The System that was implemented incorporated all data for FE projects, including forecasting, historical trends, actual costs by invoice, work orders, Material requests, POs, Contract details and expenditures, resource allocation, general and administrative costs, transportation costs, budgetary constraints and allocations, approval amounts, trends and transfers, supplements, time-writing, and other miscellaneous costs. The system has over 50 reports that can be dynamically run with user parameters supplied, such as Date ranges, project IDs, Contract numbers, Invoice numbers, Project ranges, Item codes, etc. The main database is an Access 97 DB and is being migrated to Oracle this year. The front-end client was developed in VB for applications and is run on NT 4.0 Workstation clients on an NT/IIS network. BrightStar has created a complete set of system documentation and technical manuals and performed both new-hire training and advanced user training, in addition to administrator training for the system administrators and technical support staff from Chevron Overseas.
75-100 simultaneous users can run real-time reports on-demand, enter and maintain project related information, secure their projects as desired, forecast, trend and compare budgets vs actuals vs forecasts for their projects. The system is tied to a JD Edwards accounting system run on an AS400 box and provides both immediate and nightly downloads for current project information. The engineers can share project information, view other similar projects, track all aspects of their projects and plans and drill down into the details of their projects with ease.
- Enabled the engineers to get current expenditure updates on their projects on-demand, without having to wait on responses from accounting personnel as in the past. This provided faster project reporting turn-around and assisted in immediate project cost reconciliation.
- Flexible, comprehensive solution to allow access to critical engineering project information, previously very difficult and time consuming to obtain.
- Ability to track ALL project related costs, forecasts and budgetary information from a single application, alleviating the need to rely on diverse, often conflicting, sources of project information.
- Enabled engineers to catch erroneous or incorrect charges against their projects.
- Gave the engineers the visibility into their projects' expenditures that they previously did not have. This enabled them to quickly identify areas that could lead to project cost over-runs, allowing them to make the necessary changes early on in the project life-cycle and to be able to bring projects in under-budget and on-time.
BrightStar's experience with past projects of a similar nature indicated that we could expect continuous requirement changes from the end-users. In order to prevent the scope change problems that this can bring about, Chevron and BrightStar met with the end-users early on in the planning phase of the project to reach mutual concurrence on the procedures to manage change. As in the past, this approach has worked extremely well.