Digital transformation has become an important trend in the global science and technology industry. 46% of enterprises around the world will promote digital development as their primary business in the coming year, compared with 69% in China. In the wave of digital transformation, operators place higher requirements on the efficiency, flexibility, and user experience in telecom project delivery.
To improve the delivery speed and help operators seize the opportunity, ZTE keeps pace with the times, embraces changes and puts forward a digital delivery solution—the engineering project management system (EPMS). EPMS is committed to building an anytime, anywhere, collaborative, real-time, intelligent, visual, efficient (ACTIVE) digital delivery platform to make project management more efficient.
Based on years of practical experience in large-scale projects at home and abroad, ZTE's self-developed digital delivery platform EPMS focuses on five functions: progress management, quality management, document management, material management and outsourcing management (Fig. 1).
Progress Management: Intelligent Schedule, Real-Time Report
The most important function of EPMS is to manage project plan and progress, achieving multi-dimensional management from scope, milestone, master plan to implementation plan, as well as project, contract, area, site and task. A typical wireless engineering delivery project may include wireless sites, core network, and microwave products, and the delivery process involves many partners. To fully implement the contract, the plan management and control system needs to integrate and cooperate with sub-plans such as customers, partners, supply chains, and even relevant government departments. EPMS supports intelligent schedule of project plans according to site priority, area, and project implementation phase. A detailed plan, which previously took three days, can now be completed in only half an hour through the intelligent schedule. According to the detailed plans, EPMS can automatically generate tasks to be assigned to partners, and the partners' construction teams can also report progress or ask for help in real time through mobile applications.
The EPMS report function is to implement data extraction, aggregation, cleaning, modeling and report making through the data center, and visualizes data through the mainstream BI tools. Operators, management staff, and project members can obtain real-time project progress through the screens, PCs, and mobile phones, and track key activities of the sites in detail. The EPMS progress management function can make the plan more intelligent, the process more transparent, and the control easier.
Quality Management: One-Click Report, Closed-Loop Management
EPMS provides an end-to-end online quality management solution that realizes structured quality inspection templates, integration of quality inspection and progress management, self-inspection and rectification, and one-click generation of quality inspection reports. The quality standards and inspection points of an operator can be solidified into the quality inspection templates that are structurally stored in EPMS. The construction team performs online self-inspection in accordance with the solidified quality standards and quality templates to ensure that the quality requirements are completely met and the quality inspection points are not omitted. Under the permission of relevant laws and regulations, the self-inspection photos will automatically record the longitude, latitude, date, and time data to enhance the credibility of the photos.
The EPMS quality management solution can greatly improve the effectiveness and efficiency of on-site quality inspection. It takes two man-days to complete the quality inspection report of each site by hand, and the period may be as long as seven days. However, if the quality self-inspection is carried out through EPMS, the construction team can complete inspection items according to the quality template and directly submit the generated quality self-inspection report without human intervention.
Document Management: Online Approval, Remote Acceptance
The EPMS online document management solution allows for document interaction among ZTE, an operator, and cooperative partners (Fig. 2), especially helps to improve the efficiency of large projects, and is very popular. During the project initiating period, the project team works with the operator to determine the document template and delivery plan, and integrate the document requirements into the project delivery plan. In this way, site completion documents are bound to the site job progress to ensure that the construction team can output documents on time and with high quality. EPMS integrates a deeply customizable workflow engine that can be customized according to the operator's approval process. By applying the EPMS document module, the approval cycle of a single document in an actual project can be decreased from 20 days offline to 4 days online. In the Italian WT project alone, EPMS has been able to manage millions of engineering documents online.
Material Management: Daily Accurate Inventory, Consistent Material Bills and Physical Objects
Material management focuses on plan driven scheduling, electronic delivery order (DO), and site acceptance. The plan-driven scheduling ensures that the materials urgently needed on site will be supplied first without affecting the construction period, and those required in the long term are only prepared as planned but not delivered, so as to reduce the pressure of on-site inventory. Although plan driven scheduling cannot compress the supply cycle of materials, it improves the supply efficiency through accurate delivery and fulfills the delivery target required by the operator.
The electronic DO reshapes the site distribution process. After the design manager completes the site design, the bill of site materials is digitally uploaded to EPMS. When rolling and updating the delivery plan, the project manager can arrange the distribution, installation and commissioning plan properly according to the resource constraints in the construction team and local inventory, so as to minimize the loss of goods or idle work and ensure the smooth implementation of the site plan. The electronic DO has been fully applied in the Italian WT project. The site acceptance and electronic DO are combined to ensure material bills are consistent with physical objects in both the warehouse and the site.
Outsourcing Management: Accurate Dispatch, Convenient Settlement
Cooperative partners are important delivery resources of ZTE. To improve ZTE's competitiveness in the outsourcing market and allocate better resources to ensure smooth project delivery, the EPMS outsourcing module supports the project management layer to accurately assign workers based on contract configuration data and project plan. After the feedback on progress and submission of quality self-inspection reports through EPMS, cooperative partners can initiate outsourcing settlement online. With the support of system data, the project management layer can quickly approve the outsourcing settlement applications by the partners. For the project that is currently managed online through EPMS, partners can complete the outsourcing settlement only within the 1/4 time of the offline process, and no full-time staff is required to be responsible for the settlement business, which greatly improves the per capita efficiency of the partners.
ZTE's digital delivery platform EPMS has been widely deployed in global projects, which has effectively improved the management efficiency of engineering delivery project. The design concept and operation mode of EPMS have also been fully recognized by operators in practice. ZTE believes that EPMS will help more projects achieve efficient, transparent, and intelligent management.