№5 May 2009
№ 4 (April 2009)
The provision of standards-related information is very important for TMK and its subsidiaries, just as for any large company.
In connection with TMK’s development and the acquisition of new geographically distributed assets and production sites it was resolved to develop the tools applied for ensuring standardization through the process automation.
The provision of standards-related information in the company envisages the following:
In order to develop the uniform information system it was decided to take the following steps:
The works carried out in the company resulted in the launch of an automated corporate database of normative and technical information (CDNTI).
The system is used by the entire TMK group of companies, including SinTZ, VTZ, TAGMET, OMZ, STZ, RosNITI, the managing company and the trading house.
Acquisition of information and filling of the database with the logically interconnected electronic full-text documents, flexible structuring of archive’s collections by various criteria (Fig. 1), for example, by document type, product type, OKP Code (All-Russian Classifier of Production), etc., creation of the system for management of documents in order to minimize the risk of using outdated document versions Р these are some of the fundamental principles the corporate database relies on.
CDNTI contains functions allowing for the convenient presentation of information and the management of documents:
First, in the system the document is represented as a card (Fig. 2), which contains the following information:
Without opening the document a user of the system can obtain the general information, including the product type, the steel grade or the strength group, upsetting or threading type, the availability of approving documents and certificates of manufacturer with respect to this regulatory document, etc. This considerably reduces the spent time and increases the working efficiency of employees in various divisions and sectors.
Second, documents in the CDNTI are actualized and updated on a regular basis.
Automation of regular documents’ check with the distribution of responsibilities among specialists, monitoring and reporting (Fig. 3) on the outcomes of checks allows to minimize the risk of uploading and using outdated information.
The implemented function of notification delivery ensures that the users subscribed to archive obtain the timely information on all the changes in the documents of the archive system.
Third, a convenient search system enables quick search of documents by rather broad criteria and allows users to save the search results directly in the system as personal folders.
This function can be actually compared with the availability of documents in the electronic form, located on the hard disc of a personal computer, with the only difference that the documents in the personal folder are automatically maintained in an updated status.
Fourth, a centralized remote access to the archive system for multiple representative offices and subsidiaries of the company is provided in accordance with the security policy both via the internal local network and with the use of protected Internet-channel, which ensures the protection of data against unauthorized access from the outside (Fig. 4).
Technical capabilities of the system enable centralized storage of all the normative resources, as well as the distributed upload and use of documents, which substantially increases the efficiency and can serve as an important competitive advantage with regard to the processing and execution of orders. On the other hand, the information is transmitted via protected channels, and the system itself requires authorization before the start of work, allowing only personalized access to the stored data.
Assigning different access rights to internal users provides both the protection of information and the different levels of responsibility for generation and use of resources.
The function of automated identification of the printed out document copies and logging of operations with/access to the documents ensures full control over the documents’ circulation.
Fifth, logical interconnection of documents in the archive is ensured through the use of active backward references.
This two-way connection between the documents allows to obtain full information on the product, which was mentioned in the initially viewed normative document regarding the product’s manufacture and tests.
It can be thus acknowledged that CDNTI system provides the following benefits:
Of course, as long as the database contains the intellectual property of companies-members of TMK Group and of the outside developers, with the view to protect data from unauthorized use it was envisaged to assign different access rights to documents within the company and to ensure the protection of information against unauthorized access from the outside.
The copyrighted documents are included into the archive based on agreements concluded with the organizations holding the copyright for printed or electronic editions or with their representatives.
Presently, alongside with the continual improvement in accordance with the corporate quality management system adopted by TMK Group, the CDNTI system is also evolving. It is consistently filled with the new types of normative and technical documents. The number of users actively employing this present-day tool is growing. User functions are improving, the available functions are being expanded and the new functions are being added, which allows to extend the range of tasks solved by the system. Some of the first-priority tasks are to create the English interface and directories for users of CDNTI in order to ensure efficient use of CDNTI in foreign offices and to work out the opening of access to certain document types for external users, which are not included in the TMK structure (consumers, research institutes), in order to promote TMK’s products in the Russian market.