Founded in 2001, Velocys is a subsidiary of Battelle Memorial Institute. Velocys utilizes nanotechnology with microchannel processing to develop revolutionary processing systems for chemical and energy companies. Velocys’ technology focuses on capital cost savings, improved product yields, and greater efficiencies for its customers. As a newly formed company, Velocys’ team was in search of tools that would produce these same types of benefits for their organization. Although not yet ISO 9000 certified, Velocys wanted to proactively plan to meet these guidelines in the future. At the top of the list was a way to electronically manage documentation and key businesses processes.
Initially Velocys considered developing its own in-house document control system. This option basically consisted of having a shared drive running from a local database. The company quickly dismissed this option, realizing it would not be as secure or as sophisticated as they needed. David Kuhlmann, Manufacturing Manager at Velocys, led the effort to find a solution that “out-of-the-box” would meet Velocys’ document control needs. Other members of the evaluation team included the Project Engineering Manager and IT Manager.
Evaluation and Selection Process
Velocys reviewed several quality management software products when the company located Qualtrax® software via the web. Key features of Qualtrax that stood out from the competition were 1) its ability to control document revision levels with a solid system of checks and balances and 2) the robust workflow capability.
“We selected Qualtrax because workflows were a significant differentiator for us,” states David Kuhlmann.
Qualtrax Goes Live
Qualtrax quickly became a key business tool used daily throughout the organization. Today all 55 employees are users of the system. Mr. Kuhlmann notes, “100% of the employees have gotten into the system and used it.” Adding, “The technical staff uses the system regularly.” Velocys’ team of scientists and engineers use Qualtrax for everything from requesting a teleconference to managing confidential research.
Qualtrax is the home for all documentation at Velocys. The company stores documents, procedures, work instructions, forms, project schedules, and budgets in Qualtrax.
Moreover, the workflows have become a critical and integral part of the working environment. Velocys has workflows for everything from an engineering fabrication request to a RFP request. “We have a request for purchase workflow in Qualtrax. No one can buy anything without going through this workflow,” indicates Mr. Kuhlman.
Some example Velocys workflows include:
- Fabrication request – This workflow is used to process engineering fabrication requests.
- Non-conformance/corrective action – This workflow facilitates continuous improvement by tracking non-conformances to processes and ensuring corrective and preventative action is taken.
- Request For Purchase request – This workflow must be used to request a purchase.
- Teleconference request – Initiating this workflow allows for quick set-up of a conference call.
- Training Request – Employee training is managed through this workflow.
Qualtrax has become an important central repository for Mr. Kuhlmann and the Velocys team. He commented, “Knowing how to quickly find data is definitely a big help for us.”
Qualtrax Provides Lasting Value
For some business processes, there’s no substitute for efficiency and simplicity. Qualtrax has helped Velocys expedite their business process and get to production faster. “In one procurement process, paper handling and time to process has been cut by days,” indicates Mr. Kuhlmann.
Now that Velocys has developed critical business and technical processes around Qualtrax, the company benefits daily. Mr. Kuhlmann comments, “There is absolutely no question about whether we will budget for maintenance and support for Qualtrax. It’s a given.”
He adds, “The support staff has been wonderful. Every time I call with a question or issue, they have always been able to solve my problems or get the product to do what I need.”
Velocys is excited about future growth and values the ability for Qualtrax to grow with the organization. For planned expansions, Velocys envisions the need for an MRP system. Mr. Kuhlman concludes, “It will be extremely beneficial that Qualtrax will easily connect with this system.” Finally, when asked if Velocys would be prepared for ISO 9000 compliance when the time arrives, Mr. Kuhlmann responded confidently, “With Qualtrax, there is no doubt we will be ready when audit time rolls around. It is all right there, the latest documentation, revision control, the works.”