The sheer quantities and varieties of material that are needed to be procured, organized,
dispatched and recorded during the lifecycle of a pipeline construction project can be mind-
boggling. Reportedly, inefficient materials handling has led to tons of wasted material or
material that has been lost or unaccounted for, resulting in significant wastage and costs that
have a direct impact on the overall economics of the project.
The constantly changing variables in the pipeline construction process lays bare the many ways
in which material handling can swiftly become a victim of human error. A fitting example of this
is the Alaskan Pipeline Project. The freight delivery shipping chart itself depicts the complex grid
of materials and pipes that were shipped to multiple locations with multiple points of entry
with the pipeline itself divided into six sections. Did the correct grades of steel and material
specifications get installed at accurate intended locations as had been defined by design?
Without real-time and automated checks in place, and no advanced pipeline data management
solution deployed, it was probably left to manual processes and paperwork.
Unsurprisingly, this gargantuan project was not without its share of technical and quality
related controversies. For instance, the infamous welding controversy that the pipeline project
was doused in. Reportedly, a whopping total of $55 million were spent on the repair of faulty
welds that had come to light as a result of a conspiracy to falsify XRays in the Quality control
With Pipetrak IT’s ability to keep a check on quality issues such as welding and x-ray quality
statistics, welder performance and QA/QC processes in real time, thereby intercepting and
stemming potential disaster as the process unfolds, it is an important step forward. The
wastage of money, time, human resources and material can be curbed to a significant extent.
Another issue that commonly arises in the course of such large projects is the ability to place
timely re-orders for material to prevent stock-out situations and delays. The Pipetrak IT
software does a complete reconciliation analysis of the material consumption constantly as
construction progressed and indicates the number of pipes and fittings approaching the threshold
stock levels so that timely orders may be placed and the construction progress is not disturbed.
As all material vendors are using the Pipetrak IT system too, a seamless and timely order and
delivery process may be implemented which increased efficiencies in material management.