The Silicon Review
DXI’s technology is built for the industry’s most demanding, information-intensive projects in the industrial construction market including oil and gas, pipelines, mining, power generation and refining industries.”
The industrial construction sector, especially in Alberta, has been devastated by the drop in oil prices over the last year. Most companies have hunkered down into survival mode in the hope that prices will rise soon but the prospects for this looks less and less likely for 2016. The few projects that haven’t been outright cancelled have been significantly scaled back as owners save their cash. Owners are focusing their limited spending to ensuring operations continue with few interruptions. In good times, few companies manage their costs as tightly as they do now. This downturn offers all companies the opportunities to refine their processes and systems to improve their cost effectiveness.
Founded in 2012 in Edmonton, Alberta, DXI Solutions Inc.’s project management solutions allow companies to manage their projects more closely to know what their incurred costs and progress are on a daily basis. So many organizations rely on systems and processes that force them to wait days or weeks for this information. DXI provides it instantly allowing project managers to take corrective actions immediately.
The company was born at the University of Alberta’s Engineering faculty’s Construction Management research department. After years of research into the industry, a need was identified for the solutions that DXI provides. To this day, DXI is partially owned by the university and its board of directors and senior staff includes engineering faculty members. The continuing research at the university provides ongoing feedback to DXI on its solutions and how it can impact the market.
DXI offers its customers flexibility and detail. Every project is unique and must be managed closely. Its strength is the capturing, storage and reporting of as much detail as possible. Only when you have that detail can you investigate problems and take the appropriate corrective action.
The company’s flagship solutions are called xSite (for contractors) and iSite (for owners). Both solutions are focused on field data capture and facilitate the entry of labor hours, costs, equipment & material usage, 3rd party costs and project progress at the end of every shift. The capture of this information at the workface in the field allows for immediate knowledge of the incurred quantities and costs for reporting, integration, payroll and invoicing. DXI’s configurable data capture screens offer the flexibility to users to lay out their own entry screens with their own terminology and fields. This configurability also means that customers are not forced to change their business and users are not forced to use a clunky interface that makes data capture awkward and time consuming. The goal of data capture tools is to capture the data quickly and accurately once so it can be immediately used for reporting and payments to the employees and the contractors.
With DXI, contractors are required to enter their hours, equipment/material usage, progress and other costs at the end of the day or shift into the owner’s iSite system. Owners can then review and approve that information in iSite as it happens ensuring timely and accurate data is always available for reporting. Because the contractor entered it and it has been approved: owners can then generate an invoice on behalf of the contractor and pay that contractor based entirely on the data they entered into iSite. The entire payment process can literally be completed within hours of the work being done on site saving the contractor and owner massive amounts of time and money.
The Client Spectrum
DXI typically targets the Operations and project management groups at owners and contractors in the industrial construction community. Its customer base is largely in western Canada, though it targets customers throughout North America. Enbridge and Stantec are some of DXI’s’s big clients.
The Challenge: A large Canadian pipeline company approached DXI with the need for a field data capture solution for use across 2 divisions of their pipeline construction projects. They wanted a web-based solution that would allow contractors to enter and upload timesheet data on a daily basis for approval by them. Ultimately, this entry and approval process will generate a reverse invoice for payment to each of the contractors. What made this situation unusual were the complex data relationships in use at the company. Previously, the company used Excel as the tool to capture information but Excel has no ability to enforce that the data is entered accurately or appropriately.
The Solution: DXI identified over a dozen unique fields that had to be configured in its solution including work orders, work packages, AFEs, locations, dig IDs, change orders, budgets, lines & WBS’s. All of these fields had complex relationships with each other that needed to be enforced to ensure only valid data could be entered. DXI used its Uni-Engine platform to deliver a solution that exactly met their needs. Its dynamic ability to configure a solution that enforced these data relationships in a browser interface won it the business initially. The timely and accurate data now provided allows for quick approval and payment to the contractor and provides the company with tremendous real-time insight to all of their project costs.
Future Road Map
Based on the research occurring at the university, DXI has built an entire software development platform called the Uni-Engine that all of it solutions are built on. This platform is undergoing constant improvement to changing industry needs. The industry is trending to web and mobile solutions and new versions of Uni-Engine will support those trends. DXI is focusing its resources on new solutions built on this platform that are targeted to customers. These include Project Controls, asset management,
materials management and project planning solutions that can leverage some of the existing data capture and project management solutions that it offers today and deepens its market penetration.
Knowing the Key Executive
Jianfei Xu, CEO and CTO – Jianfei’s brainpower and “can-do” attitude
combine to create a winning combination of genius and practical understanding. He’s well versed in management system architecture, ERP implementation and integration, project management, project controls, simulation for construction claim, operation, risk analysis and management, and business analysis.
Jianfei has led and managed a variety of major initiatives and projects, including the development and implementation of critical technology solutions and implementations, and the design of sophisticated business application. His past experience includes roles as design engineer, field engineer, researcher, software architecture, and senior software developer in the public and private sector. He holds a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) Degree in Construction Engineering and Management from the University of Alberta. In addition, Jianfei also holds a Master of Science in Structural Engineering and a Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering from Huazhong University of Science and Technology in Wuhan, China.
“We provide software solutions in developing innovative information technologies for analyzing, optimizing and reporting operations.”