OUTSOURCED DOCUMENTATION DOES AWAY WITH HASSLE
They are everywhere – at the airport, train station, workplace and a number of other locations. The small booths enable you to have a cigarette without the smoke spreading and disturbing others thanks to QleanAir’s smart air purification equipment.
For more than 20 years, QleanAir has worked to develop solutions that protect people from the effects of passive smoking. The company is currently experiencing strong growth both in terms of geography and a new range of solutions. From its base in Europe, the company has expanded to markets all over the world, such as the Middle East and Asia.
In addition to its classic smoking cabins, QleanAir offers air purification solutions for open spaces where smoking is still permitted, such as smoking rooms, bars, lounges etc. Its products have proven a huge hit in the Middle East but there is also demand for them in the Nordic countries, Europe and Asia.
People throughout the world are becoming increasingly aware and less accepting of the effects of passive smoking. Regulations are being tightened and laws are being passed to limit the negative effects of smoking, a development that is boosting QleanAir’s position on the markets.
“We are also working on innovations in several other areas. We entered the world of traditional air purification by deepening our cooperation with Camfil, a Swedish pioneer in air filters, which involves the removal of dust and particles in exposure areas such as warehousing and logistics centers. Less dust and fewer harmful particles creates a better working environment, minimizes cleaning and maintenance costs and results in more effective production,” says Andreas Göth, Vice President Operations at QleanAir.
From sideline business to complete solution
Just like other companies manufacturing products, QleanAir needs to produce manuals that comply with the increasingly strict regulations concerning product and machine safety. Earlier, QleanAir took care of its own documentation; a task that became more and more daunting for Global Service Manager Håkan Eriksson as the company expanded.
“As we grow, both our product mix and the complexity increase. Our manuals need to meet certain legal requirements, provide clear instructions for our technicians and customers and they also need to be as user-friendly and modern as our products. In order to boost the quality of the manuals we chose to seek outside assistance,” says Eriksson.
Etteplan received an inquiry, looked over the documentation in question and showed how the manual work could be carried out and manuals could be produced more efficiently using modern methods and tools. Etteplan presented two options: either QleanAir could buy Etteplan’s competence and tools and implement the model themselves or hand over the entire project to Etteplan, including the management of the system and storage of the documents.
To begin with QleanAir had some concerns – how would someone from outside the company be able to understand their products? However, after meeting with Etteplan’s technical information coordinators, QleanAir decided to leave the entire project in Etteplan’s capable hands.
Simpler, clearer and more effective
The collaboration began in early summer 2013 and includes the technical documentation for a number of QleanAir’s new products. The information was made more effective, simplified and clarified further step by step according to Etteplan’s in-house model that is based on the latest developments and standards within the technical information field. By structuring the material in modules, it becomes simpler and more cost-effective to translate, update and process. The contents can even be reused in other documents.
As a result of its geographical expansion, QleanAir works increasingly with exports, which creates new requirements. In Europe, the company has its own service organization and a close dialogue with internally trained maintenance technicians. Often the equipment is leased rather than sold.
“Today, we are selling products around the world, to customers that QleanAir never even gets to meet. It places entirely different requirements on the product manuals, which are becoming more and more comprehensive and detailed in order for them to work in terms of language and regulations,” says Eriksson.
Etteplan works according to the Simplified Technical English (STE) standard that makes English-language texts simpler and shorter, reducing translation costs and the risk of misunderstandings. Illustrations are used in great numbers to facilitate changes and minimize translation costs. This is carried out according to the Simplified Technical Illustrations (STI) standard that specifies what an illustration should look like in order for it to be easy to read. STE and STI make documentation much easier in terms of language and cultural differences.
Future-proofed documentation through modern channels
The result is cost-effective document management with access to the systems and tools required. A Content Management System (CMS) is required for handling information and software to ensure that they meet the requirements of STE and STI.
Many companies hesitate to buy, install and use software these days as it can be costly, time-consuming and makes its necessary to constantly update the required skills. Through Software as a Service (SaaS), QleanAir receives easy access to software and materials managed by Etteplan. SaaS is a secure, modern way of distributing functionalities and information through a cloud.
By handing over the overall responsibility for the technical documentation to Etteplan, QleanAir is freeing up its engineers to do what they do best: develop and design technical solutions. Documentation can become a bottleneck in a large company. For QleanAir the outsourcing of the documentation was a simple and effective method of managing fluctuating workloads while also receiving future-proofed documentation delivered through modern distribution channels.
“We are now proud to show our manuals to customers without us having to make an investment in new systems and tools. Furthermore, our Service Manager doesn’t have to stay up all night writing them anymore,” says Karl-Johan Lantz, Executive Vice President Smoke Solutions Europe at QleanAir.
”Clear the runway!”
English is full of words with double meanings. There is a story about an airport in the US where it was snowing heavily. The snowplow was given an order to “Clear the runway!” as a result of which the driver took it out on the runway to clear the snow. The order actually meant that the runway should be emptied. The misunderstanding resulted in a collision between the snowplow and an airplane. This tragic incident is said to be the spark that launched the STE standard, which, among other things, specifies that ambiguous words should be avoided, as one way of simplifying language.
Original text in Swedish by Karolina Nordwall.