See how other companies are already effectively making our technology solutions work for them.
The American Petroleum Institute
The American Petroleum Institute (API) is the only national trade association representing all segments of the oil and natural gas industry. API has more than 625 corporate members including large integrated companies, as well as exploration and production, refining, marketing, pipeline, and marine businesses, and service and supply firms. Many of these members serve both API and ASTM committees.
With an apparent overlap in industry stakeholders, ASTM and API formed a cooperation with the common goal of serving their mutual communities with easily accessible standards and workflow productivity tools in an interactive manner while continuing to foster collaboration.
The flexibility with which ASTM Compass® provides users with an easy-to-use interface, multiple language search capabilities, version comparisons, and efficient workflow tools to manage internal and external standards fills a noticeable gap in accessing critical content for both API and their overall user community.
Powered by ASTM’s multi-layer platform built for accessing standards and publications, API Compass is now its own custom portal on the API website. Customers receive organization-wide 24/7 access to PDF and HTML versions of API standards through tailored subscriptions, all available on one platform.
This new custom site allows API users to benefit from the same platform efficiency tools that have been so valuable to ASTM’s stakeholders, with the ability to form groups, share documents, create custom collections, access training, and much more.
The Plastics Pipe Institute
The Plastics Pipe Institute — the major North American trade association representing all segments of the plastic pipe industry — publishes studies, guides, manuals, calculators, and tools to aid the development and evaluation of plastics for pipe systems. These publications are developed in a balloting process that capitalizes on the technical expertise of our engineering staff and membership.
To help manage this process, PPI launched ASTM International’s new platform, SpecBuilder, in May 2016. We are happy to report that the platform has simplified what was previously an onerous, staff-driven process; improved voter collaboration; and allowed us to publish completed documents in record time.
Over the years, our members’ dedication to developing critical technical publications for the plastic pipe industry created an upturn in productivity and increased staff workload.
Fellow developers of ballot-driven documents will recognize our time-consuming process: Staff emailed drafts to task group members for comment and proposed edits. Email file-size limitations meant that larger documents posed an issue. Version control was problematic. Votes and comments came back to us as email replies. PPI staff had to create complex spreadsheets with formulas to tally votes and determine if the number of votes satisfied the requirements established in our bylaws. At the close of each ballot, staff compiled a final report that included voter comments and the final tally from the spreadsheet.
Ultimately, our only way to meet the growing demand for publications was to improve efficiency. We initiated a search for a solution that would automate as much of the balloting process as possible. We received several proposals; although ASTM’s SpecBuilder was in the early stages of development at the time, it was evident that it was the best fit.
ASTM International’s SpecBuilder platform provides a contemporary solution for collaboration, balloting, and publishing. Since adopting SpecBuilder, the number of PPI ballots issued has increased, member involvement in collaboration and balloting efforts has improved, and PPI publishes documentation more quickly.
- The streamlined SpecBuilder ballot creation process notifies voters when a new ballot is issued. Because we no longer email documents, there are no file-size limitations. Automated voting reminders eliminate the need for extensive email follow-up, and PPI staff no longer has to create separate tracking spreadsheets.
- PPI’s voting members log in to SpecBuilder to see all ballots available for their vote, improving member participation and eliminating the need for staff to re-send a ballot if an email isn’t delivered.
- Throughout the balloting period, the Vote Reports section of SpecBuilder provides admins with a dynamic and consolidated view to track voter participation, including any comments received, and monitor progress on response requirements. The elimination of manual data gathering saves a considerable amount of administrative time and reduces the chance of human error.
- SpecBuilder emails group admins a final consolidated report after each ballot closes.
- Admins create project-specific SpecBuilder collaboration groups where members can upload drafts and support files, participate in discussions, and maintain document version control.
- SpecBuilder is a secure online environment that eliminates the need for FTP sites when working with confidential documents.
- The easily navigated SpecBuilder user interface enables group admins to add and delete members, create and edit collaboration groups and projects, and issue ballots to PPI’s voting members.
- Sending emails to individuals using the Email Group Members function is as simple as choosing a SpecBuilder group or selected individuals within a group.
- The User Report Generator allows group admins to verify SpecBuilder user and group membership.
Since officially launching SpecBuilder in May 2016, we have grown to appreciate ASTM’s quick response to troubleshooting issues, attention to detail, and willingness to hear our recommendations for additional enhancements. Today PPI and ASTM enjoy a collaborative relationship with a shared goal of making SpecBuilder the best tool it can be.
- Debora Bechtloff, Member Services Coordinator and Chief PPI SpecBuilder Administrator