IKG's Ask an Expert: The Value of Engineering
With over 21 years of experience in construction and engineering, Basha Shaik, IKG’s Director of Engineering, discusses the value IKG creates for our client’s bar grating needs. Basha has a strong background in construction, structural engineering, steel detailing and has done extensive international work utilizing new technologies with focus to providing the right solutions to suit our client’s needs. With an education in Engineering & Management, Basha came to IKG in 2012 as an Associate Engineering Manager in our Hyderabad, India office. He moved to the U.S. in 2014 to manage our growing international engineering department as well as the combined team’s technological capabilities and projects. Basha has been serving as Engineering Director at IKG since 2017.
IKG’s Steel Grating Engineering Team
Can you explain where the engineering team fits in the execution of a client’s project?
Essentially our engineering team supports three functions, which consists of:
- An estimating team, to support the sales organization.
- The engineering/detailing team which works with the client to finalize grating design.
- The layout team, to create drawings and bill of materials for the operation team to begin production and fabrication.
The estimating team is IKG’s hub for incoming project packages. Prior to being awarded a major project, our Estimating team provides a detailed valuation to our sales team and customer related requirements of the project. The team also interacts with sales and the customer to help in circumstances where loading requirements may need to be determined when the grating has not yet been specified. Our estimators are subject matter experts in the bar grating industry and have extensive experience and knowledge in terms of product, manufacturing processes, and different varieties of grating.
The Engineering team primarily provides support on the fabricated bar grating products. Using inputs from the customer design drawings or design models, we transform these inputs into standard drawing formats that can be utilized in our shop to fabricate grating. We also supply the erection-drawings required for the construction team to install the grating.
Our engineering team consists of many long tenured employees. Their high level of product and process knowledge is essential to provide the right bar grating solutions to meet our client’s needs. Experienced in both 2D & 3D engineering drawings & models, our team members strike the right balance between experience and technological expertise.
You’ve mentioned some of the engineering team’s experience – can you provide some insight on the history of IKG’s engineering department?
IKG has been in business more than 100 years, and over those years the engineering department’s locations have changed according to the changing customer requirements and overall construction & manufacturing practices. We’ve had locations in Nashville, New Jersey, Indiana, Birmingham, and Nevada before centralizing everything into Houston. Houston has become a central hub for the industrial markets and has made it easy to adopt some of the newer technologies. It has also benefited our team by creating consistency in our application of best practices, synergies, and project coordination for estimation and fabrication.
Our Engineering resources have come a long way from drawing mostly simple fabricated work on a drafting table in the 70’s, to preparing today’s complex BIM models. As far as individual experience, one of our estimators recently celebrated their 40th work anniversary with IKG, and a few of our Engineers have been with IKG for over 25-30 years. Even in our international offices, we have employees that have been with us since the opening of those locations almost 18 years ago. It is great to see such experienced & long tenured employees in the team across all our locations. Drawing on that experience, it becomes easy for us to work up a product solution that meets customer requirements and specifications.
What sort of perspective would you say the global Engineering team brings to the table?
That is something we don’t talk about enough! Our international team has increased our efficiency. Expanding our team has helped us decrease lead time for drawings, whether it is the conceptual design all the way to shop drawings. Having our team in India and China allows IKG tremendous scalability making us the premier supplier for major project work. Our resources in India and China are very experienced in 3D BIM Modeling and can quickly turn around models to support our customer base.
With such a diverse team, with unique specialties and locations, how do you manage large projects vs the capabilities and strengths of each team?
The answer has 3 parts: IKG’s internal work culture, extensive and agile training methodologies, and ultimately great teamwork! Each part of the engineering department has a specific skill and strength that they bring to the table, and they all work together to deliver results.
The offshore offices are well versed in reacting quickly to the project requirements and turn around project designs swiftly for the U.S. team to manage. They will also review and coordinate with IKG USA to address any concerns such as scope, budget or project impacts proactively. Competitors may be utilizing outside resources or firms, but our international team is 100% IKG and are dedicated to our projects entirely.
You’ve mentioned that you’ve been at IKG for 9 years, are there any interesting technologies that have developed that assist the process or have become integral tool for our engineers?
Change and improvement has been a consistent driving force at IKG. In engineering, we try to stay ahead of the curve, finding technologies with intrinsic market value before clients even are aware they exist. For example, we started adopting and adapting 3D BIM more than a decade ago, even before customers presented a need for it.
BIM design provides fabricators the data that is needed to ensure the actual constructability of the projects. It could be something like a small data center to a large LNG plant, or anywhere in between. When you put the data into perspective on a virtually created 3D model, it provides you with an ability to gauge design issues or find a more efficient construction related process.
Innovation has been an integral part of how IKG’s engineering department works. While our innovative methods help add value to our engineering services through improvements in drawings & 3D BIM practices, they also add value to IKG operations by streamlining our engineering practices with those in manufacturing & fabrication shop operations.
What do you see as the overall value the engineering department at IKG provides to clients?
Using the cumulative knowledge, education, and experiences of our IKG engineers and estimators, we are able to guide our clients through the design and construction process regarding grating and any associated products. For me and my team, taking care of our customers and their needs is our ultimate priority. Our goal is to find our clients the right products, design and keep everything within the projects budget and schedule.
IKG is a leading manufacturer of high-quality steel and aluminum bar grating. Operating since 1902, IKG’s products have been used in a variety of industries and applications. You can contact an IKG representative today via LiveChat on our website, our “Contact Us” form, or by phone at 1-800-324-8417.
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