TSP Engineering

As a one-stop engineering design and manufacturing solutions provider, TSP Engineering opted for Opentree’s Cabinet document management system, which has proved flexible to meet TSP Engineering’s evolving business needs.

TSP Engineering - the company

TSP Engineering is a 220-strong engineering and manufacturing business based in Workington, Cumbria. It offers mechanical design, electrical and instrumentation services, project management, fabrication, machining, fitting, assembly and testing facilities, along with industrial refurbishing and maintenance services activities.

Workington’s associations with the iron and steel industry date back to the 19th century. The current TSP site at Chapel Bank was a wartime Ministry of Supply facility acquired by United Steel in 1945. The business evolved from the nationalised British Steel Corporation created in 1967, which later (1999) became Corus, and then, in 2007, was acquired by Tata Steel. In 2016, Tata Steel UK sold several of its UK businesses, including the specialist manufacturing facility at Workington, to Greybull Capital. This newly registered group of companies has become the re-launched British Steel, of which TSP Engineering is now a wholly-owned subsidiary.

TSP Engineering operates in the nuclear, defence, oil and gas, steelmaking, construction and industrial sectors. Its projects range from specialist components for submarines and aircraft carriers to products for the offshore and onshore oil and gas industries. Customers include BAE Systems, Rolls-Royce, Tata Steel, British Steel, Liberty Steel, and Sellafield.

The challenge

As a design and project management business engaged in complex and demanding engineering projects, TSP generates large volumes of graphical and non-graphical information. Since the 1980s much of the design department’s data has been generated electronically – today the company is a heavy user of Autodesk AutoCAD, Inventor and some Bentley MicroStation seats. Systems IT manager James Critchley says the company currently manages over 70,000 folders of information. Administration and control of this system became increasingly demanding and in the early 1990s, the business implemented a document management system (Falcon/DMS) supplied by TSA Advet (today Opentree).

Technology implementation

TSP has maintained its relationship with Opentree since 1993. When Opentree developed its own document management platform, Cabinet, in the early 2000s, TSP was one of the first to migrate from Falcon/DMS to Cabinet. Today it has 100 licenses for the platform.

Like most enterprises, TSP employees are reliant upon software systems based on the Microsoft operating system, and Critchley says Cabinet’s emulation of familiar Microsoft interfaces and working processes makes it easy to use. He also praises Opentree’s support for successive migrations of data, including the initial implementation of Falcon/DMS, the transition to Cabinet, and in 2016, the migration of data from an associated business in York.

People at the York office were less engaged in manufacturing-related design; it was a consultancy focused business and so had previously adopted a different platform for document control (Bentley’s ProjectWise). Critchley recalls that there had been discussions about consolidating all information on to one single system. However, corporate changes at Tata Steel led to both the Workington and York operations being separated to becoming wholly-owned subsidiaries of the newly re-formed, new owner British Steel. The separation necessitated a migration of some of TSP’s data held in ProjectWise to the Workington office’s Cabinet system. This latest migration involved 63,270 folders, 123,685 documents and associated metadata, all of which had to be consolidated into the existing TSP system.

Critchley describes Cabinet as TSP’s “workhorse”:

“It is especially good for managing workflows, at displaying a document’s history, and for document control. While we originally implemented the system to support our CAD files, it also now manages all our Project information, for all our Contracts. As our requirements have grown and business needs have changed, the system has flexed accordingly, holding many different file types, including Microsoft Excel and Word files, as well as our design deliverables.”

Cabinet has also been a key tool in helping TSP secure customers’ initial projects and to retain those customers, particularly where they demand compliance with quality control systems such as ISO 9001, ISO 27001, etc:

“Opentree’s audit trail feature helps us demonstrate compliance with customer and industry-standard processes. Auditors relax when they see the audit trail data, they relax when they see the workflows and depth of functionality supporting our document control.”


  • Documented compliance with quality control systems such as ISO 9001, etc
  • Easier integration with third party applications – same system used to manage both design and general office files
  • More consistent, standardised workflows between clients and TSP and its subcontractors

Lesson learned

  • By echoing interfaces familiar to Microsoft users, Cabinet helps users apply standard TSP working processes and practices, building on their understanding of existing legacy information

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