You are already aware of each of the ‘silos’ in your turnaround, maintenance, project or similar groups. And you have already thought about how you would like to reduce wasted time and money by improving communications. Your teams spend a lot of time repeating hallway conversations, re-sending emails, discussing the same issues in meetings. It’s a case study in wasted time. You’re not trying, or wanting, to reduce staff. Rather, you wish to empower your staff with tools that encourage efficient, timely, actionable communication between teams: The right people should do the right things, at the right time, every time.
The Right Stuff
What are the right things? Well, you already have these spelled out in your turnaround, maintenance, project and other company procedures. So, the logical next step is that these procedures need to be embedded into the solution’s foundation, for your team to leverage, without having to constantly refer to these documents on their bookshelves or in files. Building your procedures into a coherent set of solution processes is a prerequisite to arriving at the new normal in business management: Digitalization.
Count the Benefits
This, digitalization of procedures, is the logical next step from where your business is now. Once this is done, you unlock a treasure trove of benefits, including:
- Role – Responsibilities definitions that are rooted in the processes, meaning you do not have to maintain them in separate document files, and they are always up to date.
- Communication Plan – Communication channels that are defined in the procedures are pro-actively used by the solution to ensure the right people hear about what’s expected of them – at the right time. No need for a manually managed communication plan.
- Approvals and Sign-Offs – the procedures already state the required sign-offs and your digitalized solution ensures that they happen as required, and date-stamps the data as well as notifies the next Role that they can proceed with their work.
- An Audit Trail that includes comments and dates keeps issues visible until they are resolved, and available thereafter on request.
- Readiness awareness is a critical aspect of turnaround, maintenance and project prep, and it is, with no additional work, a benefit from managing your processes and procedures in your solution. This removes the need for cumbersome, spreadsheet-based methods that siphon away quality time from your hard-worked teams.
Additional benefits accrue to your company as you extend the use of your solution to include managing:
- Work scope lifecycle (i.e. Development, Estimating, Planning, Contracting and Procurement, Executing, Pre-commissioning, Commissioning, Close out);
- Cost and Schedule Baselines (i.e. Budgeting, Committing, Earned and Burned, Invoicing and Billing, Expended, Forecasting);
- Project or turnaround lifecycle (i.e. Strategic, Tactical, Logistical, Execution, Operational);
- Owner, Vendor and Contractor partners access to ensure that source data is not entered or maintained more than once. Fosters quicker, improved, transparent communications between partner firms;
- Asset/Equipment Maintenance KPIs and other plant-related data;
- Company standards, including standard documents, lessons-learned processing, etc.
Throw in the ability to access this solution’s apps (ex. Progress or Time Entry) 24×7, on multiple company and consumer devices, and yet have it be more secure than it currently is, and you have a compelling reason to move forward with such an initiative.
Add the ability to absorb data, like work orders, from your ERP and other legacy systems, and send back mission-critical data, like procurement needs and progress data, so as to make maintaining historical data a seamless experience.
The Tough Questions
Now comes the hard part: Where do you find such a ‘too-good-to-be-true” solution? Do you build your own? Would it cost as much as you are already spending on your ERP? Will it involve painful retraining of staff? All good questions. And you’ll have many more. In any case, the initial premise, ‘digitalize your business processes sooner, rather than later’, is one that is unavoidable, as you work to stay abreast of your teams’, and your customers’, expectations. The rest is icing on the cake.
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