An inspection is only as good as the difference it makes. A senior inspector could conduct the most thorough inspection possible, followed by providing a detailed report with all the information you could possibly need. All this is money out of your pocket, decreasing the total return on assets (ROA), and it won’t be useful to you if it is not documented in the right place or acted upon.

Mismanaged Inspection Results:

There is a huge disconnect between the initial inspection and the report that follows. Due to the nature of inspections, they must be conducted in the field while the results are prepared later, often reported on paper. Maybe the report is then scanned and stored on a server or in a document management system (DMS), but this is not helpful to maintenance personnel. Separate from the CMMS these files are not made readily available to the users of the work management system.

More often than not, work needs to be scheduled as a result of inspections and so it’s only common sense to make the reports accessible to the work management team. Connecting the documents across multiple relevant systems would create a closed loop on the inspection process. Without a closed loop, it is very difficult to conduct an audit; a major concern for highly regulated industries such as oil & gas. Results from inspections and related work orders may fall through the cracks if they aren’t stored in the right place.

This is a problem that should be solved sooner rather than later. As condition monitoring, smart factories, and IIoT become more prevalent in the industry, the inefficiencies in sharing data between departments and data systems will only magnify.

The Solution – Closed Loop Inspection:

Efficient inspections should allow for the field-based results to be collected during the inspection on any device. The inspector should be provided with pre-populated fields that guide the user through the inspection process. Then, the results of the inspection should be validated automatically to lower any possible human error. Results should be submitted digitally and automatically.

Once results are submitted this should initiate an approval workflow where inspection results can be reviewed by the rest of the team. A flexible workflow framework will allow you to incorporate your current corporate standards and other regulatory requirements into your reports.

The finalized inspection results should be stored against the physical location or asset in your CMMS. In a closed loop inspection, these results would also populate into any required work orders. The outcome of properly implementing a closed loop inspection is that inspection results can be tracked, reported on, and measured in order to improve efficiency.

Next Steps:

Efficiency is not unobtainable. It’s achieved by small changes in processes, that slowly improve daily nuisances. It can be challenging to not get overwhelmed by the many work-intensive changes that seem necessary to get from where you are now to where you need to be. It’s a process that takes patience, long-term vision, and a “do now rather than later” work ethic.

If you want to start taking steps towards a more efficient inspections process, we can help!

We provide our customers with a standards-driven, Management of Change (MOC) workflow/approvals solution for validating changes to EAM and CMMS data across any stage of the asset information life cycles. Using NRX AssetHub, you can load consistent, validated and approved data into all your different applicable systems. NRX AssetHub provides complete visualization of all relevant asset information available in one place, including inspection reports.  Contact us to learn more!

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