Work smart, work safe, work everywhere

How the digitisation of plants improves efficiency without compromising safety


Industry faces challenges like never before as its leaders find themselves having to reduce costs, meet the increasing demands of customers and comply with evermore stringent safety regulations. Meanwhile technology is opening up new opportunities at the same time as it disrupts long-established working practices.

“Companies tell us about their need to reduce costs and maintain competitive advantage, but their number-one priority is always to ensure that their staff and their contractors get home safely,” says Peter Strassheim, managing director of Engica, a software company that specialises in the development and implementation of what the industry refers to as “control of work” software – Q4 CMMS and Q4 SAFETY – systems used to plan and execute work efficiently and safely.

“This is a growing challenge, especially in industries such as oil and gas, where recent falls in commodity prices mean companies are forced to do more with less, while maintaining safety standards.”

He points out that the digitisation of plants and the integration of systems can produce exponential benefits when implemented properly. For example, preventing unplanned shutdowns or reducing the duration of planned shutdowns with the aid of modern asset management tools, such as Q4 CMMS, can deliver considerable savings.

However, maintenance work on sites, especially within hazardous environments, also requires safety assessments to be performed before work commences. Documents such as risk assessments, isolations/LOTO (logout tagout) and safety permits are essential to maintain ISO-level safety standards, and handwritten paper documents can take considerable time to plan and prepare, which could lead to corners being cut and safety compromised.

A properly implemented digital control of work solution, such as Q4, mitigates risk while increasing operational efficiency

As well as the obvious human aspect, on-site accidents can impact reputation, the environment, share value and can cost businesses thousands of pounds. In some cases, such as Piper Alpha and Deepwater Horizon, that could be billions.

A properly implemented digital control of work solution, such as Q4, mitigates risk while increasing operational efficiency.

Even though maintenance and safety form such a critical role in the performance of many companies, Mr Strassheim finds a very mixed picture. “In an era when many are talking about digitisation and the internet of things, we’re regularly surprised to see how many companies are still using paper or basic electronic methods, such as spreadsheets, to manage and perform such important tasks,” he says.

Technology, especially systems and devices that facilitate mobile working, offers great opportunities.

“Many of those companies already adopting these latest technologies are reaping the rewards by ensuring procedures are followed safely. Online approvals can be achieved quickly, permits generated at the touch of a button, as well as live dashboards and instant reports that help provide management and teams with the information they need to make fully informed decisions quickly and easily,” says Mr Strassheim.

“Because safety is so important, we’ve seamlessly integrated it into our latest systems, rather than bolting it on afterwards. We can, of course, deliver the Q4 CMMS and Q4 SAFETY solutions separately or interface them to other corporate systems, such as SAP. However, many clients see major benefits of an all-in-one system that provides a fully integrated solution including work and asset management, logistics, procurement, and safety.”

Whether a company wishes to transition from existing electronic systems or from paper, they typically find our digital solution to be seamless, with a rapid return on investment – priceless in ensuring your business runs competitively and just the way you need it to.

“We find that clients appreciate our breadth of experience,” says Mr Strassheim. “Because we work across so many different sectors, we can share the best practices from various industries with our clients, helping them to work in a way that is cost effective, mobile and, above all, safe.”

For more information please visit www.engica.com