10 Recommended Practices for Electronic Logbooks

10 Recommended Practices for Electronic Logbooks

10 Recommended Practices for Electronic Logbooks 1100 580 j5 International (Part of Hexagon)

Electronic Logbooks – if setup and utilized correctly – can be a powerful tool in any industrial process environment.  Over 30 years’ of industrial software experience underlines j5 International’s passion to set the standard for Operations and Process Safety management software.  Here are our 10 Recommended Practices for Electronic Logbooks:

  1. Free-text Fields Should be Minimized: With any electronic logbook, it is essential that the data being gathered is consistent and clear.  Dashboards and Reports can only be effective if the source information is being collected efficiently.  Therefore, drop-down fields, check boxes and other forms of pre-defined selection methods should be used where possible.  This saves time, allows consistent reporting and encourages personnel to concentrate on providing value added information when it is really required.
  2. Make it a Central Hub of Operations Data: On many industrial sites, there are a scattered software systems that are constantly collecting real-time data.  It is very valuable to have visibility and workflows from all of these systems in the same place.  Therefore, it is important to interface an Electronic Logbook to plant systems such as Data Historians, Maintenance Systems, Asset Management Systems and so on.  j5 Applications integrate seamlessly with each other and external applications.
  3. Customization Abilities are Essential: Within an industrial plant there are many variations of data which need to be recorded.  This leads to many different types of logbooks which need to be tailored individually and shared across sites.  Systems such as the j5 Operations Logbook allow users to create and modify logbook templates quickly and globally.  Electronic Logbooks need to be configured to the unique process, information and reporting requirements of each site.  Future adaptability and extendibility is also essential in the ever-changing industrial world.  IndustraForm® technology makes this customization simple.
  4. Mobility Should be Encouraged: The central control room is still an important part of any industrial site.  Although with the advancement of mobile technology it is becoming essential to electronically log events in the field away from a desktop console.  Traditionally this was done with clipboards and paper, but applications such as j5 Inspection Rounds allow operators to sync and react to field data in conjunction with the central control room easily.
  5. Create Thorough Workflows: When an event is recorded on a paper logbook or spreadsheet, the information trail ends there.  Unless the logger verbally speaks to their colleagues or manually shows them the actual record they wrote.  Electronic Logbook systems can be setup to share information, assign tasks and send alerts in real-time.  Thorough workflows allow companies to manage their sites more effectively, because nothing is missed or ignored.  IndustraForm® technology allows workflows to be added and configured easily.
  6. Setup Clean Dashboards and Reports: With the sheer quantity of information now available on industrial sites, operations personnel now rely on a good Dashboard system to get a functional overview of their work environment.  To manage all the aspects associated with an industrial process adequately, operations personnel also require a comprehensive repertoire of Reports and an easy to use, powerful report designer.
  7. Go Web Browser Based: Having your Electronic Logbook system hosted online has many advantages.  Operators can log events in a familiar browser environment and managers can view site data at all times on the move.  A web-based system also just needs to be installed on one server and no client installations are required.  All the operator needs to access the system is a web browser or Mobile device at each location.  This also encourages a standard logbook approach for multi-site operations.
  8. Manage Site Processes within the System: Electronic Logbook systems such as the j5 Operations Logbook, allow you to immerse your current site processes into a web-based system.  For example, you can sync an Asset Register between the Logbook and CMMS, allowing consistent data flows and reporting.  Using the j5 Inspection Rounds module you can also setup workflows and procedures when an operator scans an barcode associated to a piece of equipment.
  9. Use a Plot Plan Display: With the advancement of GPS tracking in Mobile technology, it is now possible to geographically tag where events are logged.  The j5 Operations Logbook has a dynamic Plot Plan Display which shows where events have happened, but also allows the user to drill down on each marker to get additional information.  Plot Plan Displays are very useful because you can see which areas of the plant require the most attention and you can color code each marker to give a visual representation of the severity of each event.  It is also very useful to use this for multi-site comparison.
  10. Save Time with Data Automation: On every industrial site, there are repetitive tasks that need to be logged daily.  This can take up a lot of personnel time, therefore automating events from workflows, data historians, the CMMS and so on can drastically reduce manual entry time.  An operator should focus on adding rich information to logs.  Data such as timestamps, operating areas and tag values should be automated as much as possible.  This reduces operator fatigue and allows them to concentrate more on operating a safe and efficient plant.