Transform Paper, Forms and Spreadsheets Into Enterprise Level Applications
Paper, Spreadsheets, Word Processor Documents, Scattered Databases, Emails, Whiteboards….
Enterprise Form Chaos
Safe process industry operations require close collaboration between different people and departments. The completion and submission of forms is a key part of this. Many organisations have replaced, or are replacing, paper forms electronically and one of the common approaches involves the use of spreadsheets or word processors.
In this context, there is often a spreadsheet or word processor file that is used as a template form, and new copies are created whenever fresh data is entered (for example, at the start of a new shift).
These files are then shared over email or stored in inconsistent folders and document management systems resulting in scattered and unconnected data, leading to enterprise form chaos.
To solve these problems, companies are implementing IndustraForm Templates, allowing them to transform paper, forms and spreadsheets into enterprise level applications.
Problem 1 - Scattered Scalability
Enterprise forms can multiply rapidly across different departments creating a management nightmare. For example, spreadsheets can be easy duplicated, deleted, wrongly edited, missed and so on.
Often company policy dictates, that when certain events happen, a corresponding form or sheet must be filled in. Many operators must fill these forms out on paper or on another system, which is a frustrating and time consuming process.
It is crucial that personnel can view plant status information at any time. They need to quickly view information that they have collected, as well as information from Data Historians, SCADA, the CMMS, Laboratory Systems and others.
Over the life of a plant, there are many process changes. Data entry methods must adjust, and new forms are added. These changes often result in system shutdowns and delays that disrupt the many active users (often hundreds).
Over the life of a plant, there are many changes to the structure of information that is collected as well as the associated workflows. Forms based on paper, spreadsheets and word documents are not dynamic when changes are required.
Unfortunately, enterprise systems are often expensive and require highly skilled IT staff to manage and configure them. Configuration tools are clunky or non-existent and software vendors are required to make important system changes.
Often, there can be multiple engineers, systems integrators or developers working on software changes. The safe management of these changes is difficult using spreadsheets or word processors, leading to enterprise chaos.
Operators are often required to collect information manually across several shifts. Numerical trends often need to be calculated, which can be a frustrating and time-wasting task, especially on paper or word processor logbooks.
Workers often use different form types, which are disconnected, decreasing visibility. For example, control room operators using a spreadsheet and field operators using a paper clipboard during the same shift.
Operators are required to carry out correct procedures for hundreds of events. Mistakes can be expensive or dangerous and can occur because of reasons such as fatigue, training gaps, lack of experience, distractions and stress.
It is often necessary for two (or more) employees to work on the same form at the same time. Using paper or spreadsheets, the form must be hand carried or emailed to the other participant resulting in time wastage and double entry.
Operators need to understand in real-time if there are any concerning events taking place across the plant. If this data is recorded on disconnected systems like paper or spreadsheets, it is difficult to collaborate and act quickly.
There are often many names for the same thing. With paper and spreadsheets there is no pre-defined entry structure. Consistent data entry leads to efficient reporting and none of these are possible with scattered systems.
For example, the Permit and Certificate applications in j5 Permit to Work have been built using j5 IndustraForm Templates, allowing the permit process to continue out in the field without requiring staff to regularly return to the control room.