• IndustraForm®

    Transform Paper, Forms and Spreadsheets into Enterprise Level Applications

IndustraForm™ Diagram

Transform Troublesome Paper, Forms and Spreadsheets into Enterprise Level Applications - Patent Pending

Important because:

Until now, industries have used word processor and spreadsheet documents to record vital operational information.  The number of these files tend grow rapidly creating a management nightmare but industries have had very little alternative since the existing enterprise options are not only hugely expensive, but also hard to configure and maintain.

What we are offering:

The j5 Transform Troublesome Paper, Forms and Spreadsheets into Enterprise Applicationssystem now offers IndustraForm® technology to quickly and simply upgrade spreadsheet and word processor information into enterprise level forms that support many operational requirements like workflow and real-time updates.  Additionally, it enables organizations to easily add new applications and forms to the j5 Framework that meet special site requirements.  This is possible because an IndustraForm® is rich in industry-based capabilities and they are intuitively spreadsheet-like in structure.  In fact, spreadsheets can be directly imported into the j5 Integrated Development Environment (IDE).

How this resolves a problem:

IndustraForm® technology allows companies to consolidate all of their paper and electronic forms into a single enterprise system.  These could be, for example include Risk Assessment, Shift Handover and Incident Management forms.  It also provides a clear and simple approach to adding new industry rich forms to meet specific industry requirements.

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Create Rich Shift Handovers

Important because:

It’s a well-known fact that Shift Handover is probably the most critical regular event that occurs in most industries.  If done badly, there is a high chance that there will be process upsets, inefficiencies, wastage and even dangerous accidents.  Because of this, the content and quality of the information transferred to the new shift via the Shift Handover report is critical.

What we are offering:

IndustraForm® technology now allows organisations to easily add new comprehensive Shift Handover forms to the j5 framework using the improved IDE.  Operators and Supervisors can now record and view an extensive range of manual and automated data, as well as follow a strict approval workflow related to each handover.

How this resolves a problem:

A Shift Handover IndustraForm® allows companies to get a more detailed view of real-time plant status, therefore making the shift to shift process more efficient and effective.  Data gaps are bridged and workflows ensure that shift handovers are conducted properly.

 

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Correct Forms Are Automatically Presented When Specific Events Occur

Important because:

Often company policy dictates, that when certain events happen, a corresponding form or sheet must be filled in.  Many operators have to fill these forms out on paper or on another system, which is often a frustrating and time consuming process.


What we are offering:

An Correct Forms Are Automatically Presented When Specific Events OccurIndustraForm® can integrate with the Operations Logbook, Shift Handover and Work Instructions applications which are part of the j5 Operations Suite.  The appropriate IndustraForm® will automatically appear when the trigger conditions are met within these applications.  For example, if the operator selects a specific category of log, then, without having to search for the correct form, it will automatically appear to be filled in.

How this resolves a problem:

Operators can complete the correct forms without searching on external systems or filling out paper forms. This saves time, eliminates errors and ensures the correct procedures are consistently carried out.

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Embed Workflow to Ensure Correct Procedures Are Carried Out

Important because:

Operators are required to carry out the correct procedures for hundreds of different events that arise during the normal or upset conditions in a typical process.  Mistakes in these procedures can be expensive or dangerous and can occur because of many reasons such as fatigue, lack of training, lack of experience, distractions and stress.

What we are offering:

An IndustraForm® can be designed to safely guide users through a predefined workflow.  The form can be split into sections and subsections that can have a specified sequence.  Sections can be configured to only appear under certain conditions.  For example, a “fire information” subsection may only become visible when an accident category is set to “fire”.  There is also built-in support for a submission / approval / revision workflow.  The IndustraForm® designer can configure required approvals for each section.  Once the section is submitted, the appropriate person can then approve or request revisions to the section of the form.

How this resolves a problem:

Operators only have to record information that is necessary, saving time and allowing them to focus on more important matters.  Approval workflows ensure that critical information is always recorded and that concerning events are acted upon quickly.  The IndustraForm® workflow also ensures that the appropriately qualified personnel review and approve the procedures.

 

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Automatically and Manually Flag / Highlight Concerning Data

Important because:

Operators need to understand in real-time if there are any concerning events taking place across the plant.  This ideally needs to be part of the system they are using to record operations data.  These flagged items should be both automatic and manual.


What we are offering:

Users can attach notes or raise flags that allow collaborators to discuss the IndustraForm® together, or draw attention to issues.  These can also contain attachments or links where relevant.  The IndustraForm® designer allows rules to be specified that automatically raise flags.  If a section has warning flags then the submitter is required to enter a comment explaining these, as in the above screenshot.  In certain circumstances, it is necessary to override the workflow (for example, if the supervisor is not available, an operator may carry out the task).  In these cases, an exception is flagged and the operator is required to provide a reason for the override.

How this resolves a problem:

It is not possible to flag items automatically on paper, spreadsheets and scattered systems.  The j5 system allows workflows to be in place to ensure that all concerning data points are tagged automatically.  The system also allows operators to flag events manually and also trigger predefined workflows from this.

 

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View Plant Status Information Instantly with Tight Interfaces to External Systems

Important because:

It is crucial that operations personnel have the power to view current plant status information at any time, not just at Shift Handover.  They need to quickly view information that they have collected, as well as information from Data Historians, SCADA, CMMS, Laboratory Systems and so on.

What we are offering:

An IndustraForm® can be configured to incorporate real-time tag values (from a process historian like the OSIsoft® PI System®, or OPC), which are updated when a user requests.  It is also possible to manually edit these values if the user needs to override them, as shown in the screenshot above.  Just like a spreadsheet, an IndustraForm® can contain formulae that calculate values on the basis of user-entered values, or tag values.

How this resolves a problem:

The conventional way to collect this kind of information (using spreadsheets which are notoriously difficult to manage) can now be replaced by an IndustraForm®.  On the creation of a Plant Status event or Shift Handover form, the j5 system will collate all the relevant information that is important to that specific operator in the same platform.  These forms are easily created since they represent a one to one replacement of a spreadsheet.  An IndustraForm® not only collects the status information and does calculations, but also provides this information in a structure that can be seen and managed by the whole enterprise.

 

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Capture Richer Data with Extensive Field Types

Important because:

Operators need a flexible data collection tool that will allow them to record the correct data in a consistent manner.  They need to add text comments, numerical data, select from predefined choices, go through checklists, attach files and so on to provide a complete ongoing picture of their plant.  They also need the system to carry out validity checks and provide help information so as to improve the quality of the information.

Capture Richer Data with Extensive Field TypesWhat we are offering:

For each cell, the designer can configure the type of data stored in the cell.  The IndustraForm® distinguishes between labels and data fields. Data fields supported include text, numbers, choices, checklist items, attachments and more.  Warnings and Validity Checks on this data can be configured.

How this resolves a problem:

A thesaurus proves that there are often many names for the same thing.  With paper systems and spreadsheets there is no pre-defined entry structure which can cause confusion.  Consistent data entry leads to efficient reporting and none of these are possible on scattered systems.  The j5 system allows consistent layouts, categorization, hierarchies, reports, data entry and so on.  This also enables users to easily search the information and understand important statistics and trends that can assist in improving plant performance and avoid plant upsets.

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Multiple Users Can Access an IndustraForm® Simultaneously

Important because:

Often, its necessary for two (or more) operations employees to be working on the same form at the same time.  With a paper or spreadsheet based form, the form must be hand carried or emailed to the other participant resulting in time wastage and annoying delays.  This can also result in the forms having to be returned and resent if there are items that need explanations or correction which further adds to the delays.   It would be much more efficient for each user to be aware of any changes being made in real-time, to avoid duplication and confusion.

Multiple Users Can Access an IndustraForm™ SimultaneouslyWhat we are offering:

A key difference between an IndustraForm® and standard forms is that j5 forms save automatically.  Any information entered into a IndustraForm® is automatically saved and dynamically updated, and does not need the user to click a Save button.  This means that multiple users accessing the same IndustraForm® may collaborate to edit information in the form. When one user edits a field, the other users will automatically see the updated field value in their forms.

How this resolves a problem:

It is now possible to avoid double entry and allow collaborative work on the same enterprise form.  There is also an email facility to notify different stakeholders of their part in the form.

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Dynamic Forms Enabling Continuous Improvement

Important because:

Over the life of a plant, there are many changes and enhancements to the structure of information that is collected as well as the workflows associated with the information.  This means that the data entry structures will change significantly during this process.  It is however important for the data entry facility and presentation facilities of previous versions DO NOT change since this is a record of the recording carried out at the previous time.

What we are offering: 

When an IndustraForm® entry is created, the current revision of the form design is stored in the j5 database.  If an updated version of the form design is deployed on the server, it will not affect existing form entries; they will continue to use the revision for which they were created.  Only new form entries will use the new design.  This ensures the stability of existing data as upgrades are installed.

How this resolves a problem:

These enhancements ensure that all the data is collected and stored in an efficient manner.  When changes are made to the fields in a IndustraForm®, there will be no data loss and the system is intelligent enough to know what version of the form was live when the information was originally entered.  Therefore, users can view older forms with all of the information, including the data held within those fields that have been discontinued.

 

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An IndustraForm® Can Be Added or Enhanced Without Having to Restart the System

Important because:

During the life of a process plant there are many changes to the system.  Data entry facilities are constantly being enhanced and new facilities being added.  It is important that these changes do not result in system shutdowns and delays that will disrupt the many users (often hundreds of users) that are on the system. 

An IndustraForm™ Can Be Added or Enhanced Without Having to Restart the SystemWhat we are offering:

An IndustaForm® can be added without having to shut the system down and restart it.  Once the new IndustraForm® is added or modified and stored in the library, then, when the user next creates a record, that new format IndustraForm® will appear.

How this resolves a problem:

The ability to continuously enhance the IndustraForm® library (of which there could be up to 100 or more) without disruption enables the j5 system to evolve smoothly as the requirements of the process change.  This fosters the internationally recognized Deming Cycle (Plan Do Check Act) methodology of continuous improvements.  It also enables a simple rollback if the users want to revert to previous versions.

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Intuitive Spreadsheet-based IDE

Important because:

In many organisations there are tens if not hundreds of satellite spreadsheets which should really be part of an enterprise system.  Unfortunately, enterprise systems are expensive and require highly skilled IT staff to manage and configure.  Ideally, there should be a tool available that can easily import current spreadsheet forms into a company-wide platform.

What we are offering:

IndustraForm® designs are modelled on a spreadsheet which enables j5 implementers who are familiar with spreadsheets to rapidly design forms in an intuitive way. For end users, the new forms engine comes with a rich set of industrial features that enhance collaboration and efficiency.

How this resolves a problem:

Existing spreadsheets can be imported and tailored into the enterprise system. Additionally, anyone familiar with spreadsheets can immediately start creating enterprise forms without the need for any programming skills.

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Create Safe Version-Controlled Forms with the j5 IDE

Important because: 

In the ever-changing industrial world, it is essential to use flexible software that can be customized, configured and extended. Often, there can be multiple engineers, SIs or developers working on changes to the software. It is important that the system enables the safe management of these changes.

What we are offering: 

IndustraForm® designs are part of an IDE project, and so are managed by the IDE version control system and are deployed along with the other IDE project configuration files using the project MSI installer.  All changes are tracked and merged by the system so that enhancements and upgrades for example are carried out automatically.

How this resolves a problem:

Applications, like the j5 Operations Logbook, can be extended; new forms can be added; permissions can be customised; and so on.  The j5 IDE has built-in version control, ensuring that all changes are properly managed, and that any changes that are problematic can be rolled back.  Using the IDE, a completed j5 configuration project is turned into an install-able configuration bundle (MSI) allowing the configuration changes to be deployed in a controlled and repeatable fashion. Enhancements created for example by the developers in a new revision can automatically be merged with enhancements that have been created by the SI or on-site.

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