Has your organization ever really stopped to think about documentation management? What about factory rules and standards? Do you have commonly agreed guidelines on how to report even the tiniest changes and updates to your asset information?
When you consider the fact that a large industrial plant may have hundreds of thousands of documents and tens of thousands of spare part items, it’s easy to see that systematic documentation and information management is of critical importance. Let’s look at a few areas where proper asset information can go a long way to help you run your plant more smoothly and efficiently.
1. As-built information
One area where there’s often room for improvement in a plant environment is as-built information. As-built or red-pen drawings show how the project has been built and what changes have been made to the original drawings during the construction process. These changes may include, for example, modifications, shop drawing changes, design changes, extra work, and all changes approved and made during construction as well as during smaller upgrades and corrective maintenance activities. Accurate as-built information is crucial for ensuring that your plant’s documentation is always up-to-date and reflects reality.
2. Spare parts
Spare parts have their own life cycles within a service and maintenance organization. They can be categorized to commercial items and drawing-based items that are purchased, stored, and consumed. Spare parts may change over time if the manufacturer, for example, changes the material the items are made of. The manufacturer may also do upgrades and introduce new versions, which may or may not be fully or partially compatible with the old versions. If the plant’s documentation is not kept up-to-date, there may be a mismatch between the original drawings and the spare parts in use, which can hinder spare parts procurement and delay maintenance activities.
The Plant Manager in 2020
The Plant Manager in 2020
3. Modernizations and upgrades
As modernization projects are very time-critical, they are usually well planned, installed, and tested. Smaller upgrades, enhancements, and auxiliary devices, however, may often be installed without proper engineering and documentation. Sometimes, documentation activities may even be ignored altogether. This can lead to a situation where there are undocumented technical systems in use at the plant, and these systems are not visible in the plant’s IT systems or maintenance plans.
4. Procurement management
Procurement management is a key factor to running a successful plant. Effective procurement management ensures that all relevant technical specifications are recorded, deliverables listed, and acceptance criteria and schedules defined. Problems typically arise when the documentation criteria for technical information is not defined properly in terms of, for example, scope and scale, format, spare parts information, and position numbers. This leads to vague requirements and problems with quality and can also cause delays in the case of, for example, incompatible position numbers.
5. Legacy data
In a plant environment, physical assets often have a long lifecycle. This may cause a situation where the documentation is partly in a paper format, spread among various uncontrolled archives, and partly digitized. This can lead to problems with accuracy, up-to-dateness, and version management. To create value from all your legacy asset data, it’s essential to continuously verify and validate its quality, consistency, accuracy, and integrity.