10 Steps To Better Operating Records
When it comes to your operating records, getting from where you are to somewhere better doesn’t happen overnight. Consider someone that’s currently using paper records for their operating log or their “checklists” – a.k.a., walkdowns, rounds, or inspections.
This is problematic for a myriad of reasons, including:
- The records may be illegible. Admit it. You can’t read your own handwriting sometimes, much less that of others.
- The information may be poorly worded.
- Have inconsistent content – certain entries should always have certain details, but unstructured entries may not always conform.
- Can be lost or ruined (torn pages, coffee or oil spills, etc.).
- Hard to use – how do I see how our salinity reading on the morning rounds has been trending quickly?
- No photo evidence.
- Can’t be shared – only one person at a time can review the log.
- Must be accessed in one place.
And the list goes on and on.
We work with people that have material operating concerns. That means people who are dealing with an operation that involves significant operating concerns and risks – risks to human safety, compliance risks and financial risks. Our comments below are aimed strictly at these types of operations.
The reality is this.
1. Paper records are an outdated process. Teams are moving to more efficient digital records.
2. You can make substantial improvements quickly.
3. Long term success is an evolutionary endeavor, not an overnight thing.
In order to improve things, you’ll need technology, but you’ll also need a path to ever increasing levels of improvement. Select a product that you can grow with. Don’t try to do everything at once. Get started on a path to a better future. Make a commitment to excellence. Establish a plan, and work on incremental improvements over time.
10 Steps to Better Operating Records
Get a subscription to LogBook.
Learn how it fundamentally works, create an operating log, add your operators and begin adding unstructured log entries immediately.
Identify your “frequent log entries”, and create templates to capture them in a structured way.
Identify your more complex entries, such as documenting walkdowns or rounds. Work with the LogBook Team to create templates to document those rounds.
Decide on a mobile device strategy and purchase devices to record your walkdowns or rounds.
Train your operators to use the mobile device to do rounds.
Develop reports that can be used to quickly analyze information in your log – queries, tabular views, charts, etc.
Develop triggers that will push notifications to the right people when important log entry content is added to the log.
Develop an incident logging strategy, where important incidences – safety issues, accidents, environmental incidents, accidents, etc. can be documented and signed-off by the proper authorities.
Develop a “facility issues” strategy, where operators can quickly identify issues that need attention and capture them anytime they are found. Build reports and follow-up around these issues.
A Better Path To Operational Excellence
After you go through these 10 steps, you’ll be on the road to operating better. You’ll have better records, the records will be securely retained and you’ll have established a backbone of operating data that documents your business practices – the operating conditions and consequential actions taken. This lays the foundation needed to continue the pursuit of operational excellence.
From here, it’s a matter of continually improving your log. Make a commitment that anything that should be documented will be documented in the log. When there’s a new compliance requirement or a new business practice that must be done, commit to ensuring that there’s evidence in the log that will show that the operation is doing what it should be doing.
Need documentation of facility visitors (who, when, why, with photo ID)? Add a digital visitor kiosk and integrate visitor records into your operating record.
Need to keep track of remote staff or crews visiting secure sites? Add a solution that will track those visitors and integrate that into your operating record.
Need to have important alarms and events from your monitoring and control systems integrated into your operating records? Integrate it into your operating record.
The point is that all this takes time. The key is to select a product or service you can grow with and get started. Don’t try to figure it all out before you start, or you’ll just add delay to getting benefits you could begin to get today.