Equipment Maintenance Log Checklists: Why Your Mobile Plant Workers Should Go Digital

June 20, 2018

Is your plant still using paper equipment maintenance log checklists? If so, it’s time to make a change. Switching from paper to digital maintenance checklists and Operator Rounds logs could significantly improve the safety of your plant, streamline the repairs process, and allow you to understand exactly what’s happening in the field at all times.

Going digital could also be a major relief for your Mobile Plant Operators. When your mobile workers head out to the field to check on a vital piece of equipment, the last thing they want to do is sift through stacks of paperwork to find the checklist they need. Most mobile workers want to focus on observing the equipment in front of them, not managing messy paperwork or worrying whether their pen has run out of ink.

By making the switch to digital equipment maintenance log checklists now, you’ll set yourself up for fewer headaches in the future, and you’ll make your plant a safer, more efficient work environment for your Mobile Operators.

Digital Equipment Maintenance Log Checklists vs. Paper Forms

As a Plant Operations Manager, it’s easy to fall into a routine with your equipment maintenance log checklists. You might even have adopted a policy of “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” There may be a number of problems with your current paper checklist system, though. What’s worse, you might not realize that these problems even exist—until it’s too late. A vital piece of equipment could fail, or your mobile workers’ safety could be at risk, due to an unorganized paper-based Operator Rounds checklist system.

equipment maintenance logs checklist This is why it’s important to analyze whether your current equipment maintenance log checklists are as effective as they could be. Start by asking yourself the following questions:

  • Has it been awhile since you’ve updated your equipment maintenance log checklists?
  • Do your mobile plant workers have to take pens, pencils, or extra sheets of paper out to the field every day?
  • Do your mobile workers struggle to communicate potential problems quickly and efficiently?
  • Do you still have to file any paperwork or manually input data into your system at the end of the day?

If you answered yes to any of the questions above, then it may be time for you to make the switch from paper to digital equipment maintenance log checklists. Unlike paper checklists, digital rounds sheets can be updated far more frequently, don’t require mobile workers to carry pens or pencils, let you communicate problems instantly, and don’t require any special filing systems or manual data input.

Here are a few other reasons why a digital equipment maintenance log checklist is superior to a manual paper system for Operator Rounds:

#1: Digital Rounds Checklists Improve Safety

The most important benefit of using a digital equipment maintenance log checklist or rounds sheets is that you’ll see a significant improvement in your plant’s safety protocols. A digital rounds sheet checklist could improve plant safety by:

  • Recording what your workers experience: A digital system makes it much easier to see, hear, and analyze what your workers observe in an instant. If a piece of machinery, like a pump, is behaving in an unusual and potentially dangerous way, you’ll know right away; your worker will record what they see in the digital log. This log automatically syncs to your plant’s control room, allowing you to shut down or isolate that piece of equipment before it endangers your staff.
  • Encouraging a culture of safety: Digital rounds sheets checklists are easier for most mobile workers to use on a daily basis compared to paper forms. This means that your workers are more likely to consistently record their observations, no matter how small. For instance, a Mobile Field Operator at a power plant might make a note about unusual field conditions that seem minor at the time, but that could have a massive impact on plant uptime or workers’ safety later. By making it easier for your mobile workers to note unusual conditions, you encourage them to take safety seriously, and to report potential problems right away.
  • Protecting your plant legally: It’s much easier to prove safety compliance when you have a long history of digital safety data stored in your system. If you rely on paperwork to prove compliance, you may lose important documents, or the information on those documents could be illegible.

By making the switch to digital equipment maintenance log checklists, you’ll put your mobile workers’ safety first, and you’ll ensure compliance with national safety standards.

#2: Perform Essential Repairs Faster with Digital Maintenance Logs

Improved safety isn’t the only benefit of digital Operator Rounds sheets and equipment maintenance log checklists. An effective digital system also helps you pinpoint equipment to repair quickly.

A digital system can:

  • Reduce equipment downtime: When you record your equipment readings instantly via digital checklists, your data analysts will immediately see potential problems. This prevents downtime because you’ll be able to repair the equipment right away, rather than waiting for equipment failure to occur, and then sending someone out to fix it after the fact. With paper forms and checklists, your analysts might not see these problems until the end of the day, perhaps even later. This significantly increases the risk of costly downtime.
  • Update rounds sheets and checklists on the fly: If a worker notices a typo on the paper checklist or wants to add an important data point to the sheet, this can be difficult to do if you use manual paperwork. You’ll have to print new forms and shred any old forms. Unlike a paper form, a digital checklist for you Operator Rounds system evolves alongside your plant and equipment needs, giving you the chance to change the equipment visited or the data points collected whenever you feel it’s necessary.

A digital equipment maintenance log checklist is better equipped to handle the needs of a modern plant because these checklists  take into consideration the maintenance and reliability needs and evolution of your plant over time. Very few plants remain stagnant year after year, so by switching to digital rounds forms and checklists, you can track these changes in your system and prevent equipment downtime.  

#3: Keep Closer Track of Your Mobile Workers and Your Equipment

One final reason why a digital equipment maintenance log checklist is superior to paper log checklists is that digital tracking makes it easier to see what every mobile worker is doing without having to micromanage their schedules each day. You’ll never have to ask whether your Plant Operators have finished their daily Rounds because you can see the results of their work, in the system before they head home for the day.

This added level of accountability also ensures that no piece of equipment gets left off the maintenance checklist. With paper forms and checklists, you might not realize immediately that a Plant Operator never got around to checking a certain piece of equipment. As a result, that equipment might eventually fail due to lack of consistent and timely maintenance.

Digital rounds systems promote a healthy work culture for Managers and Operators alike.

Your dedicated mobile workers might enjoy this new system too, since it shows their Plant Operations Managers how efficient they can be. At the end of each day, Managers can see how thorough their mobile workers’ notes are, and they can reward workers for maintaining excellent safety standards and for performing their tasks especially well. Digital rounds systems promote a healthy work culture for Managers and Operators alike.

Switching to Digital Equipment Maintenance Log Checklists

A digital equipment maintenance log checklist for Operator Rounds does so much more than just track your data. Switching from paper to digital can improve your safety standards and compliance, reduce downtime, future-proof your plant, and encourage better communication between Managers and Operators. It’s easier than ever to implement digital checklists into your plant, and this important change could have a lasting impact on your plant, its safety, and its profitability for years to come.

Request a demo of our GoPlant digital Operator rounds system today. When you sign up for a demo, our experts will explain every feature of the system in detail. You’ll learn how to convert your equipment maintenance log checklists into the GoPlant software system, allowing you to improve your daily plant operations. Contact our team today to find out more about how GoPlant could improve the safety and efficiency at your plant.