How to Simplify Your Plant Asset Management Audit: A Checklist for the Digital Age

August 2, 2018

Is your asset management audit checklist needlessly complicated or inefficient? If so, you’re not alone. Many plants struggle to perform regular asset management audits consistently in part because their current audit checklists are more complex than they have to be.

However, you don’t have to keep using a complex audit checklist in order to ensure that your assets are operating efficiently. In the digital age, it’s never been easier to improve and modernize your audit checklists.

By following these five basic steps for simplifying your checklists for the digital age, you’ll find that it’s far less challenging to perform regular plant asset management audits. This, in turn, can lead to a massive improvement in operating efficiency at your plant.

Addressing the Challenges of Your Asset Management Audit Process

An asset management audit is a systematic method of reviewing your asset reliability management and operational practices. When you have an effective checklist and audit protocols, the audit should provide you with vital information about your plant’s strengths and weaknesses. It shows you areas where you need to improve, and areas where you already excel.

However, an asset management audit is only effective when you perform it efficiently and consistently over time. If you conduct a new audit using a different checklist or set of standards than the previous audit, you’ll face two challenges:

  • It’s more difficult to draw conclusions about the data: You can’t easily compare the two audits because they were performed to a different set of standards. This makes it more challenging to identify weaknesses in your asset management protocol, since you can’t accurately compare performance between the two audits.
  • You could miss important observations: If you don’t have a simple, streamlined audit checklist in place, you’re more likely to miss analyzing key aspects of your plant’s daily operations.

By simplifying your asset management audit checklist, you can solve both of these challenges. A simplified checklist can be standardized and used during every audit at your plant, allowing you to accurately compare results and track your performance goals. A simple checklist can also make it easier for your Operators or Operations Managers to perform the audit consistently–they’ll be far less likely to miss key observations or data readings.

Moreover, creating a new asset management audit protocol is simple when you use a digital checklist. By following the five steps below, you can develop your own digital audit checklist that will help you improve operating efficiency at your plant.

Step 1: Prioritize and Schedule Your Asset Management Audit

The first step to improving and simplifying your asset management audit protocol is to schedule your audits and asset inspections at regular intervals. By scheduling and prioritizing your audits in advance, you not only ensure that you are performing audits regularly, you also make it easier for Managers to oversee and schedule these audits.

Rather than guessing when you should perform your next audit, instead, you can schedule routine audits through a digital checklist platform. A digital app can be configured to assign audits to your team members at regular intervals. So, if your goal is to perform an audit once every six months, the app can automatically assign this task twice annually.

You can also prioritize when you perform the audit to avoid unnecessary downtime or operational disruptions. Ideally, you should perform the audit during times when your Operators are less preoccupied with other tasks. This lets them devote their full attention to the audit. You can use a digital app to find the dates and times that will work best for your team’s schedules.

Step 2: Develop an Asset Management Audit Checklist and Protocol

By far the most complicated step in this process is organizing your asset management audit to fit your plant’s unique needs. You need to know which assets to check, how to assess all of your Operators’ performances and which management goals you wish to achieve.

A digital asset management checklist app makes this process much simpler and faster to develop. Unlike a paper-based system, which you have to physically store and reprint whenever you make a change to the audit protocol, a digital system allows you to perform the audit and analyze the data seamlessly.

First, you can standardize your audit protocol using the digital app. You can develop a list of audit steps that are vital for your plant’s unique needs, and the app will assign these tasks to your team.

You can also create an audit checklist from scratch that automatically syncs to the plant’s network. This means that every Operator will have the latest checklist protocols from the moment they connect to the network on their mobile device. Even if you make changes to the protocol hours before the scheduled audit, your Operators will be updated with the new standards.

Offline capabilities also ensure that your Operators have access to the audit protocol, even if they are out of range of the network. This is especially helpful in open-roof plant settings.

Step 3: Assign Operators to Perform the Asset Management Audit

If you want to improve and simplify your asset management audit process, you need to create an auditing team that is reliable and well-trained. A digital checklist app can help.

A digital app is capable of assigning specific tasks to Operators and Managers at the plant, making it easy to form your ideal team for each audit. You can quickly see which team members are available during the scheduled auditing time, or you can program the app to assign certain team members to specific auditing tasks at regular intervals.

In addition to assigning your team to the audit, you also need to ensure that your team is capable of performing the auditing tasks effectively. Training your auditing team can take time, which is why you should use a digital app to help you perform this step. A digital app will offer the auditing team specific, clear instructions in an auditing checklist, meaning that you won’t have to spend as much time training them on how to perform the audit.

    Step 4: Collect Your Asset Management Audit Data

    Making sure that you have a reliable method for collecting and storing asset management audit data is absolutely essential. After all, if you’re not able to see the data that you collect, then there is little point in performing the audit in the first place.

    A digital app will automatically upload all of the data gathered from the audit onto your plant’s network. Even if your Operators gather data out in the field, where they don’t have access to the network, the app will store all of the data on the local device and upload it to the network when the device reconnects. This simplifies the auditing process because you don’t have to upload this data yourself or worry about data storage.

    Step 5: Analyze the Asset Management Audit Report

    The final step for simplifying your asset management audit protocol is to improve the way that your Operators and Plant Operations Managers analyze the data gathered from the audit.

    First, consider what steps your team can take immediately if they see that there is a serious flaw in the plant’s asset management process. You should have a few simple steps that your team can follow to either course correct or take action right away. A digital app can be programmed with specific triggers that notify Operators when an asset is underperforming or if the audit finds a potentially dangerous flaw in your management protocol.

    Next, simplify your method for analyzing the data that you gather from your routine asset management audits–how do you encourage your Plant Operations Managers to look at this data? A digital app can make this process simpler because it’s capable of placing the gathered information into trend reports and graphs on a dashboard webpage. Managers don’t have to manually plug this information into a spreadsheet or sift through dozens of paper checklists looking for trends.

    This not only makes the data analysis process faster, it also makes the data more actionable. You can take immediate steps to improve your asset management process directly after the audit, rather than waiting for days or weeks while you process and analyze the data.

    Simplifying Your Plant Asset Management Audit

    Plant asset management audits can be time-consuming and complicated. However, the right tools help you streamline the process and make the most out of your routine audits. By following the five steps above, you can simplify your plant asset management audit protocol and begin improving operating efficiency at your plant right away.

    To learn more about how to improve your asset management audit checklist, request a demo of our GoPlant system today. The GoPlant software system is designed to make the data collection process as streamlined and efficient as possible, allowing you to analyze data and take meaningful action at your plant. Connect with our team to discover more about GoPlant’s extensive features.