The Modern Asset Performance Technologies Your Mobile Workers Must Use

August 9, 2018

New asset performance technologies emerge every year. The best catch on within the industry. Plant Managers implement them, get better results, and spread the word. These game-changing technological advances let you manage the health of your assets and fully support your mobile workers.

To determine whether a new technology is worth your investment, consider how the new technology improves the data collection process, worker safety, data analysis and communications at your plant. The best modern asset performance technologies, like mobile data collection apps, will improve all four.


Mobile Apps That Streamline the Data Collection Process

When you decide to switch to new asset performance technologies at your plant, you might find that your mobile workers object to any serious changes to your current data collection process. That’s because new data collection technology requires additional Operator training, and there may be a learning curve that your Operators must overcome before they can use the new system.

This is why your mobile workers must use asset performance technologies that are easy to quickly learn and that won’t require them to spend more time to use than the paper-based data collection methods they use today.

The best Mobile apps check those boxes. When you switch from paper-based Operator Rounds and Checklists to a modern mobile data collection app, you’ll see the following benefits at your plant:

  • Operator training takes very little time: A mobile Rounds and Checklists app minimizes the learning curve that your mobile workers face when using a new technology. It’s designed to make the Rounds process as streamlined and straightforward as possible. Your Operators log in to view their daily tasks. Then, the app directs them through every step of the Rounds process–your workers won’t have to remember any complex protocols.
  • Mobile apps eliminate busy work: In a paper-based system, your mobile workers have to transcribe data and manually create reports from the observations they make on their Rounds, which wastes valuable time and resources. A well designed mobile app makes it easier for your Operators to complete their daily Rounds because the data they collect during their time in the Plant  automatically syncs to a database. Reports and escalation notices are then automatically and correctly generated and made available to management. Operators will never have to enter the data manually or compile their own Rounds reports.

When you make the switch to a mobile data collection app, your Operators will see an immediate improvement in their schedules and in the quality of the data that they’re able to collect and store. If you can only make one new technological change at your plant, make it a mobile Operator Rounds and Checklists app; this one change could have a lasting positive impact on your mobile workers and the health of your assets.

Asset Performance Technologies That Keep Your Workers Safe

Another reason why you should encourage your Operators to use a mobile Rounds and Checklists app in the field is because this technology dramatically improves safety at your plant.

When your Operators use a paper-based system, they have to carry more items with them as they make their daily Rounds. For example, an Operator at a Power Generation plant might have to carry paper Checklists, clipboards and possibly a camera in addition to all of their other maintenance tools in order to record their observations in the field.

Lugging around all these items  can pose a safety risk to your mobile workers. If your workers have to climb a ladder to get a reading, this process becomes more dangerous when they’re carrying multiple items like pens, clipboards and paperwork.

A mobile app eliminates this problem because your Operators can use a compact, rugged  mobile device to record their notes and enter important data. If your Operator needs to keep their hands free while making their Rounds, they can install the mobile app on their smartphone and keep it in their pocket or attached to a utility belt.

Moreover, when your Operators work in areas that require non-incendive equipment to be used, you can install the mobile app on a durable tablet or phone that is  rated for hazardous areas, up to Class 1, Division 1 classification.

When you use modern asset performance technologies like mobile apps and combine them with safety features like rugged mobile devices, you’ll make your mobile workers’ safety a top priority.

Digital Data Records That Provide Context for Observations

Another factor to consider when you switch to a new asset performance technology is whether the technology supports actionable data. It’s not enough for your Operators to gather data and observations from the field–you also need them to take corrective action when the situation calls for it and it is possible for them to do so.

They may not realize that a reading is abnormal until they manually enter the data in the control room. By the time they are able to analyze the data, it may be too late to take action. A delay in corrective action could lead to significant plant downtime, a safety related incident, or asset failure, and this in turn could increase your plant’s TCO.

A mobile data collection app solves this problem by:

  • Providing standardized decision support logic that even new Operators can follow on their first day out in the field.
  • Offering Operators a step-by-step guide to escalation procedures in real time.
  • Allowing Operators to embed data readings, photos and other documents to show their Plant Operations Managers the full picture of what’s happening in the field.
  • Including previous answer history and data trends directly from the app so that Operators can analyze their newest observations based on this historical context.

These advanced features allow Operators to take immediate action and prevent unexpected downtime at your plant, allowing you to make the most out of this asset performance technology.

Mobile Operator Rounds Checklists That Help Your Operators Connect

One last thing to consider about new asset performance technologies is how they will support communication at your plant. Whether your plant splits daily Operator Rounds among a small team of Operators or you have multiple Operators working different shifts every day, a mobile app can help improve their communication.

In a paper-based system, your Operators may have challenges  communicating with each other, especially if they’re working on different assets or shifts. This is a problem because if an Operator fails to complete one of his Rounds on time, or notices a problem that he wants the next shift to monitor carefully, communicating that information isn’t always easy. He might have to search for his Manager or find a way to contact the next Operator directly.

Modern technology solves this problem by providing a single platform for all of your plant’s vital communications. Not only can all of your Operators complete their Rounds, they can also quickly see which Rounds haven’t been completed and pick up where the last Operator left off. There’s no need to search for a Manager, as the app can automatically assign the incomplete Round to the next Operator.

Improved communications at your plant leads to better asset performance and a boost in your mobile workers’ morale. They’re able to perform their daily tasks without worrying about whether their fellow team members are on the same page.

    How to Implement the Best Asset Performance Technologies

    If you’re unsure whether you should make the switch to a new asset performance mobile technology, it’s important to analyze whether it supports data collection, worker safety, corrective action and communication at your plant.

    A mobile Rounds and Checklists app fully supports all four of these requirements. Moreover, implementing this new system in your existing plant infrastructure is surprisingly easy. To use one at your own plant, sign up for the mobile platform, install the software or app, and create your Operator schedules, Rounds and Checklists. With no additional equipment to install and very little training required, a mobile data collection system is one of the fastest and easiest asset performance technologies you can implement at your plant today.

    Request a demo of our GoPlant mobile app today to find out more about how this technology can improve your plant’s operations. The GoPlant software system can help you schedule your Operator Rounds, create custom Rounds reports and encourage your mobile workers to take action in real-time. You can implement this system in your own plant by connecting with our team today.