Digital Procedures: The Next Evolution in Procedure Execution
What is an electronic work package (eWP)?
eWP solutions, provided by leading vendors like DataGlance, allow front-line workers to review and complete electronically packaged PDF work packages on a tablet, as an alternative to using a paper-based work binder. They do this by annotating the PDF with a stylus or their finger as they execute their work. Written text is embedded as a graphical overlay to the PDF, rather than storing it as structured data. As workers reach milestones within the work package, they manually insert progress markers, which allows schedulers and planners to track progress in the field. Although eWP provides significant advantages over paper-based work packages – for example, the cost savings from not having to print hundreds of pieces of paper for each work package – they only scratch the surface of what is possible with a tablet.
How are Digital Procedures different from eWP?
Digital Procedures use the full capabilities available to iPad, Android, or Microsoft Surface devices:
- Automated work tracking remembers the exact start and stop time of every step, which eliminates having to manually insert progress markers.
- Intelligent alerts keep relevant parties informed; for example, planners may want to be notified if completion of work instructions takes more than two standard deviations from the mean from one step to the next step of a procedure.
- Progress bars track completion status at the line item level, so workers know exactly how many steps are left.
- Control Center (OCC) dashboards communicate work status in real time to management and operations engineers – useful especially in time-sensitive events like outages.
- Intelligent branching guides workers to the correct next step, so they don’t have to waste time manually deciding what can be skipped.
- Data validations prevent workers from accidentally skipping steps or mistyping values into their devices.
- Easy integration APIs feed information directly into your corrective action program, equipment health databases, and other necessary systems.
In a nutshell, Digital Procedures take the act of executing high-reliability work into the 21st century, with all the advantages that implies. Although paper will continue being a part of our lives for a long time to come, if your margin for error is low, the time to start moving to a digital solution is now.