Friday, April 1, 2011

DMS Tutorial 1 - The dashboard.

1st collector for DMS Tutorial 1 - The dashboard.
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This is our first in the series of tutorials for our document management system. This tutorial focuses on the dashboard.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Plant Dossiers and Document Management, everything and the kitchen sink

When you think of plant dossiers, a great many thoughts spring to life, some already think of their favorite software that keeps it all neat and tidy for them, some may even ask what a plant dossier is, I know I did a month back.

In my experience, a plant dossier is a system that keeps tabs on the mechanical, maintenance, acquisition, installation and general upkeep of machinery and equipment owned by an organisation.
What I also realize is that, given the importance of said dossiers, if they aren't done the right way, the consequences can be catastrophic. Think its an overstatement? Let's have a look at a few items that go into a dossier and see where it can be implemented across a wide range of businesses.

For instance, if your organisation has equipment, from computers, to laptops, to cameras, to printers, to mining equipment to vehicles, just about all of it, even the kitchen sink of course, can be added to such a dossier.

You would begin by adding the item, let's say it's a computer, to the dossier and then begin adding any documentation that belongs with it from its user manual, user manuals belonging to any peripherals, software user manuals, maintenance documentation etc. This allows you to track anything and everything done on that specific computer. this allows you to know when to perform routine maintenance based on what has already been performed, from a slight upgrade like a new hard drive added, or extra RAM, to a complete rebuild from the ground up. It also gives you an accurate idea of the condition of the computer and shows you that it is in fact still running as it should.

Which is all well and good, you might say, but how do you compile such a system? You could buy separate systems that deal only with plant dossiers, or you could add it to a document management system, but then you would need to make sure that the system you choose would be capable of creating the dossier perfectly, and have you up and running in a matter of minutes, hassle free.

To do this you would need an effective document management system, and a content management system, all rolled into one application. That allows you to link from the content management system to the document management system in on complete stand alone system running from a dashboard.

Complicated? Not at all really.

My recent experience, helping to set up one such dossier, shows that anyone serious about keeping up to date with their maintenance programs or just want to know what's happening with their equipment, needs to have a dossier such as this. You not only keep track of anything happening to your equipment, but you could identify where unnecessary maintenance is done, saving you a great deal of money at the same time. It also allows you to identify problem equipment that should be replaced instead of constantly being maintained.

This system can then be modified further by setting up actions and controls to review, audit, and perform routine maintenance on equipment, keeping your organisation running smoothly.

A system such as this would prove invaluable to just about any organisation, even if you only have a kitchen sink.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Risk Analysis and document management

What is risk analysis? There are two sector definitions for this, engineering and business. Let's take a closer look.

Risk Analysis in Engineering:

Risk analysis is explained as the science of risks, their probability, evaluation, and measures you would use to prevent or reduce risks.

What does that mean? Simply put, risk analysis allows you to identify areas in an engineering environment that can cause an accident or incident. With all the machinery used in this sector, and the environments people work in, you can see why it would be important to be able to control and reduce accidents from happening, to prevent loss of life, limb and money. If you have the right controls in place, reducing and preventing an incident is easy, but if you don't, it can become a major problem for any organisation.

Let's look at how it works.
A mining company has just built a new mine and they are setting their systems up in the usual way so that they can begin production as soon as possible. They invest in a risk analysis firm to survey the area and pinpoint areas where incidents can happen. The risk analysis team then prepares a variety of documents showing the incidents, where they can happen, and what the mining company can do to reduce these incidents. All of which is pretty crucial to ensure that employees are given the right training, equipment and safety measures to work with. But what happens then? How do you control and make sure that these measures are kept in place and that audits are done on time and the people given the responsibility for training, audits and management actually do what they say they will? The answer to that is just as simple. You would use a document management system, or some other form of software, wouldn't you? If you use a document management system, what are the chances that you would find a system that caters for risk analysis?. Pretty rare, I would say.

This is one of the key areas that P2B have revolutionized the document management system as we know it. Which is all good for engineering, but what about business? Let's take a look at that.

Risk analysis in business:

Risk analysis in business is the technique used to identify and assess areas that may hamper the success of a project or achieving a goal.

See the similarities? So even if you do not own an engineering company, risk analysis remains pretty important doesn't it?

So, how has P2B revolutionized document management? By adding risk analysis functionality to a document management system. So instead of having software for risk analysis or software for document management, you can now have it all in one application. The way this all works and comes together is simple. The Risk analysis application allows you to create risk and control charts, which will then show every control, mitigating control, action and reaction to any given incident. Documents used to create these charts are then linked to the incident. This allows you to read through all the documents used as a reference to creating the incident in the RCC (risk and control chart), including any and all industry standard documentation. If there are actions to be performed, such as audits on business equipment, training, quality reviews etc., these are then assigned to the responsible personnel within the organisation and the system will then send them a message as well as a companion email to let them know that this action has been assigned to them. The system will also remind them of any actions nearing their completion date or if any actions are overdue, using the same method. Another way to remind them would be placing their actions on the system dashboard, where it will be seen as soon as they login.

You can see where this type of system will benefit a company in any sector, because it allows you to see that your organisation is running efficiently and that any incidents are being controlled properly, which not only increases your reputation with your employees, but also saves you money that could otherwise be spent on things your business might need.