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5 Ways Digital Operator Rounds are Revolutionizing Plant Maintenance and Safety in 2024

Real-time Monitoring of Operations with Mobile Operator Rounds
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5 Ways Digital Operator Rounds are Revolutionizing Plant Maintenance and Safety in 2024

Imagine a seasoned operator meticulously fills out a paper checklist during their daily rounds, carefully noting equipment readings and observations. This process, while seemingly efficient, is riddled with hidden inefficiencies. Studies show that manual data entry consumes a significant amount of an inspector's time, and paper forms are prone to errors and inconsistencies, leading to inaccurate data and missed problems. Additionally, collating and analyzing data from paper forms is a time-consuming and error-prone task, hindering timely decision-making.

What Are Digital Operator Rounds?

Innovapptive’s Digital Operator Rounds replace error-prone paper checklists with an efficient electronic rounds process utilizing mobile handheld devices (smartphones, tablets, barcode scanners, etc.). Technicians access digital forms on their devices to conduct the inspection rounds. Users can quickly and easily change these dynamic digital forms on the fly to better meet a plant’s situational needs.

Technicians scan equipment barcodes and complete the digital form by checking customized data fields to document present operational status and safety conditions. The inspector can’t advance to the next piece of equipment or location until all fields for the current step are completed as a safeguard (something not present in a paper-based system). Collected data is immediately uploaded electronically into the back-office system. Decision-makers can view inspection data in real time via their mobile device or desktop application and communicate with the technician during the round.

Case For Digital Operator Rounds

More than two out of every three plants recently surveyed revealed they had no idea when their equipment was due for routine maintenance or important upgrades. It’s no surprise then that 82% of industrial plants have suffered at least one unplanned shutdownin the last three years. Such downtime can run up to $250,000 an hour, and at an average of four hours per shutdown, those costs add up quickly, squeezing already tight profit margins.Unplanned-Downtime-Comes-With-a-tremendous-cost-info

Source: Aberdeen Research

On the safety front, industrial plants reported 5,333 workplace deaths and 2.8 million non-fatal injuries in 2019 (the most recent figures available). Most industrial accidents occur due to slips and falls or contact with objects and equipment. Plants are constantly looking for ways to minimize safety risks and the resulting lost work time, fines and penalties.

Digital operator rounds offer a game-changing solution that helps businesses ditch outdated methods and completely transform plant maintenance and safety. By harnessing the power of mobile technology, digital operator rounds makes inspections faster and more streamlined, improves the accuracy of collected data, and fosters real-time understanding – all of this while increasing production uptime, strengthening safety measures, and giving your workforce the tools they need to succeed.

The Benefits of Digital Operator Rounds

Digital operator rounds offer a multitude of benefits that appeal to both bottom-line and management stakeholders in any industrial setting:

Reduce Unplanned Downtime & Boost Uptime: Unplanned downtime is a crippling blow to any manufacturing operation. Studies by ARC Advisory Group reveal that it costs manufacturers an average of $50 billion per year globally. Fortunately, digital operator rounds enable proactive maintenance by:

  • Facilitating comprehensive inspections: Digital checklists ensure thorough and consistent equipment evaluations, allowing operators to identify potential issues early on, before they escalate into major breakdowns.
  • Enabling real-time data collection: Captured data is automatically uploadedto a central database, providing immediate insights into equipment health and performance.
  • Supporting preventative maintenance scheduling: Data-driven insights from digital operator rounds empower informed decisions regarding maintenance schedules, allowing you to address minor issues before they evolve into costly downtime events.
  • Optimizing resource allocation: Real-time information on equipment health allows for efficient allocation of maintenance resources, ensuring critical issues are addressed promptly, minimizing downtime and production delays.

Improve Safety Compliance and Risk Mitigation: Safety is paramount in any industrial setting. Non-compliance with regulations can have serious consequences, including hefty fines, operational disruptions, and even worker injuries. Digital operator rounds plays a crucial role in enhancing safety compliance by:

  • Standardizing inspections: Digital checklists ensure consistent and thorough safety inspections, minimizing the risk of human error and missed hazards.
  • Empowering real-time hazard reporting: Operators can instantly report safety hazards through the digital operator rounds, enabling swift response and mitigation measures. Photos and detailed descriptions can be attached to reports, providing valuable context for immediate action.
  • Offering data-driven insights for risk assessment: Data collected through Digital operator rounds can be analyzed to identify recurring issues and potential safety risks. This allows for targeted interventions and improved safety protocols to be implemented, creating a safer work environment for your employees.

Increase Operational Efficiency and Cost Reduction: Paper-based processes are inefficient and costly. Imagine the time and resources wasted on manual data entry, filing, and retrieving misplaced forms. digital operator rounds streamline operations and reduces costs by:

  • Eliminating manual data entry: Mobile apps allow for quick and accurate data capture at the point of inspection, saving valuable time and minimizing errors associated with manual data entry.
  • Reducing administrative costs: By eliminating paper forms, digital operator rounds reduce printing, storage, and retrieval costs associated with traditional methods. Additionally, the automated data entry eliminates the need for additional personnel to handle data processing, further reducing administrative costs.
  • Optimizing workflows: Real-time data accessibility empowers informed decision-making, leading to optimized maintenance workflows and improved resource utilization. This allows for the efficient deployment of personnel and equipment, maximizing productivity and minimizing operational costs.

Improve Data Quality and Real-Time Visibility: Paper-based records are often inaccurate and incomplete, hindering effective decision-making. Missing data or inconsistencies can lead to misinterpretations and hinder proactive maintenance efforts. Digital operator rounds ensure data quality and real-time visibility by:

  • Standardizing data collection: Digital forms ensure consistent and accurate data capture, eliminating potential errors and inconsistencies that plague paper-based records.
  • Enabling automatic data entry: Mobile apps eliminate the need for manual data entry, minimizing the risk of human error and ensuring data integrity.
  • Providing real-time insights: Supervisors, managers, and other decision-makers have instant access to operational data, enabling them to make informed decisions based on the latest and most accurate information. This allows for proactive problem-solving and swift response to any potential issues.

Empower Frontline Workers and Boost Productivity: Empowered and engaged workers are essential for a productive and efficient operation. When your frontline workers feel valued and equipped with the right tools, they are more likely to be motivated and proactive. Digital operator rounds empower your frontline by:

  • Providing user-friendly mobile applications: Intuitive mobile apps simplify data collection and task management, enhancing user experience and streamlining workflows. This allows operators to focus on their core tasks rather than being bogged down by paperwork.
  • Facilitating access to information and training: Operators can access manuals, procedures, and training materials directly on their mobile devices, promoting continuous learning and knowledge sharing. This empowers them to perform their duties more effectively and efficiently.
  • Increasing job satisfaction and engagement: By eliminating tedious paperwork and providing access to valuable information and training, digital operator rounds foster a more engaging and satisfying work environment for your frontline workers. This leads to increased job satisfaction, improved morale, and ultimately, a more productive workforce.

Beyond the Numbers: The Human Impact of Digital Operator Rounds

While the quantifiable benefits of mobile operator rounds are undeniable, its impact extends far beyond mere numbers. By bridging the gap between operation excellence programs and maintenance activities, digital operator rounds foster improved communication and collaboration between teams. This breakdown of technology/information silos empowers operators like Sarah and Mike to proactively engage with maintenance by seamlessly reporting issues through the digital operator rounds solution. This timely communication allows maintenance personnel to address problems quickly and efficiently, minimizing production downtime and ensuring safe and smooth production.

Furthermore, digital operator rounds contribute to a more positive and engaging work environment for frontline workers. By eliminating the tedium of paper-based inspections and providing access to readily available information, it empowers operators and fosters a sense of ownership over their work. This, in turn, leads to increased job satisfaction, improved morale, and ultimately, a more productive workforce.

Ready To Experience The Power of Digital Operator Rounds? 

Schedule a free demo with Innovapptive today and discover how our cutting-edge solutions can help propel your plant towards increased efficiency, improved safety, and sustained success. Additionally, consider a discovery meeting with our team of experts to gain a deeper understanding of how digital operator rounds can be customized to meet your specific needs.

Don't wait – take the first step towards a more efficient and safer future for your plant!

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