Chemical plants, food manufacturing companies and consumer packaged goods (CPG) producers are typically qualified as process industries. Manufacturing lines consist of a continuous flow operations, a batch process or a mix of both. While assets are making the product, technicians, operators, process engineers and quality inspectors are performing crucial supporting activities. They ensure the optimal functioning of the installations, maximizing the output and they guarantee product quality and safety.
In order to ensure that things are done “first time right”, thousands of Standard Operating Procedures and Work Instructions are created and distributed throughout the organization. Each of these documents provide a step-by-step description of how a process or activity should be done. Unfortunately, documents are fine for reading at a desk, but hardly usable while working. While these documents are created with the best intentions, no one really knows whether they are truly followed as there is no execution trace.
In order to ensure that things have been done right, hundreds of checklists are created and regularly filled in during inspections. Most checklists are still paper based and generate quite some non-value-added administration. Traditional inspection forms, whether paper-based or digital, are hard to use while doing a job that requires you to use both hands. Moreover, checklists are a passive registration of what’s good and what’s not. They don’t provide an adequate solution on how to escalate issues effectively and to ensure that they get solved.