Best practices in enterprise asset management are quite simply the procedures and processes that give us the best results. Paper-based permitting systems cannot be considered a best practice in terms of safety. Permit to work software offers superior results in this regard, especially when integrated with your EAM, ERP, or CMMS.
However, we’re not discussing whether issuing electronic safe work permits is a best practice in terms of permitting (it is!), but how digitizing and integrating your permitting process is a best practice for enterprise asset management. In other words, how does a digital work permit system give you superior results in managing your assets when compared to a paper-based system?
The time lag between actions taking place and data entry has consequences. Manually transferring data from one system to another will almost inevitably introduce errors.
Certain types of electronic safe work permit systems may have a similar problem. Just because the records are digital doesn’t mean they will automatically integrate with your system of record. In fact, you may find that you must transfer the data manually from your permitting system to your EAM, ERP, or CMMS. While a system that requires this may be a step up from a paper-based system, it has the same issue with errors creeping into the data.
The only way to avoid the errors that come along with manual transmission of data is to eliminate the manual system completely. To do this, you need an application programming interface (API). The API acts as a bridge between the two systems, allowing them to communicate. The API used must be well designed to handle these integration scenarios and ensure you have a consolidated and accurate source of truth.
Data entered into a digital permitting system is usually more complete as well. Ideally, you should be able to configure the system in such a way that it captures all the data you want, every single time, with minimal chances to introduce human error.
A digital permitting system with a well-designed API integrates with your ERP, EAM, or CMMS in ways that paper simply cannot.
Permitting is just one part of the maintenance process. A paper system effectively puts your permitting processes on an island. Planning and scheduling best practice requires a completely integrated system. Not only is necessary data captured, but it’s available whenever planners and schedulers need it.
Digital permitting has other benefits when integrated with your scheduling system. For example, work done in one area may create hazards in another area. A common example of this is when work is scheduled on two different levels that nevertheless share a common space, such as catwalks. A digital and integrated system can be set up to flag these sorts of situations and note, for example, that work on a lower level should not be scheduled at the same time as work on a higher level. This relatively simple change can help avoid incidents arising from dropped tools and materials.
Contractors are expensive. Very often, they’re also a necessity. Integrated, digital permitting simplifies contractor management and ensures no part of those expenses goes to waste.
An integrated, digital permitting solution means that permits to work are ready to go when the contractor shows up. Contractors can simply walk up to a kiosk, scan their entry card, and they’re ready to go. This prevents them from waiting around for permits and helps ensure that the hours billed are actual work hours, not time spent standing around waiting for permits.
An electronic system also gives you a complete system of record. This can be invaluable in cases of disputes. The right solution can even integrate with your entry system, telling you when contractors came on site, when they entered the control room, etc. You now have hard facts and evidence of exactly what occurred and when.
Money saved on contract labor can instead be applied to other areas of your maintenance program, improving your overall asset management process.
Permit to work software has many other advantages over paper permitting processes. Download our whitepaper “The Calculated Benefits of Electronic Permit to Work Systems” for a side-by-side comparison and analysis of paper and digital permit to work systems. You can also check out our webinar “Digitize Your Processes and Leave Paper Permitting Behind,” where our experts share how your team can digitize the process within your facility and create and support a safer work environment.