Digitising Asset Management Content? 4 Tips to Boost Your Scale.

Stuart Burckhardt
Chief Executive Officer
April 26, 2023
min read

Digital, integrated and mobile maintenance content is a major source of asset management efficiencies and improvement. Trouble is, most operations are faced with the digitisation of tens of thousands of maintenance checklists, forms and often, very complex work instructions.

Consequently, most operations are seeking ways to improve the scale of their digitisation and documentation processes. Scalability can be achieved with automation, repeatability and clever workflow. Here’s 4 key tips that have worked for OnPlan and our clients.

1. Convert Existing Maintenance Documents to a Digital Format

All that time and effort invested in existing asset management doesn’t have to go to waste. Existing PDF, Word, Excel documents can be used to build a foundation of digital documents, boosting the scale of your digitisation program.

Some digital document management tools allow you to import various equipment strategies, FMECA records, 2D & 3D models, photos and checklists - whether they’re in Microsoft Excel, Word, or PDFs to quickly establish baseline digital maintenance content. For instance, OnPlan users can:

  • Import single documents using a drag and drop importer.
  • Load content using Excel load sheets.
  • Lean on the OnPlan data team to bulk import documents.

Important: While importing existing content can be a great kick-starter to your digitisation program, don’t fall into a trap of not optimising your documents for the digital format and consumption. There’s massive opportunity to build value and efficiencies when shifting to a digital presentation of maintenance work.

OnPlan Asset Management Documentation Platform-Image
OnPlan Asset Management Documentation Platform
2. Use a Modular Approach

When digitising maintenance content, you’ll achieve greater scale by building repetitive components of maintenance process or documents, rather than completing individual documents, forms or checklists.

By breaking maintenance documents up into re-usable elements, it’s quicker and easier to generate multiple document variations for different equipment, sites or regions.

For example, isolating equipment is a task required for most offline work. The work steps to isolate equipment can be built and reviewed once, and then used in each task requiring these steps.

If there is a need to the update steps, this can be done once and applied to all, saving time to update and avoiding missing an important update.

Examples of re-useable elements of your documentation includes:

  • Job steps that form part of a larger process or operation
  • Hazards
  • Controls
  • Maintenance standards
  • Tools

OnPlan allows a user to search, select and reuse any repeatable elements against different assets and in multiple documents. A maintenance-centric documentation workflow dramatically improves the scalability of the process for asset-intensive organisations.

In addition to gaining scale building documents, another key benefit to breaking digital documentation down into re-usable components is:

  • Optimising content for mobile devices
  • Document maintenance becomes more manageable

When broken into elements, document updates are also much easier and much more scalable. For instance, if statutory change mandates changes to the frequency of inspections on a piece of equipment, OnPlan tracks every instance of that element. Once edited and approved, updates are made to all relevant documents so that all users have only the latest version of the digital document.

3. Focus on Content, Not Format

Whether for digital or paper maintenance content, a technical writer is often writing and formatting at the same time. This includes planning how and when to capture data, limits like mandatory fields + more.

Rather, focus on content to improve the scalability of the documentation process. Formatting each component or step can be handled by the software.  

This approach not only speeds up the writing process, it improves maintenance document quality in other ways:

  • It keeps repeatable document elements like task instructions more re-usable for other documents or operations.
  • Your documenter will remain focused on that job step, improving the quality of the instruction.
4. Apply Document Standards

Consistency in the documentation of work is important for the teams executing the work. But standardisation is also great for scale, helping you and other documenters to build effective and consistent documents with maximum efficiency.

Either find a writing guide or build one, setting standards for elements such as:

  • Writing style
  • Standard nouns
  • Standard symbols
  • How do we write advice (hazards, notes, etc)
  • Torque settings
  • Sentence structure – ie. Are we always going to start a sentence with a verb? (ie INSPECT the engine, TEST the function of the valve)

Similarly, a documentation workflow will also help. Here’s an example of a logical structure to many operations which can be made up of repeatable elements (as per Tip 2).

A Documentation Workflow
A Maintenance Documentation Workflow

OnPlan is a no-code digital document management solution built to improve the scale and efficacy of work management documentation processes, end-to-end.

Users can build, manage and deploy digital maintenance content that easily scales across the company. This means operations and maintenance teams can work safer, smarter and realise more value from complex industrial assets.

For a demo, contact OnPlan.

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