Digital inspections have transformed the maintenance and monitoring processes in facilities. The integration of technology, such as mobile devices and cloud-based software, has significantly streamlined and improved the efficiency, accuracy, and cost-effectiveness of inspection processes.
In facilities with heavy compliance regulations, digital inspection systems offer numerous benefits, including optimized maintenance, reduced downtime, and improved overall safety and compliance. This article will delve into the advantages and real-world applications of digital inspection for facilities.
What is Digital Inspection?
Inspection is an integral part of any maintenance program. To further the efficiency of this critical aspect, digitization is induced, and this smart merger is termed digital inspection.
A digital inspection typically involves collecting data about the building, its systems, and equipment, capturing images or videos, and generating inspection reports or recommendations for maintenance, repair, or upgrades.
Facility inspectors employ digital tools such as Computerized Maintenance Management Systems (CMMS) software, mobile applications, and other technologies to evaluate and assess the condition, compliance, and safety of a physical facility.
The fundamental objective is to streamline and optimize the inspection process, escalate efficiency, accuracy, and accessibility, and provide real-time data for informed decision-making.
What Does a Digital Facility Inspection Entail?
The term digital inspection is often a restricted imagination of writing up an inspection checklist on a Microsoft Word document, a Notion pad, or an Excel sheet. However, the situation is quite the contrary.
Digital inspection is a comprehensive workflow hosted on specialized CMMS, EAM software, or mobile applications. This digital environment serves as a central portal or database where facility inspectors can create, process, evaluate, and rotate the inspection-related data, checklists, reports, and recommendations.
5 Critical Elements of a Digital Inspection Solution
Enlisted below are the 5 most critical elements of digital inspections that make them a revolutionary approach in the modern manufacturing industry:
- Complex Inspections Handling: Digital inspections are designed to handle complex inspections effortlessly, including conditional logic and repetitive inspection tasks.
- Dynamic Data Modification: By dynamic data alteration, digital inspections eliminate the need to create multiple inspection product or equipment variants.
- Action Management: Digital inspection features an action management system that facilitates instant notification, operational reporting, and context sharing during execution.
- Advanced Inspection Planning: Preplan and schedule regular inspections in the automated digital environment.
- Inspection Reporting: Digital inspections allow for a mobilized workforce where inspection data is automatically captured, processed, recorded, and reported in an execution log.
The NonStop Suite is a phenomenal digital inspection solution incorporated with all the above elements. Integrate this modern system into your maintenance and inspection strategy to unlock compounded growth.
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Who Needs a Digital Inspection process?
Digital inspection is widely applied across various asset-intensive industrial sectors and organizations where compliance is critical. This modern strategy supports your organization in conducting regular inspections of the operations, assets, or facilities by enabling benefits like improved accuracy and efficient inspection reporting and communication.
Discussed below are three of the most common use cases of a digital inspection process:
1. Quality Inspections
QC (Quality Control), and QA (Quality Assurance), are paramount in determining the success of a product. Digital inspections make complex checks seamless while ensuring efficiency and compliance.
2. Field Services
Inspectors follow standardized procedures and how-to instructions to execute complex and diverse inspection tasks in the field successfully. Employing digital inspection technology assists the process and ensures the job is done right the first time.
3. Pharmaceutical and Life Sciences
The Life Sciences Industry is faced with strict compliance and control regulations. Investing in a digital inspection execution helps meet and exceed these compliance standards while delivering a positive return.
In addition to the industrial sectors mentioned above, construction, manufacturing, facility management, healthcare, retail, hospitality, technology, and transportation industries can also yield significant benefits by shifting to a digitalized inspection solution like The NonStop Suite.
Why Are Physical Inspection Forms a Thing of The Past?
In this epoch of digitalization, mobile device, and cloud-based software have obsoleted the physical inspection forms. To prove our point, we have enlisted five logical reasons why physical inspection forms and checklists are a thing of the past:
Disadvantages of Paper Inspections
1. Limited Functionality
Antiquated tools like paper or spreadsheet-based inspection forms have very restricted functionality. They use up additional resources, increase the carbon footprint, and don’t provide sufficient features to document the necessary information.
2. Inaccurate Data
Physical inspection forms run on manual data entry, which increases the risk of errors and errata, leading to an inaccurate inspection report. These fallacies add up to creating liability for the company. Furthermore, when the inspection data is documented on paper, it is typically re-keyed into the inspection results, leading to a decline in staff productivity.
3. Inefficient Process
Traditional inspection methods are generally repetitive, time-consuming, resource-intensive, and monotonous. This inefficiency causes a backlog in addressing maintenance issues, making it difficult to track progress and identify trends.
4. Lack of Standardization
Standardization is crucial for simplifying, streamlining, and optimizing maintenance inspections. Physical inspection forms are mostly inconsistent in format and content, making it difficult to compare and analyze data across facilities.
5. Inadequate Reporting
Real-time reporting capabilities are limited to paper-based inspections. They disable the facility inspectors and operators from instantaneously reporting inspection-related issues, resulting in a lack of prompt action management.
Integrate technology into your inspection processes with The NonStop Suite. This digital inspection solution replaces all paper-based inspection workflows with digital, automated, and interactive processes.
Why Consider Switching From Paper to Digital Inspections?
Digitalization is the key to connecting two disparate processes: inspection and maintenance. With digital inspections like The NonStop Suite, facility managers can plan, schedule and initiate inspection requests as soon as inspection-related issues arise. This efficiency facilitates your organization in running both a responsive and truly preventative maintenance process.
Enlisted below are some of the main reasons why your organization should consider switching to digital inspections with The NonStop Suite:
1. Real-time Reporting
With digital inspection, your facility can unlock automated data processing, on-the-spot updates, and team collaboration in a unified database. Unlike paper forms, this process is much faster and more efficient.
A digital inspection system collects, processes, and transmits the inspection findings in real time. Hence, the inspection issues reach the concerned authorities before they snowball into more big problems that call for unplanned downtime and potentially disrupt the operations.
2. Efficient Handling of Inspection Deficiencies
Digital inspection is more efficient than traditional physical forms that are prone to deficiencies and delays in resolution.
With a digital inspection solution, data can be quickly and easily transmitted between the maintenance department. Consequently, the facility inspectors are more likely to identify and prioritize the deficiencies based on the severity of the issue. This efficiency leads to improved safety and compliance and boosted revenue from the repair business.
3. Improved Data Accuracy
A company working with digital inspections subsides the potential risk of human error, double data entry, errata, and typographical mistakes associated with traditional forms.
Facility inspectors use the automated system to record, organize, analyze, and share data, findings, reports, requests, and recommendations. This coherence allows for data accessibility and mobility in the company, which further translates into better data management.
4. Easy Documentation & Liability Protection
Paper-based forms have limited capabilities to enable liability protection. A digital inspection, on the other hand, provides time-stamped inspection data that allows facility inspectors to demonstrate their work, the deficiencies they resolved, and their reporting to the head staff. This time-stamped data availability offers enhanced liability protection for the company.
Moreover, the inspection data can easily be stored and retrieved, ensuring that critical information is always accessible. Facility inspectors can unravel real-time monitoring and collaboration capabilities, enabling multiple parties to access the data and work together to resolve any issues.
Digital inspections are more cost-effective than traditional methods, as they eliminate the need for manual data entry and provide real-time data analysis. This results in reduced operational costs and improved ROI, so your business can save a lot of money.
6. Improved Compliance
Digital inspections help businesses stay compliant with regulatory requirements by providing a centralized platform for storing and managing inspection data. This makes it easier to keep track of inspection results and ensure that facilities are maintained to a high standard.
Key Components of a Digital Inspection System
Digital inspection systems offer numerous benefits that traditional methods cannot match, making them an essential tool for any business looking to streamline its operations. Let’s have a closer look at the key components of a digital inspection system and how they contribute to the success of businesses.
Mobile devices, such as smartphones and tablets, are at the forefront of digital inspection systems. They allow an inspecting technician to inspect everything on-site, collect real-time data, add notes, and generate a complete report instantly. This eliminates the need for manual data entry and ensures that inspection results are accurate and up-to-date. Mobile devices also support digital forms and checklists, which can be customized to meet the specific requirements of each business. Inspected reports can be easily accessed through a phone or any other device, which makes it easier to manage and review all the information.
Cloud-based software is the backbone of digital inspection systems. It provides a centralized platform for storing and managing inspection data and allows teams to collaborate and access inspection results in real time. This eliminates the need for manual data transfer and makes it easier to keep track of inspection results. Additionally, cloud-based software offers advanced reporting capabilities, allowing businesses to analyze and interpret their inspection data with ease.
Automated Reporting and Data Collection
Digital inspection systems automate the process of data collection and reporting, reducing the risk of manual errors and saving time. Automated reporting and data collection allow businesses to analyze their inspection data in real-time, making it easier to identify trends and make informed decisions. This is a significant improvement over traditional methods, where data analysis was time-consuming and prone to errors.
Inspection Forms and Checklists
Digital inspection systems use digitized versions of traditional inspection forms and checklists, making it easier for businesses to monitor and maintain their facilities. These forms can be customized to meet the specific requirements of each business, and the data collected is automatically entered into the system, eliminating the need for manual data entry. This makes it easier to track inspection results and generate customized reports.
Integration with Other Systems
Finally, digital inspection systems can be integrated with other systems, such as asset management and safety management systems, to streamline processes and improve overall efficiency. This integration allows businesses to make the most of their digital inspection systems and provides a comprehensive view of their operations.
To simplify the job for your maintenance facility, we have broken down the RCM plan into five steps:
Step 1: Prioritize Assets for RCM Analysis
First and foremost, your facility managers must prioritize an asset or equipment to perform the RCM analysis. Select an asset based on parameters like its criticality to operations, maintenance history, corrective repair, and preventive maintenance costs.
Pro Tip: Use The NonStop Suite’s smart NFC tagging features to access the maintenance history of all your equipment in a quick scan!
Step 2: Describe How The Chosen Asset’s System Works
Before any asset or equipment goes down to the downtime status for Reliability Centered Maintenance, it’s indispensable to address its associated system’s function. What is the functionality of the system that the equipment is attached to, and what are the system’s inputs and outputs? Lay the groundwork beforehand to prevent stopping critical operations for longer hours.
Step 3: Conduct a Failure Modes and Effects Analysis (FMEA)
FMEA is where facility managers identify all the possible ways a piece of equipment can fail. This is paramount to assess the impact of different failure modes on workers’ safety and production in a timely manner. Hence, the maintenance departments can take the necessary precautions before the failure occurs and cause a catastrophe.
Step 4: Decide on The Maintenance Strategy for Each Failure Mode
In this step, companies need to select an appropriate maintenance strategy for each failure mode. Condition-based maintenance (CBM), preventive maintenance (PM), or predictive maintenance (PdM) are the most commonly used maintenance strategies to support maintenance goals.
Step 5: Implement. Evaluate. Improve.
Based on the work done in the four steps above, now is the time to implement a meticulously devised reliability maintenance strategy. To make your company’s RCM plan a success, continuously monitor, track and review the performance of the equipment and systems. Make adjustments to the maintenance strategy as needed.
Pro Tip: The NonStop Suite streamlines asset maintenance by offering a suite of solutions, including on-the-go asset management, dynamic eForms, smart NFC tags, GxP & ISO compliance, and NC-CAPA capabilities. Hence, your organization can identify and track assets in real-time and achieve its maintenance goals successfully.
Conclusion: Take Your Inspection Process Into The Digital Era!
Digital inspection is the need of every asset-intensive organization that wants to benefit from the revolution of technology and keep up with the time. To help take your inspections into the future, The NonStop Group brings you The NonStop Suite!
The NonStop Suite is a comprehensive package of digital solutions to help your company advance its inspection processes. This asset-management and maintenance software is meticulously designed to assist your facility inspections in partially accomplishing the maintenance goals.
With features like Dynamic eForms, you can bid farewell to the traditional physical paper inspection forms and welcome automated inspection checklists in your inspection plans. The facility inspectors can easily store, access, share, and retrieve inspection data across the department.
The NonStop Suite further aids your inspection and maintenance strategy as a whole by enabling access to smart NFC tags and On-The-Go Asset Management. With all of these digital tools on your company’s side, real-time monitoring, diagnostics, and reporting capabilities are always at hand. Hence, your company is facilitated with faster and more accurate inspections, a clear audit trail, improved decision-making, cost savings, and a more streamlined inspection process.