Computerized Inspection Management Systems
By Stephen J. Gliebe
A computerized inspection management system may be what you need to
help improve fixed equipment reliability and help comply with standards
such as the Pressure Vessel Inspection Code (API 510) and local
regulations. Before selecting a system, consider the following:
- Objectives. Why change the current system?
- Cost reduction
- Reliability improvement
- Improved recordkeeping
- Ownership. Who will own and manage the process?
- Company employee or contractor
- Maintenance, inspection, operations, safety
- Business processes. What will change?
- Create a cross functional team
- Develop new work flows
- Identify ownership for each part of the process
- Define how / if information such as inspection recommendations
and future work scope will be transferred to the responsible
parties (e.g., maintenance, operations)
- Determine training requirements
- Update company procedures
- Data requirements
- Is the right amount of data being collected?
- Who will enter the data?
- Who will analyze the data? What skill sets are needed? Do the
skill sets exist in the organization?
- Where will the data be stored? (e.g., inspection management
system, maintenance management system)
- Are resources available to support the data collection
- Data integrity
- Who can view, enter, change, and delete data?
- How often is data backed up?
- Establish metrics to measure the performance of the program.
- Software and hardware. Can an existing system be used to meet the
objectives? If not, consider software alternatives. Ask the following
- Does the proposed software match the business process? If not,
either the software or the business process will need to change.
- How does the software interface with the existing maintenance
management system (e.g. SAP / Maximo)
- Is the software easy to use?
- What is the cost?
- Data conversion – IT and plant costs associated with
converting data from existing systems to import into the new
- Development and configuration – costs to match the
software to the current business process. Anticipate ongoing
costs to update software as the business needs change.
- Interfaces – does the software need to interface with the
existing maintenance management, RBI, or UT management
- Annual maintenance fees – technical support and
development of new releases.
- Resources – design, implementation, start-up, and ongoing
- Cross functional in-house team to support the development
and rollout of the new software, troubleshoot product issues,
and test and rollout upgrades.
- External resources to develop the reports needed to manage
- Data administration and IT support after the system is
turned over to the facility.
- Training – vendor or in house personnel.
- Software costs may vary depending on the number of users.
Determine who needs to have access to the system and how many
software licenses are included in the cost.
- Are the existing servers adequate for the new software?
Will new servers be required?
- Will desktop upgrades be needed to access the software?
Complete and accessible inspection data is an essential part of an
effective inspection program. An effective inspection program provides the
foundation for a World-Class Reliability and Maintenance Program.