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6 Key Mobile Adoption Drivers for the Chem Processing Industry

Mon, 05/05/2008 - 6:30am
FOCUS ON SOFTWARE
Leading-edge organizations that have adopted mobile technology as a best practice are realizing a new level of efficiency, which is reflected in their operations and on their bottom line. Joe Granda, the executive vice president of marketing at Syclo, a leading developer of mobile computing solutions, outlines the six main benefits of mobile technology in the following report. Founded in 1995, Syclo delivers mobile software technology that enables companies to experience significant gains in productivity and overall operational efficiency.

1. Increased "wrench time" on critical assets by mobile workers freed from paper-based processes.

With mobile technology, workers no longer have the end-of-shift data-entry requirement that is the norm with paper-based systems, and they can devote more time to asset maintenance. As a result, they are able to identify assets that are malfunctioning in the field and make repairs before significant damage occurs. This preventative approach helps organizations keep production moving and allows skilled technicians to concentrate on other operations. Mobile facilitates an increase in preventative, instead of reactive, asset maintenance. When an organization is able to do more preventative work, the reactive work declines because assets are performing as expected, equipment failures are minimized, and downtime is reduced.

2. Significantly improved communications that enable workers to send and receive information inside or outside of wireless coverage.

With such connectivity, workers can execute their responsibilities more intelligently because the information they need is available to them, regardless of their location, on handheld devices used on the job at the point of performance. Mobile lets field workers view detailed job tickets via their handheld devices and address asset maintenance issues immediately. Furthermore, workers can create job tickets in the field to tackle repairs instantly that require immediate attention instead of waiting to be notified by managers and inspectors. Such instant reporting is crucial to safety and quality assurance efforts during plant or refinery shutdowns, turnarounds, and outages.

3. The ability to lower costs by keeping assets at peak performance levels.

The preventative maintenance schedule that mobile makes possible reduces equipment failures that create downtime. Mobile, and the superior communications it allows, makes workers more effective because they use information at the point of performance to increase first-time fix rates. The historical asset data available with the auditable electronic record that mobile produces enables companies to carry the required spare parts in inventory. With access to a well stocked inventory, crews can make more immediate equipment repairs to keep production moving. Expediently handling disruptions to production reduces costly delays, which lowers costs and positively impacts the bottom line.

4. E-documentation for reporting and compliance drastically reduces regulatory fine exposure.

Mobile technology creates an instant electronic and auditable information trail for the compilation of mandated regulatory reports. Mobile workers equipped with handheld computers immediately record times, dates, and repairs made as well as equipment readings and other data and send this information to an enterprise management system for review by management. With such a tamper-proof electronic record, companies have complete reports that they can quickly provide for audits by federal, state, and local regulatory agencies. Some of the most common compliance violations that companies are cited for involve inaccurate records. New innovative mobile applications help companies better manage all compliance tasks including the two levels of task sign-offs often required by management. The data assigned and captured by technicians is sent to applications such as project management software, the time/attendance system, and the enterprise asset management application.

5. Keep critical plants and refineries in production at a reduced cost.

Simply put, mobile technology enables companies to better manage their equipment, resources, and workers. No longer tethered to the central office by a paper chain, mobilized workers are free to execute their responsibilities in the field, which keeps production going. This higher efficiency level enables skilled technicians to complete more work and to work smarter because the required data is in their hands at the job site. Moreover, it increases asset life, which means assets can be kept running at peak performance levels for longer periods and operating expenses are reduced.

6. Enhanced capability to execute on mission-critical strategy elements.

Mobile technology enables companies to remain competitive by keeping production rolling and by ensuring that important assets stay in peak operating condition. Mobile optimizes and streamlines company's functions by processing key data in real time. The supply chain operation at the typical chemical company, for example, involves receiving items such as regulated chemicals, warehousing those materials, and using them in production. With a paper-based system, a written record is collected at each step of the process. With mobile, however, managers can track goods received at their facilities with more accuracy and immediacy, without having to chase a paper trail to locate shipments. Mobile technology also improves tracking of the lifecycle of materials, from ordering through to receipt and shipment, resulting in more effective consignment stock and trunk inventory management, better compliance reporting, and enhanced safety. Mobile enables more timely and accurate communications about operations.

What mobile does for asset management and supply chain functions it can also do for plant and refinery shutdowns, turnarounds and outages (STOs). By mobilizing STOs, companies can monitor and electronically sign off on tasks in real time as they're completed. This streamlining enables managers to manage turnarounds successfully with clear visibility into labor bottlenecks, activity details, and the status of jobs. Mobile lets managers view critical reports and send and receive information from anywhere at anytime. With mobile, companies raise safety levels and return their plants or refineries to production as quickly as possible for significant cost savings.

Companies also exponentially benefit when they support multiple mobile applications through a single, adaptable mobile platform. A mobile platform that integrates with multiple enterprise systems offers unparalleled flexibility and can support mobile applications such as work order management, inventory control, and compliance reporting. Such a platform can also be seamlessly upgraded to serve an organization's changing needs. An adaptable mobile platform lowers the total cost of ownership by 30 to 50 percent.

The efficiencies mobile brings to a company help it realize its desired performance objectives. Mobile enables a company to control disparate processes while maintaining safety and quality assurance standards to produce clear and verifiable positive results.
Additional information is available by contacting Syclo LLC, Hoffman Estates, IL, at 800-567-9256 or 847-230-3800 or by visiting www.syclo.com.ITH CIsyclo_report?ITH CIsyclo2?'An adaptable mobile platform lowers the total cost of ownership by 30 to 50 percent'
Case in Point: Chemical Production

A major international chemical producer whose products are used in industrial, commercial, and agricultural markets around the world tapped mobile technology to realize greater efficiencies inside and outside of the organization.

Internally, mobile allows the company to manage its inventory with an optimized and streamlined process including inventory counts, verifying the reception of items from production, and order picking inventory for shipment. The company also uses mobile and its work management functionality to monitor production and the performance of key assets in order to keep production moving.

Externally, the company relies on mobile to track and trace its heavily regulated products such as its commercial explosives. It also depends on such mobile functionality as digital signature capture, auditing ability, GIS/GPS integration, route planning, and mapping integration for safe and secure product delivery to its worldwide customers. The company also leverages mobile's features to maintain seamless communications in or out of wireless coverage with no loss of data.

Other benefits the company realizes from mobile include streamlined production along with auditable compliance reporting. Mobile also enables the company to expediently distribute its products around the world. Of course, mobile helps the company maintain production and cut costs as well.

Mobile lets the company track the production, storage, distribution, and use of its heavily regulated and potentially hazardous products, such as explosives, throughout the product lifecycle from the cradle to the grave. Such information helps this chemical producer remain competitive in the international markets in which it is active.
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