The lack of an unambiguous method or standardisation, often only comes to light when there is a problem, meaning it is actually already too late. Standardisation isn’t difficult, it just requires a company to establish guidelines, make agreements and have clear communication.
Below we take a closer look at the consequences due to a lack of standardisation in the workplace and suggest solutions that can help you take the first step towards a standardised way of working.
Stumbling blocks in the workplace
Within a company, individual departments often work using different programs. This means that all the information entered into one program, must then be manually transferred or configured into another at each subsequent step. Due to this manual way of working, errors often creep in unnoticed. If you work with external parties, this lack of standardisation is also a stumbling block as you never know how you will receive the schematic documentation and it therefore may cost you extra time to process the information.
In addition to individual departments, individual engineers tend to work in their own way, which can lead to information being passed onto other departments in an inefficient and/or illogical manner.
With everyone working in different programs, tracking changes also becomes difficult. As a result, documentation is not always up-to-date and if a machine does malfunction, it can take a long time to source the correct and current information.
Due to this inefficient way of working together, engineers spend a relatively large amount of time extinguishing fires and manually transferring information instead of the work they were hired for. We have known cases of customers who have spent nearly five hours looking for the latest version of the documentation. Five hours in which the machine is idle and the frustration increases.
Optimise the way you work
Fortunately, the problems mentioned above can be solved by:
- 1. Standardising the way you work.
- 2. Switch to an integrated way of working, where all departments work on the same platform.
By standardising your working method and making agreements about structures, the co-operation between the various departments improves considerably. Mutual communication will be more efficient, and data can be efficiently divided. By putting clear rules in place problems are prevented and traffic runs as efficiently and smoothly as possible.
The co-operation with external parties will run more smoothly thanks to standardisation, as you can now tell them exactly what you expect. Standardising and structuring your working method will take time and money at the outset, but you will soon find that it is well worth the investment.
Many companies are now delaying standardisation because they fear losing flexibility. However, practice shows that the possible loss of flexibility does not outweigh the benefits of standardisation. For example, we once encountered a customer who worked with four to five different standards. When one of the many conveyor belts in the factory was down, it took a lot of time to retrieve the correct information and to get production back on track. The result? Loss of time and unnecessary costs that could easily be avoided by making clear agreements about the structure of the documentation.
The importance of standardisation only becomes visible at many companies when there is a problem. And then by that time it is actually too late. Do you have the vision to invest in standardisation before the problems pile up?
When you choose a platform such as EPLAN on which different disciplines (electrical, process, pneumatic etc) are integrated in one environment, you will soon notice that collaboration runs more smoothly. Information can be easily shared and when a change is made within one of the disciplines, this can easily be kept up to date for all disciplines.
An additional advantage of working in the integrated environment of EPLAN is that your projects are stored in the cloud environment, EPLAN ePULSE. This gives you access to a project anytime, anywhere and collaboration becomes even easier.
Thanks to EPLAN eVIEW, a free application within EPLAN ePULSE, it is possible to provide your machines with a QR code that is linked to the documentation in the cloud. When a machine is broken, you scan the code with your smartphone and you will immediately receive the correct information.
Take advantage of the benefits of your new way of working
Switching to a standardised way of working in combination with an integrated and multidisciplinary platform offers various advantages that will reap the benefits in the long term:
- There is more efficient work with fewer mistakes, providing cost savings.
- The turnaround time for projects will be shorter.
- Miscommunication or misunderstandings will no longer cause delays or frustration and co-operation will improve.
- Add value to your projects.
- The downtime of equipment is reduced because documentation up-to-date and easily accessible.