Today’s world is filled with life-changing technology, which employers are relying on to make the workplace safer.

Organizations that adopt this new technology in their factories can audit their procedures and processes more effectively and improve and ensure the safety of employees, contractors and customers.

Adopting these new technologies also ensures manufacturing facilities are more prepared to swiftly adapt to new compliance regulations as well as respond to challenging global events such as COVID-19.

Engineering document management (EDM) systems such as Accruent’s Meridian are part of this growing digital movement and can help your organization implement new guidelines for safety and adapt to the sudden need to support remote work, all while keeping your engineering processes moving forward.

EDM systems can:

  • Help manage your engineering drawings and documentation.
  • Streamline processes like handover management and the change process.
  • Ease the release to maintenance and information exchange with contractors.

How handover management enables remote work.

Typical owner-operators hire Engineering Procurement and Construction (EPC) partners to help design new or updated facilities. After the design has concluded, they then hand over the relevant engineering information to the internal organizations’ engineering team. Sometimes, hundreds or even thousands of paper or digital engineering documents are included in this handover.

Management of this handover process is critical to ensuring your organization has the correct documentation after undergoing complex projects, whether those handovers are through internal systems or external EPCs and Engineering Procurement, Construction and Maintenance (EPCM) teams.

Traditionally, the handover management process involves the physical exchange of documents in binders or multiple CDs. Once handed over, all these documents must then be verified and stored or imported into an engineering system.

Digital handover management.

However, the handover process can now be done digitally, which eliminates the need for person-to-person contact and eliminates the exchange of physical engineering drawings and documents. This ensures that your manufacturing facility can continue critical operations even while working remotely.

Digital handover management also includes the verification of those documents that are being exchanged.

Meridian can digitally audit these documents in three steps:

  1. First, Meridian scans the CAD files being exchanged and looks for any dependent files defined by the drawing. If all pieces necessary are not within the document, Meridian will give the user the option to block the digital upload of the file, therefore letting the EPC know that the file is not approved. These are called external references, or XREFs, and in the end, the EPC is responsible for fixing the file.
  2. Second, Meridian looks at the metadata associated with a document. The Meridian API portal allows the end-user organization to define the required metadata for a given document and if those parameters are met before transmitting the file. This means when an EPC is trying to upload a file to your organization, they must populate the data for the type of document it is and where it belongs in your plant.
  3. Third, once a document passes the above checks, it can be sent into the Project Document Controller and they can now decide what to do with that file. The Project Document Controller can either send the document for review thorough Portal or send it into Meridian to move towards handover at project completion.

Once these documents are in Meridian from Portal, based on sign-off, it is as easy as selecting “release to master” for that document to become a master revision and available to the maintenance and operations teams.

Engineering Document Systems such as Meridian allow the handover to be done remotely, keeping your team safe during these unprecedented times.

Handover management from engineering to maintenance.

COVID-19 is challenging the notion that physically being on-site is the most effective way to ensure the uptime of your manufacturing facility. The transition to remote work and abiding by social distancing standards is helping ensure the health and safety of your employees and organizations using systems like Meridian are not seeing significant downtime as a result of the shift.

As more and more manufacturing plants implement digital solutions, your teams can eliminate the hand-to-hand transfer of physical documents between groups and ensure that even when working remotely, there will not be a delay in operations.

By going digital and creating a single source of truth for engineering documents and drawings, the maintenance team is still able to get the most up-to-date drawing without the delay of needing a face-to-face handover or to retrieve the physical documents from someone in the office. Digital handover also eliminates unnecessary site visits while still allowing critical operations to happen.

Maintenance can also be automatically notified when new and updated documents become available. The ability to digitally retrieve the latest engineering documents without the delay of handover or retrieval of physical documents speeds up and streamlines these processes, while better protecting your workers during challenging times such as COVID-19.

Maintenance feedback to engineering.

Traditionally, maintenance feedback has been done on paper, with a physical handoff to engineering or the document control team. Allowing this review process to happen digitally with an EDM system enables users to safely complete the review remotely.

Typically, three things will happen once maintenance submits feedback to engineering using a digital solution:

  1. Maintenance will provide recommendations to the engineering team for changes or updates.
  2. If there is an observed discrepancy between the documentation compared to in the field, the maintenance team will be able to mark up the document. For example, if an engineering drawing has a pipe routed a certain way, but it is different in the field, the maintenance team can note the difference and alert the engineering team in the documentation. This allows the engineering team to be able to adapt the documents accordingly.
  3. Sometimes changes in the field are needed. Emergencies or issues requiring temporary fixes can happen, and this will allow the engineering team to be aware of changes that the maintenance team might have to do to keep equipment operational. Being able to redline and mark up documents in real-time allows the engineering and document control teams to update their drawings and documents in real-time to prevent issues.

Maximizing safety compliance with remote access.

Society’s sudden need for a fully remote work environment challenges the manufacturing facilities to ensure the safety of their employees. By streamlining the handover management process and creating digital processes by implementing an EDM with a cloud-based solution like Meridian, you will ensure uptime of your manufacturing facility, improve your processes, safeguard the integrity of your documents and maximize your safety compliance.

Schedule a demo today to learn more about how Meridian can help your organization implement a digital hand over process.