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How to manage inspection data. Ways to customize inspection workflows.

This article is part of the Inspector's Digital Portal Newsletter. 

Table of contents

  1. Handling inspections data 

  2. Inspections software customization

  3. Tips and tricks for customizing your inspection model

  4. Ways to customize inspection workflows

Stay tuned

What will you learn from this article?

  1. The importance of effective inspection data management: This part highlights the critical role of inspection data in industries focused on quality control, safety checks, and regulatory compliance. 
  2. Efficient data management: Insights into Smartflow, SaaS Inspection Solution. 
  3. Inspection customization practical tips: This part stresses the significance of customization in inspection software. Every industry and company has unique needs when it comes to inspection data. Custom fields for data collection, custom workflows for data processing, and custom reports for data analysis can streamline data management and provide more personalized insights.

Part 1. Handling inspection data

On a daily basis, we work with organizations that rely heavily on quality control, safety regulations, and regulatory compliance to provide them with accurate inspection data. This data helps our customers improve processes and collaboration, ensure safety, and maintain quality operations. 

Learn how Delta Plus can automatically generate and share certificates with customers to keep them in the loop. To increase conversion, a service offering for yearly inspections is generated and shared automatically as well. Read the use case.

Think of data that could range from detailed machinery health checks to regulatory safety compliance audits, day-to-day inspections, operator rounds, core field inspections, HSE-related, truck flow, and more. 

Heavy industry professionals need inspection software that simplifies managing complex, high-volume data. Many of the daily challenges encountered start from collection and organization to analysis and reporting. 

Specialized inspection software should offer sorting, filtering, analyzing, and easy reporting features. 

Smartflow streamlines the inspection process. It allows organizations to define, execute, and analyze inspection data. The platform & app provides an intuitive and customizable framework that lets you create your own inspection model.

The Smartflow team aims for efficient data collection and management. The inspection solution is designed to organize data to be easily retrievable, navigable, and readable.

Use case 1. This process is demonstrated effectively in the truck inspections scenario. A customer faced a common scenario where every truck arriving at its terminal needed to undergo an inspection before starting the loading or discharging process. After assessing past inspection data, it was found that out of every 30 inspections, an average of 29 inspections had no major issues, and only one specific inspection point tended to be problematic 5% of the time. Based on the data, certain inspection points were favored as not all checks are performed every time.

After we addressed this situation, our consultants suggested a shift in focus toward this particular inspection point. We suggested the truck inspections were reorganized, prioritizing the problematic check. This approach allows inspectors to give extra attention to the inspection point that had historically been problematic without compromising the thoroughness of the overall inspection.

Our goal was to guide the inspectors to conduct more efficient and targeted inspections and increase their confidence in the safety and compliance of the truck loading and discharging operations. 

Part 2. Inspection Software customization

A one-size-fits-all approach rarely succeeds in the domain of data management when gathering inspection data. In our twelve years of experience, we learned that every industry and organization has unique needs and requirements when it comes to inspection data. 

Read the use case: Enabling inspectors at KLM Equipment services to perform high quality inspections-digitally

Customization in action

Smartflow provides flexibility to adapt the solution according to specific organizational needs and sector-based demands. 

Two illustrative scenarios emphasize the importance of customization.

Use case 2: One customer, due to limited time, wanted to focus on the most critical points of an inspection. The solution provided by Smartflow was to assign a priority (a, b, or c) to each check, thereby instructing the inspector to focus on the high-priority tasks.

Use case 3: In the second scenario, a customer needed to carry out daily checks as well as specific activity-based tasks for each shift to be executed, such as jetty checks, tank farm checks, etc. Next to the daily checks, they also had the responsibility of checking more activity-based operations like the stay of a vessel at the terminal and keeping certain logs. 

The response from Smartflow was to incorporate dynamic elements into the scope of each shift. This facilitated the execution of activities like maintaining a log that went beyond the standard daily checks, providing a dynamic and efficient solution to the customer's unique requirements. 

Part 3. Tips and Tricks for customizing your inspection model in Smartflow

Before we start the customization of any inspection workflow project, we look into these areas:

Priorities: Draft a clear understanding of the inspection process. Identify what tasks are of higher priority. 

Workflow: Understanding the uniqueness of the workflow to allow the mapping of custom fields and processes

Checks. Objects. Tasks: These are the main components of an inspection framework according to Smartflow’s model. Here’s how we define them:

Checks: The questions that we need to answer during an inspection. We look at them as parameters that help us assess the functioning, safety, and efficiency of the equipment or process that we are inspecting. 

Objects: The actual physical elements or processes that we are inspecting, like a large piece of equipment, a crane, for example, or the sub-object (individual components of the crane). We call this a hierarchic systematic inspection which ensures that every critical part is reviewed and assessed.

Tasks: These are an inspector’s direct assignments. What they need to do in the field. A task usually involves a checklist made up of multiple checks. A task can be part of a larger process. For example, if a client requests an inspection of their equipment during a shutdown procedure, this would create a specific task (or series of tasks) that the inspector needs to follow.

Ways to customize your inspection data collection in your Smartflow environment

Categorize checklist items: Group similar checklist items together based on factors such as risk level, frequency of inspection, or location. This can help make the checklist more organized and easier to follow.

Prioritize checklist items: Assign a priority level to each item on your checklist.  Check items with higher priority more frequently to make sure you do not overlook critical items. 

Include conditional items: Implement conditional logic in your checklists where needed. This could mean that certain checklist items only appear based on the responses to previous items. Based on the input given by the inspector, new fields will pop up in the checklist if more input is needed. It allows your checklist to adapt to different scenarios dynamically and in real-time. 

Integrate multimedia: Integrate photos or videos into your checklist to provide clearer instructions and evidence, improving the quality of the inspection.

Implement version control: Ensure that your solution supports version control, allowing you to track changes, maintain different versions of checklists, and roll back to previous versions if needed easily and with little effort from your side. 

Feedback: Allow for an option where inspectors can leave comments or suggestions about the checklist. This feedback can help you continuously improve your checklists, and it can help them wire back easily in case another site visit is needed. 

Automate report generation: After each inspection, use the data collected to automatically generate reports to provide insights into trends, potential risks, and areas for improvement. 

Understanding organizations’ varying needs

It is highly important to comprehend the priorities, digital transformation strategies, IT strategies, and essential technologies needed by organizations to establish the best inspection solution and the frameworks required. 

Smartflow has understood that every organization has its own distinctive needs, thus providing a high level of customization while maintaining globally accepted standards.

Read the article: Digitalizing frontline operations at the terminal - future global standards with local autonomy.

Final thoughts

Switching from paper-based to digital inspections eliminates missed steps or overlooked checks. This adds a valuable layer of transparency to operations. Gaining a single source of truth makes it easier to review, track, and improve procedures over time.

Moreover, digitalization aids in regulatory compliance. By digitalizing operational checks, ATEX inspections, and ship/shore documentation, you can accelerate the execution and compliance of inspections, permits, and work orders. Digital solutions maintain the highest security and quality standards, reducing operational risks and collecting real-time insights from the generated data.

Next steps

>>> Contact us for a free demo session

>>> Talk to a consultant about your specific needs 

>>> Visit the Smartflow Digital ISGOTT page if you are interested in digitizing the ship-shore process at your tank storage terminal 

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Tank storage operator holding a rugged tablet with the smartflow inspection app open on it