Inspection Data Management System (IDMS) Software has existed within in the Oil and Gas Industry for decades. Gone is the need to capture inspection results by hand and perform all of the necessary calculations like corrosion rates, inspection due dates, and remaining life by hand as well. With the advent of computers and technology, calculations can instantly be processed, and we can mine data, retrieve records, and report information with a finger snap.

As technology improves, you may find that your aging IDMS Software, which may have been implemented over twenty years ago, has become outdated and no longer serves the needs of your facility, requiring you to select and implement a new application to effectively manage your Mechanical Integrity (MI) programs. When this happens, it is important to know how to get the most out of your software implementation.

Core Components of a Good IDMS Software Implementation

 Managing asset inspection is an arduous task. Inspections produce huge amounts of data, which need to be analyzed, tracked, reported, and used for scheduling further inspection and maintenance activities.  A good IDMS Software implementation helps you improve the reliability and safety of your equipment by linking data to specific assets, tracking inspection history, and turning reams of complex data into accessible information. But how do you know if you have a good IDMS Software Program in place?

Here are some core components that are consistent with a good program:

  • The system has a component that schedules inspections
  • The system has a component that capture inspections as they occur
  • The system has a component that performs checks and balances to ascertain that business processes are functioning as intended

Though determining if your system has the capability to perform these core components can help you to identify whether or not you have a solid program in place,  it’s important to note that before you can make that determination, it is necessary to have a clear definition of your facility’s business processes.  Once those processes are developed and defined, and you understand the expectations, then you can determine if those expectations are being met.

The Role Document Management Plays in Your IDMS Software Program

 Not surprisingly, document management plays a vital role in maintaining the business processes that are vital to an effective IDMS Program. Because data is used to drive key business decisions, it is critical that the data under analysis is clear, correct, and accessible. The same holds true with inspections; your inspection program is based off the data that you have available, and a solid program cannot be built on a shaky foundation. Defining and documenting standardized data entry processes and other key aspects of information management is the foundation of an effective IDMS program.

Why Audit Your IDMS Software System

Developing proactive and strategic audit plans for your IDMS Software system ensures safety and avoids unplanned failures because it helps you to make sure that there is no breakdown in the processes or the automation component of your software. Regular audits will help you to closely monitor the internal processes and procedures that make up your IDMS Program and will help ensure that your software is doing what it is supposed to do. For example, if you know your software is supposed to schedule an inspection based off some criteria, running an audit against that on a monthly or biweekly basis will confirm that those events are occurring as scheduled.

No two facilities are the same and likewise, no two IDMS Software implementations are the same either.  At the end of the day, the best way to get the most out of your plant’s program is by defining business processes, developing strategic audit plans, and confirming that your IDMS software schedules and tracks inspections and is equipped with a checks and balances system. Granted, your IDMS software may just be one piece of your MI program, but it’s a critical piece; and after all, any program is only as good as the sum of its parts.

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