An overview of Work Clearance Management (WCM)
Providing safety for the maintenance staff is critical and mandatory in industries like Utilities, Chemicals, Manufacturing, Oil and Gas, etc. SAP Work Clearance Management (WCM) solution delivers the tools required to ensure the safety of maintenance engineers operating in hazardous environments.
This scenario explains this further:
Scheduled maintenance needs to be carried out for one of the circuit breakers of a switchgear assembly. To perform the maintenance activity, the maintenance department creates a Work Order based on a Maintenance Plan. In addition, since the work is in an active substation, the maintenance team requires a work permit – a mandatory document that needs to be issued before work commences. Finally, the switchgear must be electrically isolated – as part of the safety controls and procedures.
Work Clearance Management plays a significant role in the planning and closure stage, providing the tools needed for the safe execution of this work.
Many SAP customers have successfully mobile-enabled the maintenance execution part of the process using SAP Work Manager, SAP Asset Manager and myJobCard. However, only a few companies have implemented the SAP WCM module to enable permit management; even fewer have mobile-enabled their WCM process through a mobile solution.
The solution in the field
There are three primary stages of relevant activities in the field:
Stage 1 – Switching process where the Safety Engineer ensures the asset is Isolated and Tagged.
Stage 2 – Asset Maintenance/Repair, where the field engineer carries out the asset maintenance/repair whilst capturing relevant asset details and providing regular status updates to the Planner.
Stage 3 – Safety Engineer ensures that the asset is Un-Tagged and Restored.
SAP Asset Manager and myJobCard are two popular solutions for carrying out Asset Management/Repair in the field and capturing relevant details by Field Engineers. Click here to request a case study on how myJobCard – the highest-rated mobile work and asset management mobile application which integrates with SAP ECC and S/4 HANA on the SAP store – can help you achieve this.
Traditionally, Safety Engineers use paper or custom-built applications for carrying out Stages 1 and 3. However, at On Device Solutions, we have built accelerators that help extend the standard application for Work Execution to Safety Engineers as well. This allows our customers to bridge this gap, ensuring consistency among all field users.
Why extend Work Clearance Management (WCM) to mobile?
The switching process – to isolate an asset before a maintenance engineer proceeds to access it – can be very time-consuming. Isolated assets are often tagged to provide confirmation. Extending the logout/tagout functions of Work Clearance Management to mobile offers the following benefits:
- The information regarding the switching need not be printed in an operational list. Instead, it can be synchronised to the field technician’s mobile device.
- The field technician can carry out the switching and confirm it on their mobile device. This is then synchronised with the SAP backend.
- The field technician can also capture tagged assets’ images from the field. These can be viewed in the backend by the work planner.
- The work planner receives the information that all switching has been completed and releases the Work Order for Maintenance Engineer to access the assets.
- Untagging Confirmation is sent electronically, leading to improvement in Work Closure.
- Work Planner can use industry-standard tools to track the progress in the field.
- Field technicians benefit from automatic timesheet creation as well.
- The tagging confirmation is provided in the field after the switching process is complete. This reduces the chances of errors due to the manual handling of the operation lists.
- Electronically transmitted information ensures that switching is done for the same asset that the maintenance engineer is meant to work on.
Mobile application development technologies and techniques for SAP are constantly evolving, and On Device Solutions has spent the past decade on this ongoing journey, helping its customers succeed.
As a specialist SAP partner for mobile solutions, we have helped many enterprises deliver benefits in time and safety, as demonstrated in this article. So please click here to get in touch and find out how we can assist your enterprise too.