Does this sound familiar?
You walk into your building, ready to make sure it is operating to perfection (as you do everyday). You grab a blank rounds sheet, or print one out, and attach it to your clipboard. You grab your coffee and head down to the basement to do the meter readings and inspect the boilers.
You record the PSI and think it seems high, but you’re not 100% sure, so you make a note to yourself to check it later. You check the oil level on the compressor, and your gut tells you it’s lower than it should be, but how how can you prove it?
You take a sip of your coffee and realize there was a slight leak and your sheets have huge coffee stain on it. Luckily, your notes are still readable, but still…it’s frustrating.
You finish the day and get back to your desk. You look at your sheet and realize you wrote a note about something, but darn it your writing looks like chicken scratch and you have no idea what it said. Oh well, you put the paper in a binder and stack it on top of the other binders from the year.
You may not see it, but there are many points of inefficiency within that process. If any of this sounds familiar, you may be behind the times, and that can be a BIG problem.
The Problem With Paper
“Paper logs are easy, no need to change” “Why would we replace something that has worked for years?” “I’ve worked with other computer systems before, it’s always easier to just write everything on paper”
We get it, shifting from the simplistic process of grabbing a standardized sheet and taking notes is concerning.
But take a look at this standard log sheet (we say standard but without coffee stains and ink smudges, is it really?):
With paper, you cannot answer valuable questions such as:
- Are the values within the expected range?
- Critical because you could be losing efficiency and costing the building money, ruining the equipment, or worst-case, potentially putting tenants in danger
- What was the reading this time last year?
- Are things getting worse, better? How do you know?
- Did that issue from last month ever get fixed?
- Or more annoyingly, is that issue that you record every day getting noticed by anyone?
On top of that, paper log sheets are almost instantly forgotten after they get filled up. They’re stuffed into thick binders which pile up somewhere never to be seen again.
“But my team takes these sheets and enters the information into a spreadsheet every week.”
That is a step in the right direction, but how much time is your team spending doing that? Probably a couple hours a week. If multiplied out over a year, that turns into a range of 13-26 working days of effort. Wouldn’t you like to have your guys doing something a little more productive for those days?
“Well my team manipulates our work order system to get rounds done.”
It’s good that you are trying to adapt to the digital age, but we have yet to find a person that says work order systems are as easy as doing rounds on paper. Heck, because of how complicated those work order systems can be, many teams have ignored them and continue to do things on paper. They end up spreading information between binders and empty work orders.
The Simple Digital Advantage
Could digital logbooks really provide that much benefit to an O&M team? Let’s break it down.
Every time you put the pen to paper, you are actually recording a data point. Those data points can become incredibly valuable to many different parties. For example, let’s say you are monitoring the heating oil tank level of a building. With pen and paper, you just note the level and move on. With a digital logbook, you note the level and it records that level and date for all time.
Here are a few things you can do with that information:
- Graph it to see if there are any significant spikes or drops which could indicate a serious mechanical problem.
- Easily find and compare records over time, which could help you determine if your mechanicals are deteriorating in efficiency.
- Communicate work might have been done or needs to get done to the rest of the team and management (How many times do you need to point out that leak before it gets fixed?).
If a digital logbook is developed in a way where you can enter information as easily as you would on paper, the inspection rounds you and your team are already doing can become much more valuable. A digital logbook empowers the boots on the ground to work smarter, elevating their role in running facilities.
The future of building engineering is here.
If you’re interested in trying out a mobile application for your daily inspection rounds, we’d like to offer you a free trial of LogCheck. Simply click the button below to request your own customizable logbook.