Why do I need an Action Tracker?

Why do I need an action Tracker..?

Well, if you have a remarkable memory or you're not keeping track of anything very complex you might not need anything other than post-it notes! However the kind of actions I am thinking about here are the really important ones. For example imagine that you run an Information Security team inside a large financial institution. You just had a security audit and a critical non-conformance urgently needs to be addressed by Fred before next Tuesday. So now you have 3 reasons to apply a bit more thought into how you're going to keep track of this action. You have something very important that needs to be done by a specific date, and you need to give this task to Fred to do.

After Fred gets the task he is likely to need more information, and when he completes the task you will probably want to check his work - in fact your boss may also want to do so. Your security auditors are also keen to see progress as Fred works towards completion of the task. There's another 2 things - we've got to manage the exchange of information with the person completing the action and we have stakeholders who need to see progress.

Of course when planning the work you will also want to see how many other tasks are outstanding so you can prioritise Fred's time. It's all getting a bit complex for post-it's isn't it ? (and if you're thinking about using Excel there's a post about that too !.. spoiler alert, we don't recommend it )

If you can identify with this scenario and would like to see how a cloud-based action tracker could really help your business then we'd be delighted to show you our Project Action Tracker - part of our Pisys 360 integrated HSEQ suite

North Star Shipping use ATMS for Incident Management

Picture of ships off the coast of Aberdeen

Case study: This UK shipping company created their own system for accident and incident management using Pisys360 Action Tracking.

The company, which owns and operates the largest wholly UK-owned fleet engaged in the UK’s offshore industry in the North Sea, faces regular inspections and audits by external regulatory bodies. The company had to be able to show regulatory compliance at all times, included being able to prove that all incidents and accidents were properly investigated and followed up.

The company’s ongoing ability to operate its fleet depends critically on the company’s tracking and recording of incidents and accidents.

In addition to regulatory compliances, the company faces regular audits of various types – such as class inspections and client audits – and by a range of organisations including MCA (Maritime & Coastguard Agency) and LRQA (Lloyds Register Quality Assurance).

The existing incident management system multiple linked spreadsheets to allow the recording, sharing and reporting of incident data across the company’s operations and vessel fleet.

Effective up to a point, the system met the need to maintain tracking logs for all its vessels, and enabled incident related actions to be determined.  There was, however, no mechanism for tracking progress and closing-out of actions.  For the company this is a vital function whose absence, in the words of Paul Craig, the company’s Safety Manager, “…left us with an open loop”.

He continues: “We had three basic needs that were not being met adequately: traceability, accountability and visibility.  Because we didn’t have those with the old system, the task of continuously showing compliance with all the relevant regulatory and audit requirements was much more arduous than it need have been”.

A fresh system was required… …but, crucially, a fresh system that fitted with how the company operated, and NOT vice versa.  The company’s Business Systems Analyst Graeme Phillips explains: “We’d taken the previous system to its limits, and we couldn’t take it any further.  But it was important that the new system blended in with what the staff were used to – right down to making the screens look like they did before”.

Challenges

The existing system had reached its limits. There was:

  • no mechanism for tracking progress and closing-out of actions resulting from accidents and incidents.
  • only limited traceability, accountability and visibility within the system.

Pisys worked with the Graeme Phillips and QHSE Team to develop a full Incident & Accident Management System, using the simple configuration functionality of the Action Tracker.

Solution - Pisys Action Tracking system

Pisys set about configuring their Action Tracking system to handle the required data. The outcome was a full incident & accident management system meeting all requirements.

Pete Henderson, Pisys Director, comments: “Most incident reviews and most audits result in actions, and so a system with action tracking at its core provides a natural solution to incident tracking and management. The advantage with our system is that it built around the idea of a high governance workflow, so you already have a strong sign off and audit mechanism built in - the incidents details are entered on the easily customised forms within the system"

Do our customers feel that their Pisys system bears this out? The company’s safety manager responds: “There’s not a thing I’ve asked for that the Pisys teams haven’t managed to deliver.  They’ve made the system do everything we needed – such as tracking actions that must be carried out right across our vessel fleet. They’ve also made it look and feel like what we’ve used in the past. That’s been excellent, because a system like this is only going to be fully effective if people are comfortable using it”.

Graeme agrees: “Pisys’s turnaround  was excellent.  Having used many IT companies through the years to develop and deliver software, I’ve had the full range of experiences – from easy to difficult. I’d give Pisys 10 out of 10”.

 

Delivering in spite of challenges

For Pisys, the project was not without its challenges. “We threw some tough requirements at them”, comments Graeme, “A good example is how they got to grips with the incident severity matrix system that we’ve honed and developed through the years. Superficially it looks simple, based on a green/yellow/red ‘traffic light’ system, with the outcome determining what type of follow-on investigation should be carried out. But the outer simplicity masks the very clever way that Pisys built our severity matrix system into their reporting facilities”.

It is well known that, following delivery and installation, every IT system will have glitches and gremlins that must be ironed out. In this respect also, Management is pleased with Pisys’s performance: “Technically, any issues they’ve dealt with where help tickets were raised – we’ve always had a reply within an hour”.

Benefits

Asked how the company has benefited from its new incident management system, John Blaikie the company’s Quality Manager replies: “Because the front end mirrors our old information forms, we’ve been able to get up and running quickly.  And that’s been tremendous.  It also means that we can run reports simply when we need new things – such as: ‘How many hours had the guys in the team been working before this incident arose’.”

Paul Craig adds his own illustration: “Two months ago we had a safety investigation after a near miss. To avoid recurrences, we set up a system of alerts in the Pisys system. Just this morning the action came up and I sent out an alert on this topic to all ships. In the old system the incident would have been deemed closed.

But with the Pisys system we can set up measures that will directly help reduce accidents and incidents in the future – potentially saving lives”.

“The bottom line is that Pisys have been consistently brilliant. And the system we’ve taken from them is very effective and simple to use”.

He adds as his final words: “…and to say that this is an extremely important system for our company is an understatement, as it encompasses all of our QHSE records.  It works, and we trust it to work”.

Engineering Change Requests with ATMS

High complexity results in large number of Engineering Change Requests

Petrochemical Plant - image used for Pisys Case Study on  engineering change management by Oilfiled Operator

This joint-venture oilfield operator streamlined their engineering change requests management, defined project deliverables and fostered collaboration between English and Russian speakers - all by using Pisys 360 Action Tracker (ATMS)

The company’s project engineers are regularly asked to carry out significant and often safety-critical engineering changes to the company’s facilities. These include an oil& gas separation plant. The complexity of the plant involved generates many Engineering Change requests

Initially, project teams attempted to manage all change requests using spreadsheets, but found that the complexity of the tasks required a more structured approach.

Pisys ATMS allowed the company to build a robust system to support their processes.

The system that helps move engineering change requests through all stages of the planning process. 'Job packs' contain detailed instructions of how the engineering work must be carried out.

The system supports dual-language entry with Cyrillic and English characters. This helps engineers from Russian and English speaking backgrounds work together effectively.

The Action Tracker allowed the company to create a system to:
• move change requests through a workflow, and ensure approvals at various stages
• produce job packs with detailed instructions on how to perform the job
• structure and plan entire projects
• create actions and track them to closeout to give complete auditability.

Result

• A structured Change Management Process, including multi-stage approvals at defined points in the project.
• Defined project deliverables: engineers create detailed job packs containing instructions and other information necessary to perform the change. These packs are created as part of the change management process and are sent out to relevant people.
• Better collaboration across teams, joint venture companies and across the English/Russian language barrier.
• Improved safety: H & S professionals give their input at key stages of the project, and this becomes an integral part of change management and project planning.
• Efficiency: change requests move through the workflow at the optimum level, as key people are notified when an action is required of them.
• Better governance of change requests
• Improved tracking, integrity, auditability and peace of mind. The most up-to-date and relevant information is available to all key personnel in one location, accessible from anywhere.

Corporate Action Tracker & Lessons Learned, E.ON / Premier Oil

Premier Oil is constantly involved in complex Oil and Gas projects in the North Sea and beyond with each of these projects generating large numbers of actions and Lessons Learned that need proactive management and it is critical that every action is closed out in a timely manner with an audit trail/status of progress available at any time.

BACKGROUND

Projects generated valuable learnings that were universal and could help other teams solve their own challenges more quickly

Projects also generated large numbers of actions that that required proactive management and closure with an audit trail/status of progress.

ATMS was adopted by EON E & P and transferred to Premier Oil during the acquisition period - which meant that valuable lessons were retained even after the acquisition.

 

CHALLENGES

Projects often consisted of team members in multiple organisations, departments and locations, and E.ON E&P had relied on its core staff implementing and controlling their own lessons learned and action management procedures.

There was no unified management of critical project actions, and no way of saving and sharing project learnings

A better way to manage, track and control actions was required, along with a way of storing and organising information by project.

SOLUTION

ATMS was introduced as company-wide Action Tracking Management System to streamline and rationalise the entire action management process, and a Lessons Learned Database was implemented by Pisys to collect and share lessons learned and best practices.

RESULTS

  • A better Continuous Improvement cycle, as Lessons Learned are captured and shared with key personnel, and follow-up actions are created easily for all projects.
  • Structured project planning and a defined workflow to closure
  • A ready-made audit trail
  • Better insight into operations, easier retrieval of data: Project Information is categorised and organised, e.g. by vendor, project, business area – which allows for detailed searches and easy creation of statistics