The utility and power sectors energize our society, doing so by maintaining daily operations on and off the clock while adhering to rigorous regulations overseen by The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) and other government agencies. Companies in the electrical, gas, oil and hydro-power industries are required to follow established protocols for operations, machinery and other touch points to ensure health and safety of both workers and the general public. Dealing with these requirements exacerbates several key issues surrounding engineering documents, including:
Security and compliance
If not properly managed, hundreds up to tens of thousands of documents and drawings can be inadvertently deleted or shared with unauthorized users. A centralized engineering document management system helps eliminate this risk by prohibiting unauthorized users from viewing, editing, deleting or sharing data.
Inadequately protected data can also mean noncompliance of government regulations. The U.S. government has ratcheted up the security requirements for utility and power infrastructures as they are viewed only as essential assets, but targets susceptible for attack.
Mandates and regulations require utilities and power companies to maintain documentation throughout a project’s entire lifecycle. This is where the need for an audit trail comes in. An audit trail documents every action taken, as well as every user who has dealt with a document, file or drawing.
As younger generations rise to fill key roles, document management systems are helping to preserve industry knowledge and the technical expertise of the retiring generation.
A document management system:
- Memorializes legacy systems and procedures
- Helps train new hires
- Allows for role-based file access.
With the proper document management software in place, the generational shift within these industries can be a smoother transition.
In conjunction with the generational shift, new and less experienced workers want to be able to retrieve information. Because issues can arise at any time, access must be available for workers 24/7.
Mobile data management capability makes this possible by securely storing files and making them accessible with just a browser, allowing for downloads and viewing anywhere, at any time. This helps not only on a procedural level, but also ensures workers’ safety as they’re able to better verify procedures and information in real-time.
It’s one thing when customers lose service due to severe weather, but it’s another when the company’s central information is harmed or corrupted. Both are serious issues that require immediate action, but each requires a different strategy and plan.
When an electrical company prepares for disaster, they prepare for how to minimize the downtime before getting services up and running again. But there’s more to that when restoring information. Without access to a company’s files and documents, or loss of critical information due to disaster, the recovery process can be significantly delayed and may even result in physical harm.
Disaster preparedness isn’t only for people, it’s for companies as well. An engineering document management system provides protection, security and continuity at the document level so companies can continue providing the highest level of service while complying with regulations.
Utilities and power industries need software that meets their complex demands, provides commercial security and access control, and assists in keeping corporate knowledge. These components are all available in any robust engineering document and workflow management system.