Take advantage of technical documentation on the move

Technical documentation

Even today, many technicians still carry several thousand pages of technical documentation with them when they go on site. This represents a certain number of kilograms to carry (if the technician wants to move this technical documentation). It is very likely that a large part of this technical documentation will remain piled up at the bottom of the service vehicle. This raises doubts about its consultation and use, but also directly about its usefulness in such a form.

In view of the increasing complexity of equipment, due to ever-greater technological progress, this technical documentation provides a better understanding of the operation, but above all the technical subtleties of the equipment on which technicians are likely to work. In addition, providing technicians with technical documentation allows them to work on a wider range of equipment and thus increase their versatility. It can also break the monotony of work, and save a company money by having its technicians work primarily by distance rather than by type of equipment. Today, new mobile solutions make it possible to face these challenges by intelligently digitising technical documentation, in order to facilitate access for mobile employees. This technical documentation can however be at the heart of the digital uses of companies.

In this article discover :

1- The renewal of technical documentation
2- Technical documentation, an essential technicality
3- A new development lever
4- Agility and responsiveness thanks to mobile applications

1- The renewal of technical documentation

To adapt and be sufficiently used, digital technical documentation must work on its accessibility. It is this permanent accessibility of mobile devices, laptops, tablets, smartphones etc. that opens up new possibilities for the provision of product information. These platforms aim to be accessible anywhere and at any time.

This digitisation offers a number of advantages, in particular the linking of operating instructions, spare parts catalogues, documentation from subcontractors, maintenance protocols, etc., and this brings decisive advantages for the company and its customers. The operating instructions can integrate different types of media and no longer just black and white text and diagrams, but also tutorial videos or animations to simplify or clarify information. It is also possible to control and log the reading of safety-related information (e.g. the correct consideration of safety instructions). Similarly, the individual repair instructions contained in the operating instructions can be linked directly to the spare parts catalogue. Instructions for so-called third-party parts are directly linked to the technical documentation of their suppliers.

The applications in terms of digital technical documentation are numerous and can profoundly change the way things are done in the field. The information provided on computer support can thus be used by the customer as well as by mobile technicians. The online platform can also be a mine of information for the various support services, see the project development service. Exploiting the multitude of available supports is a way to get off the beaten track and to spread a modern and innovative image of the company. It is thus the choice of an innovative and transversal communication at the service of the employees and the quality of the work accomplished.

2- Technical documentation, an essential technical skill

Let us first of all come back to the capital importance of technical documentation in industrial maintenance. It is indeed obvious that a good knowledge of the equipment necessarily requires a sufficiently exhaustive technical documentation, in order to take into account all the equipment requiring a follow-up, a maintenance policy, or simply the stock of spare parts. Documentation is one of the pillars of the maintenance function, which cannot be accomplished without it. Indeed, it is hard to imagine a technician repairing a television set without even having a diagram of it, unless he can find it manually, in which case it is a major waste of time, which is certainly detrimental to both the customer's business and the company's activity.

Maintenance, especially at an industrial level, requires a good flow of information at all levels. Technical documentation is required at every stage of the maintenance process: to prepare interventions in an efficient and safe manner, for the interventions themselves through operating procedures, for their traceability in the files and history of maintenance policies, and in the manufacturers' catalogues for stock management purposes. Much of this technical documentation could even be described as strategic, through the equipment nomenclature and an up-to-date inventory of the equipment fleet, the technical equipment files, generally called DTEs, the various equipment maintenance plans, and the history files.

The Plan, Do, Check, Act is also an important axis in industrial maintenance. In particular, the DTE is the first documentation from which most of the other technical files are created. It is thus intended to be as complete as possible. Part of this technical documentation is also part of national and European standards. The various CMMS processes make it possible to fully computerize this document.

The Equipment Maintenance Plan completes this DTE. It is rich in information and it is up to each company to build it. It should only include what is necessary for the maintenance technicians in their regular (and daily) activities. It is used to adapt the technical documentation to different potential risks, in order to limit the loss of time during interventions, and to manage the document space more efficiently. It is thus based on precise criticality studies, such a plan is completely useless for equipment that never breaks down.

Various types of documents are directly linked to it, such as operating procedures, work orders, movement orders, warehouse issue orders, production equipment workbooks, technical intervention sheets, equipment tracking sheets, list of consumable items, list of wear and tear items, list of spare parts, or list of non-consumable items.

Such a variety of documents shows that the follow-up of technical documentation in a company cannot be improvised. A deficiency in technical documentation can, in fact, cause errors in product maintenance and development, but also call into question the safety of certain devices. Poor documentation, or inappropriate use of this documentation thus inevitably leads to financial losses. More than in technical terms, the issue of technical documentation is more about its uses, practices and organization.

3- A new development lever

Indeed, technical documentation represents a formidable lever of economic growth within the reach of companies. It is indeed a means likely to improve the competitiveness of companies by reducing production costs. Optimising the flow of information is thus one of the new challenges of industrial maintenance. It is no longer enough to develop complete, high-quality technical documentation. It must now be used and thus integrated by the employees, so that it is really useful. It must be at the heart of a company's operational processes. In order to facilitate access to this technical documentation in mobility, Ermeo proposes to create dynamic technical documents. These can be accessed via a mobile terminal, regardless of where a technician connects to the application.

More than just a PDF manual, forms can be set up. They provide access to the appropriate decision trees and related operating procedures. Work orders can also be directly linked to the documentation, saving the technician time. In terms of access to this technical documentation, a simple reading of a QR Code located on a machine can provide access to related documents. An intelligent geolocation system is also present on the Ermeo application. The mobile employee can thus quickly access the technical documentation of the equipment located a few meters away from him.

4- Agility and responsiveness thanks to mobile applications

In addition to this, technical documentation must adapt to new societal uses. Ermeo offers collaborative functionalities in this sense, allowing technicians to share information with each other, by sharing REXs but also by suggesting improvements to the documentation. This technical documentation must become that of the collaborators, also always on the Ermeo application, the latter have the possibility to directly annotate documents, but also to add photos, draw on diagrams, photos and documents, and to incorporate text.

The technical documentation goes from a fixed manual to an everyday tool that can be adapted to suit its uses. A back-office editing studio makes it possible to perpetuate these modifications but also to modify the technical documentation even more profoundly by making it truly digital and dynamic. Also, new technologies are at the service of a new interactivity between collaborators and technical documentation, and can be at the origin of ever more innovative practices.

Emma Duverne Marketing Manager Treatment of nonconformities