Writer George Mikes once said ‘An Englishman, even if he is alone, forms an orderly queue of one’. And, frankly, it’s not just true of the English: you’ll find orderly queues from Land’s End to John O’Groats and everywhere in between. In the UK, we class queueing as a virtue, and despair of those cultures who lack what we view as our sense of ‘decorum’.
Time is money
But queuing costs money. And in the engineering industry, costs pots of money. On larger sites, it’s not unusual to see scores of workers queuing – albeit in a civilised fashion – to be allowed access and actually start their day. The hold-up? Permits. Processing each and every worker’s credentials before they are given a permit to work – credentials and permits written on paper in an otherwise digital world.
It doesn’t take a degree to work out that this is where most sites haemorrhage money, daily. So how to get all these people going more quickly? We can’t skip the permit process: to run a safe, legal and professional site, every worker must be accounted for, audit trails robust. No. The secret’s in the paper: it’s time to ditch it.
QEM Solutions have created ePermit – an advanced, cloud-based permitry system that massively reduces downtime on large sites. It’s web-based, accessible from phones and tablets, and can function in fully electronic mode to provide electronic permits for workers – wherever they are in the world. In hazardous environments where mobile phones are forbidden, ePermit will also print permits if needed. Some clients need bespoke permit types: on top of its six industry-standard general and electrical permits, it’s possible to produce virtually any permit needed by our clients for use within the system.
What’s the result?
By reducing the time required to produce permits each day, ePermit increases productivity. At our St Fergus reference site in north-east Scotland we reduced downtime by 20%. Increased permit accuracy freed up permit controllers to perform safety inspections too, making workers safer. Further, by consolidating all the dull but necessary admin into a single, slick, back office, there are savings to be made from economies of scale. Here’s a stat to close with: we’ve already improved productivity by 30% at St Fergus with ePermit.
The numbers speak for themselves. Get in the cloud. Cut project times. Maximise productivity. Keep workers safe.
Oh, and queueing? It’s so last year.