Lockout Tagout (LOTO) and CMMS: How do you bridge the gap? – Part 1

CHAMPS CMMS Software

Operations and Maintenance go together like bread and butter. In principle, Operations requires maintenance to keep them running smoothly. Maintenance requires smooth running operations to stay in business. When these two groups work well together it is a sign of good corporate culture. However, this symbiotic dynamic can be disrupted by software. The teams might get along like bread and butter but their software solutions act more like oil and water.

In this multi-part post we will take a look at one example, Lockout Tagout (LOTO) Software and CMMS. We will discuss the answers to the following 4 questions: What is the gap? Why is the gap created? How does the gap affect you? What can you do to bridge the gap?

What is the gap?

For the purpose of this post a gap refers to a logical function or integration point between LOTO and CMMS that does not exist. Gaps between these systems can be measured based upon their impact to everyday work activities. A minor gap may be defined as a small inconvenience. On the other hand, a major gap creates significant data integrity concerns and extensive efforts in work around solutions. Obviously, a major gap should be avoided if at all possible.

Why is the gap created?

Understanding the reason for the gap between LOTO and CMMS is the first step toward bridging it. The gap can be created in two ways: consciously or unconsciously.

Unconsciously

A CMMS is usually purchased before LOTO software. The CMMS was undoubtedly chosen based on the needs at the time. Therefore, LOTO may not have even entered the conversation. If LOTO was discussed the CMMS vendor may have recommended using their built-in solution or a preferred partner. However, a full evaluation was most likely not conducted. This was a reasonable approach.

Then, when the LOTO project came about the full scope was realized. In LOTO intensive industries (Oil and Gas, Energy Generation, etc.) it is a rare CMMS/EAM vendor that fully covers the range of functions needed. Even when there are partnerships to make up for missing functionality, the extent of integration is likely less than hoped for. The result is a gap made unconsciously but likely out of necessity.

Consciously

Some organizations purposefully choose to have a gap. For example, there may be a corporate mandate to use a specific CMMS/EAM vendor and a different LOTO vendor. While LOTO functions are critical to safety, in some industries they are not labor intensive and rarely involve plant configuration. Thus, the benefits of an integrated solution may be outweighed by a more basic approach.

Whatever the reason the question that should be considered is: Am I affected by a gap between LOTO and CMMS/EAM? In the next post we will address the question: How does the gap affect you?

About CHAMPS

CHAMPS Software offers a fully integrated CMMS/EAM and LOTO solution. However, CHAMPS LOTO is designed to integrate with any CMMS/EAM product. Learn more about our CMMS/EAM product here. Additional details about our LOTO solution can be found here.

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