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Talking Points

Part 1: Dan Hounsell: Less Paper, Big Benefits for Data Collection

Part 2: Dave Lubach: No Common Ground Among Managers for Outsourcing||15078

Dan Hounsell: Less Paper, Big Benefits for Data Collection

By Dan Hounsell, Editor June 2014 - Facility Maintenance Decisions Columnists

Admit it, your department is not going paperless. It probably never was going to achieve that lofty goal, despite the best of intentions and the hopes of those spearheading sustainability efforts in your organization. Maintenance and engineering departments probably will always need a minimum amount of paper to function efficiently.

That said, relying less on paper can have major benefits for departments, especially if that evolution improves access to essential information on the institutional and commercial facilities that departments maintain.

Case in point: transferring operations and maintenance manuals, building blueprints, floor plans, drawings, equipment nameplate and location data, and a host of other paper-based information to an electronic format. Many departments are sitting on reams of such documents for crucial systems, equipment and facilities that technicians work with every day, and managers now are looking for better options to efficiently store and use the documents.

While the data in these paper resources is accessible, that access is not always easy, at least not as easy as if a technician in the field could quickly view the information on a laptop, tablet or smart phone.

The task of transferring the documents to an electronic format is not easy. The process is time-consuming, and finding funds to cover the labor is always challenging. But if managers can successfully make the case for investing the time and money in the process, it offers the hope of reducing paper use. Just as importantly, it gives managers and technicians easier access to valuable data.

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