Document. Document. Document.

How do we make life easier on ourselves? We take shortcuts. We make systems. We find ways around the hard stuff without damaging the outcomes (most of the time). In our technical industries, a large amount of time and energy is spent looking up information that we have had before, but was lost, misplaced or forgotten.

In the instrumentation and controls world, manufacturer names, trade names, model numbers, revision numbers change from year to year and are replaced with newer versions. The basics may stay the same, but the specifics of form, fit, and interface change. How are we supposed to memorize all that? The short answer is that we can’t. We need to have an easy way to look this information up. We need to have that information presented in a complete and coherent fashion when we start a project or modify an existing install.

How many times have you received a quote or proposal from a vendor and not gotten a description and relevant technical documentation about the equipment? How many times have you issued a proposal and didn’t put all the relevant information in a single spot? Did you scatter the proposal, supporting documentation, links, and conversation history across several emails and days? Is that going to be hard to look up and investigate a year from now when you need it again?

I urge everyone to take action on this and work to condense their deliverables into a single point reference. We can all then celebrate next year when we get to enjoy the time savings gained by our small time/effort investment this year.

Patrick Harlan

Patrick Harlan holds a degree in Biological Systems Engineering from the University of Nebraska – Lincoln and has more than 20 years of experience in industrial process control. Patrick works with customers located in Nebraska, Western Iowa, and Southeast South Dakota specializing in process instrumentation, heat trace and controls valves. Patrick’s approach is to specify products and solutions which will better measure, control and optimize your process. 

If you seek to measure efficiencies, obtain tighter control of processes, and increase plant safety, Patrick welcomes your questions at (402) 440-2325 or PHarlan@JasperEng.com