It goes without saying that inspections are not the core business of Oil and Gas companies. Nevertheless, they form a key part in the process of achieving the goal of every customer or vendor, that is, to have the materials delivered on time ensuring the quality requirements are met.

The aim of this survey on the efficiency of inspection management is to understand  which are issues that people involved in inspection management face during their activities, so that relevant improvements can be identified to help them work in a more efficient manner.

Methods

This survey is being conducted anonymously and none of the questions are mandatory.

To date 268 people have taken part in the survey from all over the world. Having said that, most of the respondents are from Europe (Italy, Germany and the United Kingdom).

People involved in the inspection process (Customers, Vendors, Inspection Agencies and Inspectors) were invited to participate. When you read the results below, you should take into consideration that inspectors were the key respondents. Their opinions, therefore, make up the bulk of the figures.

Result part 1: how inspections are managed

Respondents reported that following tools are most commonly used to manage inspection notification and documents:

1. Tools to manage the documentation

Not surprisingly, emails are the most common method for transferring documents from and to customers and vendors (around 87%). In total, around 60% of respondents use Microsoft Excel to track the revision level of project documentation, followed by around 30% who manage this information on their Company ERP software.

2. Tools to submit inspection notifications

Having the possibility to choose more than one answer, an overwhelming majority of respondents (69.7%) reported they use emails to issue inspection notifications. Another common tool used to manage notification is Microsoft Word (63.6%).

Results part 2: areas for improvement

Respondents highlighted following areas for improvement related to the way inspections are managed in their company:

1. Improvement of inspection preparation

From the data collected, the majority (76.5%) of respondents admitted that often or occasionally the materials were not ready when the inspector arrives to the plant.

This is mainly because of delays during the manufacturing process or because of unexpected issues that are not communicated to those involved in the inspection management.

2. Improved management of Punch Lists or NCRs

Around 50% of the respondents admitted that when problems arise during an inspection, the management of related Non-Conformities or Punch Lists needs to be improved often or occasionally.

3. Control over delays with the shipment of materials

The majority of respondents (60.6%) have experienced situations where issues occurring during the inspections (such as materials not ready, documents not approved, certificates not issued, further clarifications required, etc.) caused delays with the release or shipment of materials.

4. Control over additional costs arising during inspections

Unexpectedly, 14.7% of respondents reported that they often incur additional costs with inspection activities due to re-tests, delays or because of other reasons. A large number (47.1%) occasionally experience the same problem.

5. Availability of information related to the inspection

Almost all respondents highlighted the importance to be promptly informed of criticalities arising during the inspections.

The survey confirms that having clear information about the inspection notification process is crucial to all people involved. They also felt it is important to be able to track inspection activities and easily share information with all members of the project team. For instance, only around 22% of the respondents reported to have enough information about the presence of the inspectors in attendance. For the majority, this simple information was not always available.

Conclusion

Although the survey is still in progress, data collected up to now reveal what matters most to the people involved in inspection management: most respondents considered it essential to receive clear information and to be able to share this information with those taking part in the inspection process.

The survey also revealed that most companies used generic tools such as emails and MS Office to manage inspections. Although few replied that their company manage inspections on their ERP, no respondent to date use software specifically designed to simplify their inspection management.

Also, working in a shared workspace can be identified as a key factor to improve the efficiency of inspection management.

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