Resinkem improves shift log information with FlexiLOG
Resin manufacturer Resinkem has implemented operations information management system FlexiLOG, from ApplyIT, to better manage shift handovers, tighten reporting, track history and ensure accurate data for efficient decision-making.

Resinkem, a 50% joint venture between AECI and US-based Georgia-Pacific Resins, manufactures and markets formaldehyde and urea formaldehyde resins, mainly for the southern Africa particle board industry.

Designed by process manufacturing software specialist ApplyIT, FlexiLOG provides a user-friendly electronic method to log and process shift information simply and accurately. The system forms part of ApplyIT’s operations performance suite, OpSUITE.

Prior to implementing FlexiLOG, Resinkem relied on a manual system to manage its shifts, using hand-written reports logged in typical A4 hardcover books. This process was not only time-consuming but unreliable, with readings for critical processes such as tank levels and ratios often not recorded accurately. Resinkem operations manager Manoj Ram says the old logging process was cumbersome and erratic. The logbook was not always accessible between shifts, and being manual, it had no back-up in the event of loss or damage, so the risk of data loss was high.

“The logbook was simply an A4 book in which the foreman for each shift would write what he felt was applicable – it was not template-driven and had no workflow. Trying to trace history or track trends was also difficult, as previous logbooks had to be retrieved and manually scrutinised,” says Ram.

The operations team at Resinkem were already enjoying the efficiencies of ApplyIT’s OptiRUN for managing and planning plant maintenance activities, and SmartSURE for capturing, reviewing and reporting SHEQ-related activities. "FlexiLOG was an obvious choice, both from a quality system perspective and for ease of use,” says Ram.

FlexiLOG was implemented at Resinkem in mid-August 2010, and the system went live two weeks later. "Good communications between the ApplyIT team and Resinkem ensured the transition to the new system went smoothly, and we were able to go live quickly with very few changes,” says Ram.

Ram says FlexiLOG now manages information on all plant operations at Resinkem, including shift handover logs, batch sheets, and downtime records. Having critical data readily available allows the plant supervisor to manage production and resources more efficiently and effectively, and management to make timeous decisions.

“The template-based format of FlexiLOG requires the input of information in a structured manner, promoting the communication of critical information that directly affects production. The templates compel the foreman to provide information of specific details about the shift, and this requires precision in reporting, ensures accuracy, and provides traceability,” says Ram.

The quick trending facility in FlexiLOG tracks data from the previous 10 inputs, and monitors patterns of the plant’s processes based on comparisons of performance and output. The information provided by the system forms a knowledge base for generating reports, managing key performance criteria, and diagnosing and resolving faults.

In an operational environment, systems have to be user-friendly and efficient to avoid errors in data capture. To simplify data input, the implementation team customised the design of the system to incorporate drop-down boxes, minimising the amount of typing required for data input, and enabling the foreman to provide an electronic log quickly and easily.

“This process generates a report that provides a clear visual picture of what is happening on the plant without requiring much reading – it’s an open window of the plant at a glance. It suits our needs perfectly,” says Ram.

The operations team has also used FlexiLOG to create an instruction log into which the production manager inputs requirements for the foreman in a structured format pertinent to specific plant areas.

ApplyIT product director Scott Bredin says FlexiLOG has complemented Resinkem’s use of OptiRUN and SmartSURE through their operating and reporting processes. "We have configured a section in FlexiLOG that summarises all work orders (through OptiRUN) and outstanding incidents (through SmartSURE) per shift. This creates an awareness of maintenance requirements and incidents during and between shifts, so the foreman can make decisions based on current information."

Bredin summarised the benefits FlexiLOG offers: “The name says it all – it is a flexible operator log book solution. What makes FlexiLOG unique is that it also supports workflow processes so that issues can be tracked through an audit trail.”

Future plans for using FlexiLOG at Resinkem involve empowering each of the plant’s operators to write their own shift log, with the foreman inputting a summary of the day’s shifts.