We move further away from databases that need to be populated from tedious data entry interfaces. At reasonable costs, you can buy a flexible and adaptable lockout software that ensures lockout compliance.
First common mistake
The most common mistake is to purchase a software without previously analyzing the flow of records to be computerized. This mistake too often leads to buying a product offering unnecessary features. Frequently, these nice-to-have functions are superfluous and significantly increase purchasing, maintenance and renewal costs. Subsequently, we realize that we have a vehicle that can go up to 200 km/h, but the speed limit is 100 km/h! Such a waste!
Second common mistake
Ignoring hidden fees is another common mistake. Initial costs may seem reasonable at first, but what about:
1. Additional fees for each additional user
To avoid any surprises, verify prior to purchase if such a fee exists. Carefully analyze the future expansion of the application in order to plan the number of users in two or three years. Choose a product allowing an unlimited number of users.
2. Costs related to software updates
It is no secret that softwares evolve at an ever-increasing rate. It is the same reality for tablets and mobiles. Are updates included in the purchase or rental price? Will those same updates require expensive data transfers or other system software updates for which your company is not ready to support the costs?
3. Costs associated with maintaining internal resources for troubleshooting and maintenance
Your company is not necessarily a software development and maintenance company. Why keep burdensome internal resources to maintain computerized systems and develop internal softwares and applications when it does not constitute your niche market? Successful companies know how to target their particular niche and delegate to experts all the other fields that are not related to their own. So, the choice of lockout software supplier must also include the type of maintenance provided. Is this maintenance quick and included with your purchase? For example, online service, update and transfer from one version to another.
4. Costs associated with waste of time.
Too often, complex softwares become an “end” rather than a “means”. Employees assigned at keeping lockout procedures up to date spend less time on the floor and literally turn into software operators. Some even claim that the software or application becomes a toy and a waste of time. This affirmation heard previously was the result of purchasing a software with so many features, and often unnecessary too, that it comes to be a loss for the company.
Third common mistake
Underestimating the quality of client interface is a third common mistake to avoid. Indeed, the software’s visual and cognitive ergonomics is essential to ensure optimal use. For example, think about some products like Apple®, which trigger viral attachment, particularly because of their usability. Notice how very young children use them efficiently. This quality must be sought. From it is based the following:
- Short learning period
- Less data entry time
- User visual comfort
- Higher quality recording information
Do not rush your decisions in this field. Just look how computer science has evolved. We move further away from databases that need to be populated from tedious data entry interfaces. At reasonable costs, you can buy a flexible and adaptable lockout software that ensures lockout compliance.
Alain Daoust, CRIA, CRSP, VEA
EHS Expertise Director, SPI Health and Safety
Vice-president of the CSA Z460 Review Committee (2013)