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Parsable

Designing the future of field work.

Industrial construction and maintenance work still operates almost entirely on paper procedures. Errors resulting directly from preventable issues that stem from paper cost over 1b annually. Parsable is a digital system for authoring, distributing, and analyzing paper procedures in industrial work.

I co-designed the entire Parsable system from the ground up. This product is now being deployed directly into industrial working environments.

Parsable

The future of field work.

Digital Procedural Work

Parsable, is a multi-platform system for creating, managing, and completing procedures in blue collar environments. This first iteration of this product went into production in industrial environments in 2015.

Challenge

Paper procedures are hard to create, slow to update, and the work that results from them is often difficult to track and audit. This leads to billions of dollars in losses per year in procedural non-adherance. How can we make procedures better?

Solution

Create a digital system where each stage in a procedure's life cycle is accounted for from authoring, to using it on a job site, to archiving and analyzing results in meaningful ways for both auditors and iterating on the next version of a procedure.

Challenge: Field work makes communication tricky

Procedures are the centerpiece of field work.  Everyone uses them, collaborates on them, and are responsible for the integrity of them. Paper procedures make collaboration in the field tricky, when there is only one copy being passed around.

Solution: The collaborative field work tool

Procedures have been printed on paper for decades. The thing is, paper is actually pretty good. You can modify procedures by scribbling things out, take notes in the margins, draw arrows, paperclip photos, you name it!

However paper has a major drawback - it's a black box. A field worker's colleague has to be physically looking at the sheet of paper to understand how the work is going.

Parsable's system takes procedural work out of the black box, allowing everyone on a job site to collaborate in real time as steps are completed. This role based system allows an entire job site to work en concert to complete work faster, more safely, and more reliably than ever before. Experts are a message away, and there are no more long truck rides to tell your buddy that he can start work on a valve since you have turned the pressure off.

Challenge: Paper procedures take months to update

Traditionally, procedures are authored in Microsoft Word, printed out, and distributed to the field in binders. The process of approving, authoring, and updating procedures is very slow, which means procedures in the field can sometimes be years out of date.

Solution: The digital authoring tool.

We created a digital procedure authoring tool that gives industrial organizations much better control over their procedures. This system uses structured data blocks and a WYSIWYG interface to let people easily make the transition from their Microsoft Word based workflows into a new product.

The steps in the authoring tool are automatically translated into the field work tool and can be previewed by authors on the spot. These procedures are also now automatically versioned, and go through a customizable approval flow that used to take many email chains to accomplish.

Concurrent editing and version management means that organizations never lose information, and that subject matter experts can work alongside field technicians and engineers to create plain-language instructions for field workers.

Challenge: Info is almost impossible to keep track of.

Paper procedures get logged away in filing cabinets, never to be seen again. Even when the work is digitized, it is manually transcribed by hand, leading inevitably to human errors. There is no way to learn meaningfully from procedures, and they are a difficult to find and audit.

Solution: Leverage digital field data to provide insights.

Since all of the procedural information in the Parsable system is entered digitally in the field, for the first time ever, industrial organizations are able to get real-time insights into the work being done in the field. On top of that, data is automatically logged, which gives organizations the opportunity to iterate on their procedures based on data.

For example, a company could note that one or two steps of a procedure take far longer than the other, and take steps to make that piece of the procedure faster.

This data gives insights that result in real time and money savings for companies that have it. Perhaps most importantly, this data dashboard allows companies to be proactive rather than reactive in regards to procedural non-adherence.

Instead of going back to find out why something went wrong, this dashboard allows organizations to see that steps weren't completed properly (or at all) before something really bad happens (the exxon-valdez incident was due to procedural non-adherence that is now avoidable thanks to this system).

Designing the future of field work.

Unfortunately, I am unable to showcase the majority of my process and design work from this product online. If you would like to take a deeper dive and see more, please contact me.

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