Trust the process. It’s an oft-repeated phrase that has tremendous application for pipeline operators, especially in the area of supporting your regulatory compliance program.
This is because validating compliance is not something that merely happens. It is the result of taking the proper steps to prepare your pipeline operation to operate in such a way that you are naturally compliant with regulatory requirements.
So, what’s the actual starting point, and how does it flow? Start with understanding your systems. Then, understand the risks. Follow that by implementing processes to support safe operations. Then, your operation will naturally flow into regulatory compliance.
Our software tool, POEMS ComplyMgr, brings this all together. We help operators optimize their processes to streamline audit preparation, simplify PHMSA compliance, and enable audit readiness. First, though, it’s important to get the details right at the starting point.
Invest in the Starting Point to Naturally Flow into Compliance
On a recent edition of the Pipeliners Podcast, I talked to Charlene Wright, the managing partner of Wright & Associates PLLC, about the importance of establishing the starting point of regulatory compliance. Charlene made a great point that the basis is not the regulations, but it’s actually a pipeline operator’s own system. It looks like this:
- Understand your assets.
- Know what the risks are related to each of those assets.
- Understand which processes help you effectively and safely operate systems.
- Regulatory compliance flows out of this.
It’s important to invest time in understanding your assets and the associated risks. This will give you a good starting point to then spend the bulk of your efforts on optimizing processes to support safe operations.
So, what are processes? Consider this definition of process as “what is done” or “what is going to be done.” These are the repeatable, auditable actions that each person in the operation should take as part of their everyday activity to support effective and safe operations.
Focusing on processes also enables operators to identify gaps. Charlene said it well during the podcast that as you carry out your intended operations, you need to be able to capture tolerant defects, minimize deficiencies, and document deviations. This requires a significant amount of effort and intentionality to perform the gap analysis and then take corrective actions to continuously optimize processes.
As you continue to improve processes, you will find that your operation naturally flows into regulatory compliance with less and less effort required. Incremental improvement and refinement will lead to long-term results because it simplifies regulatory compliance to become a natural outflow of what you are already doing.
There is a tremendous opportunity to optimize processes on the front-end that will save man hours, reduce effort, and alleviate stress when validating compliance on the back-end.
Close the Loop on Recordkeeping Through ComplyMgr and CRM Suite
Our software tool, ComplyMgr, not only captures the processes for each pipeline operation, but also helps operators understand what records need to be kept and how the records need to be kept.
ComplyMgr is used to confirm that “what you say you will do” in your policy and procedures is in compliance with PHMSA regulations, FAQ’s, and relevant inspection questions. It also confirms that “you are doing what you said you will do” via the mock audit capabilities.
Another product from EnerSys, the POEMS CRM Suite, helps close the loop by producing the records that will satisfy all PHMSA inspection requests, ensuring that your operation passes the audit with no findings. When you are operating in a naturally compliant manner, then records will be automatically generated by POEMS CRM Suite to validate that your operation did what you said you were going to do.
Our goal is to simplify and streamline audit preparation to provide operators with complete confidence to pass the PHMSA audit. When processes are optimized, this becomes even easier for your operation.
– We invite you to schedule an educational demo of ComplyMgr. Our team will show how we deliver value to operators through a comprehensive pipeline compliance software solution that enables operators to achieve audit readiness.
To schedule your demo, call us at 281-598-7100 and ask to speak with Dale Schafer. Alternatively, complete our demo sign-up form and we will follow up with you to schedule a time.