Web Manuals Set for U.S. Debut
Web Manuals, a Swedish company that offers digital operational manual creation, publication, distribution and maintenance services, is set to expand its sphere of operations and open a U.S. office in Boston later this year. The Malmö-based firm streamlines the task of maintaining and sharing up-to-date company operational or maintenance manuals, which are becoming ever more crucial in the current safety management system climate.
The company has partnered with Switzerland-based regulatory specialist AeroEx, which continually monitors both EASA and FAA regulations, to provide customers constant updates informing them of regulatory changes that pertain to their manuals. “What we do is to simplify the authoring and maintenance of company manuals and allow them to automate the compliance monitoring,” said Martin Lidgard, the company’s founder and CEO. “We can notify operators whenever there are any changes to standards or regulations and they can see exactly where in their manuals they need to revise procedures.”
While the company’s largest customer is commercial carrier Iceland Air, it believes smaller business aviation operators will find great utility in the product as well. “We’re really trying to bring the same methodology to the small operators that are suffering under the continued strain of regulations,” said Lidgard. “Bringing that same type of easy-to-use tool to them and simplifying their compliance monitoring.”
Using the system can save customers time through its automatic handling of all the formatting functions within the document interface. In other words, the user inputs changes to the text and the system does the rest. “Editing is in Microsoft Word is complicated because the documents are just too complex and too large,” Lidgard told AIN. “In Web Manuals, typically you save 80 to 90 percent of that work, and that might add up to several thousand hours per year in terms of document editing.”
Customers who have an existing copy of their manuals in Word can simply import it straight into the system, which, according to Lidgard, will “take care of all the messy work of recreating and reconstructing” it. Such a document will be available in minutes, but a 200-page document typically can be converted into a fully corrected web-based one within a day.
Once completed, the documents can be routed to specific people for review and, once approved, made available to the appropriate divisions of the entire company. Through the system, customers can also control distribution lists for the manuals, tracking signoffs from employees as they acknowledge changes. In some cases, authorities or industry auditors can even log in to review and approve the manuals, which can be revised easily.
One of the major benefits of the system is the level of accessibility and portability it provides through a website or iPad app. The latter allows crews to carry the most current company manuals into the cockpit as part of the electronic flight bag, without having to update and lug around paper copies.
Web Manuals charges customers for the initial training to use the system, on average two or three days, and then subscribers pay a monthly fee for the upkeep and monitoring of the documents. Lidgard said the pricing structure is based on the number of users within the customer’s company; one with 50 employees should expect to pay approximately $10,000 a year for the service.