Increasing the Performance of the Human Asset

By Rick Rys



Most managers in industrial facilities would agree that their most valuable assets are their employees.  The human asset is unique, adaptable, and his or her value can almost always be increased with the right training and support. In a complex manufacturing facility, operations and maintenance staff often encounter situations that require additional training or support from internal or external experts. The Honeywell competency management system is a major step in this direction.

Learning by Doing

In many professions, new workers learn from the more experienced workers around them.  In this environment, new workers can gain the skills, wisdom, and situational awareness needed to perform the tasks likely to be encountered. The apprentice works in the profession under the guidance of a skilled master. While “on the job” training is certainly part of achieving competency, in the modern digital age, leading technology suppliers such as Honeywell Process Solutions have developed new software tools and technologies that can shorten the time it takes to learn new skills. Learning by doing is generally regarded as the most effective way to train from a retention point of view, and Honeywell has developed a modern way to do this. The company refers to this solution as a competency management system, part of Honeywell Connected Plant.

Just as the best way to learn how to ride is simply to get on a bike and experience the dynamic interplay of speed, steering angle, tire pressure, grade, and surface grip; many industrial technologies are best mastered through a realistic hands-on experience.

Many of the competencies in an industrial setting require familiarity with both specific process equipment and operational and maintenance procedures.  These are needed to ensure the facility operates safely, at the required capacity, and maintains production within acceptable quality limits. It’s often far more challenging to acquire this familiarity than it might first appear to be, particularly for the most sophisticated and/or rarely executed tasks.

Honeywell Competency Management System

The Honeywell competency management system creates a workflow visualization as a 3D virtual model and embeds or creates standard operating procedure documents into an integrated training program. Once hcms1.JPGcomplete, Honeywell will certify your operations and maintenance staff as competent and provide a results-based guarantee.  The company will create a 3D virtual model from photographs or other methods and use an Android-based cloud software platform called “Movilizer” to plan and execute maintenance tasks.  Field operations personnel can use immersive display technology from Hololens, Samsung, Occulus, or intrinsically safe Realware headsets to visualize and manage the maintenance tasks.

The Honeywell offering, delivered as learning-as-a-service (LaaS), includes guaranteed risk avoidance for multiple scenarios.  One would be the simulated man-down scenario, which requires operators to quickly take appropriate actions. To facilitate fast, accurate situation response, this scenario integrates man-down safety and environmental alarms from Honeywell’s safety solution into the company’s Experion Orion console along with map-based user interfaces.

This enables faster, more coordinated response to safety incidents.  Operators can direct the emergency response team (and other plant personnel) to the correct locations and take appropriate actions.

Honeywell’s immersive competency program can develop training programs for safety, operations, and maintenance.  Operators and maintenance staff that complete an immersive training session will be certified competent in that task. The training program develops critical thinking and includes a gap analysis that identifies existing and needed competencies. Realistic scenarios that use the actual process equipment provide a safe training environment that achieves the learning and competency objectives in a very short time.  The competency training program incorporates books, written operating procedures, web-based training, and classroom training.  A virtual reality (VR) scenario approach to operator training can get to full competence faster than on the job training because a wide range of operational situations can be practiced in a realistic environment.  This includes hazardous or infrequently executed procedures.

The Honeywell competency management “Cone of Learning”  hcms2.JPG

Employee Empowerment Needed

Honeywell recognizes that it is impossible to train operators and maintenance staffs for every situation. For example, maintenance may be needed for a compressor seal, something that might only be required once every 10 years.  In other instances, special procedures might be required to ensure the repair is completed correctly.  Since it’s possible that no one on your maintenance staff may have performed these procedures before, it’s likely that you never developed specific training for them.

So, put yourself in the shoes of a maintenance technician who must perform those procedures to get the plant back into operation as soon as possible. The pressure is on to get this done right the first time.  Honeywell’s immersive competency management solution can help.

Honeywell Immersive Technology Helps Increase Confidence hcms3.JPGImagine that, as you check with operations to lock out the equipment and handle the work permits and maintenance orders, you have all the documents available and in ready view in your heads-up display. As you arrive at the compressor, you can superimpose the drawings on top of the actual machine as you start to disassemble it.  The support engineer from the compressor manufacturer is available by chat through your headset. He or she can see the live images from your headset as you point out important details like cracks in the retaining cap or potentially significant corrosion issues. With this empowerment, you proceed to the repair with confidence.

Such empowerment enhances the employee’s capabilities to increase his or her self-confidence, motivation, competency, and overall value to the company. Motivated employees look at their jobs as a challenge that provides personal satisfaction and potential opportunities for advancement.


The Honeywell immersive competency program focuses on operator-driven process reliability. Customer benefits include improved uptime with faster and more competent repairs, lower overall maintenance costs, improved operator and maintenance staff self-esteem and motivation, improved safety, and a manufacturing process that gains capacity and improves product quality.

Effective operator and maintenance training and empowerment is a sure way to increase the performance of the “human asset.”

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Keywords: Human Assets, Operator Training, Maintenance Training, Competency Management System, Honeywell Process Solutions, ARC Advisory Group.

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