Intelligent Operations Management During a Pandemic

Author photo: Peter Reynolds
ByPeter Reynolds
Technology Trends

Covid-19 Has Shifted Operations Management Priorities

Industrial manufacturers of all sizes are changing future priorities significantly. With the increased volatility and uncertainty of staffing and resources due to COVID-19, the need to maintain an intelligent approach to operations management is critical. Operations management systems provide the foundation for a company standard for operations, enhanced compliance assurance conduct of operations workforce competency, and asset performance management.  

Operations Management Systems Become Intelligent Operations Platforms

Operations Management systems have morphed into a platform called Intelligent Operations.  The current IT landscape for many organizations is a complex combination of spreadsheets, homegrown applications, and siloed disparate systems.  Most of these systems are focused on compartmentalized tactical information without integrated, aggregated insight. Since the main center for profit in the process industries, barring reducing incidents, is gains in production efficiency and operational effectiveness, it only makes sense to focus on operations and maintenance as a way to capture the value and be responsive to market and customer demands.

The Path to Interoperable Data-driven Operations

Companies who were already heading down a path of interoperable data-driven operations have had an easier time with this transition than companies who weren’t.  Business leaders tend to view change as complicated and challenging and use those perceived difficulties as reasons to resist the necessary changes. However, the current situation has proven companies can move as fast as they have to when the outcome is important enough. Understanding the underpinnings of, and integrations possible with, a data-driven system is a critical step in implementing one as painlessly as possible.

The Path to Interoperable Data-driven Operations

Customers who are using an interoperable platform to support remote work find this doesn’t damage the integrity of the data, the team, or the outcome.  However, companies without a distributed network of information are struggling.  Even after the COVID-19 is under control, companies are going to have the face the reality of remote work, because it will become a competitive advantage. Employees who now know how to work effectively remotely will want that option, and smart businesses who want to keep talented employees will adapt. The right technology and systems do make a huge difference in the effectiveness of remote working. Large organizations with multiple facilities and thousands of employees across those facilities are already dealing with this situation in their “normal” operations. The new normal will be measured by effective sharing of information, leveraged learnings, and use data analysis to streamline, align, and better manage operations across a fleet of facilities with workers in many locations – home, office, and plant.


A Platform for Intelligent Operations

A platform for Intelligent Operations is specifically designed to create that interoperable, distributed, data-driven network of information that is the backbone of remote information sharing.  In particular, elevated solutions for EH&S and APM will transcend departmental barriers and become part of something more substantial. Intelligent Operations eliminates siloed systems from 5-6 departments, bringing them into an integrated, holistic view of the organization.

For example, a current customer in the Chemical sector who is following the Intelligent Operations pathway is achieving benefits by quickly responding while adapting during this pandemic.  The company uses OESuite from Operational Sustainability, LLC to manage its Asset Performance Management, Operational Risk, EH&S, Workforce, and Conduct of Operations needs.  Some of the specific areas of focus include Management of Change, Risk-Based Inspection, Asset Health Monitoring, Asset Strategy, Operator Rounds, and Emissions Management. When you have a depth of insight that reaches across department silos, you can make better, more informed decisions faster. Intelligent Operations enables businesses to move at the speed of change in today’s world.

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