Last Thursday, May 26th, eVision hosted the world’s largest dedicated digital Control of Work summit. We were fortunate to have a great line up of speakers from the leading companies in the oil and gas and petrochemicals industry and attendees from all over the world. With the two previous annual editions still fresh in my memory I was really looking forward to a day of meeting, greeting, and sharing ideas and experiences. Because that is what our client day is about: sharing stories. Stories from the real world, from men and women that are out there every day looking after the safety of hundreds, even thousands of people’s lives.
There is so much to look back on. Obviously it is not merely the great speakers including Rick Graves and Steve James (BP), Daniel Moore (Shell), Jan Hoejer (HESS), or all the active participation in workshops and break-outs that creates the knowledge. It is the years of working together and massive collective experience that has inspired me to summarize and share a few highlights.
Open and collaborative culture
The one thing that stands out for me while working with industry professionals in operations and safety, is the willingness to listen to each other. Really listen. The willingness to learn. The open attitude that each and every person displays.
Why is that and is it different from other fields of expertise? I have the feeling it is. And I think this originates from the sheer size of the responsibility that they all share. If you can make a difference in your job, and mostly in how you empower others in your organization to do their job in a safer and more efficient way – perhaps ultimately preventing injury or even saving a life – then you understand why they are open to learn from others. If one little insight, or a different perspective on a matter, can help you improve, can help you make a better decision, or help you to guide others in the organization, then it’s worth it.
It is this humble attitude of the (often very senior) delegates at our control of work summit that strikes me. The shared belief that work can always be safer. And that is why there is no competition when it comes to safety. That is why honest stories are shared on stage, but even more so in the 1-on-1 conversations throughout the day.
From my perspective, a number of key themes were highlighted during the day, which I share in more detail below:
Safety remains the top priority for all companies in hazardous industries. Digital control of work helps build and expand both a clear safety culture and clear processes and controls within organizations. Whether it is a top down approach, or bottom up, the main drivers for digital control of work lie in the empowerment of teams to work safely. By making sure that the right information is accessible to each employee, whether in planning, field work or management, better decisions can be made with reliable access to data.
But what no software or solution can replace is the capabilities and expertise of the people. Software is an enabler, but the people make the difference. Something that is clearly visible in one of the foundations of working safely, risk assessment. The risk assessment determines the hazards and the control measures. The risk assessment can even help in determining authorisation levels within the organisation for different tasks. Risk assessment is crucial and judging risk lies in the capable hands of professionals, with the software helping out to make it easy to capture and record which, in turn, ensures that the data is visible and easily assessable.
Bringing a new perspective – data and insights drive measurable efficiency improvements
Control of work is not new. What digitization brings to the field of control of work is insight. It makes visible data that may not have been visible before. It generates actionable intelligence that management can act upon. For example, knowing the throughput time of a permits lifecycle, or the peak moments of your permit bottlenecks across all your assets around the world will help you in planning and resource allocation.
Digital control of work gives management and leaders new perspective on their operations and enables them to realize efficiency gains in the operational process, which in turn also contributes to safety. Reliable, stable planning takes away the stress of last-minute changes and creates a more efficient process which then allows the workforce to focus on key areas of safety as opposed to time.
Connecting People, Process and Plant
One of the key industry trends addressed at this year’s event was the concept of the digital ecosystem.
Numerous eVision Technology Partners were present to showcase both established integrations and proof-of-concepts for integration with eVision Control of Work. The digital connection between People, Process and Plant brings new opportunities to streamline processes. Even in 2016, various applications on the plant are often operating ’stand alone’, disconnected. Going forward, for example, planning should be done taking into account the live state information regarding permits or isolations. Or permits should be drafted and work instructions should be provided utilizing plant and equipment data.
The open (but secure) ecosystem offers tremendous opportunities to work even more safely and efficiently. It will drive efficiency in the years to come.
Where do you stand?
Whether you are working with a paper-based permit to work system or already digital; whether your application is running stand-alone or already integrated; whether you manage a single site or global operations: the goal is the same. We are all working on a safer world. And it’s all about empowering people to make the best decisions. Every day, every shift, every person.
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