Critical machines are part of our day to day. Some are right under our noses almost every minute of the day, like laptops or cell phones, and others are taken for granted, like gas pumps or grocery store freezers. Others still go unnoticed in our daily lives, such as critical rotating machinery at a power generation facility, the valves that control the flow of chemicals we use every day, or a wind turbine.
Mark Barrenechea, CEO and CTO of OpenText, states in his new book Earring: « Machines now generate a million times more information in a day than all the humans on this planet in a whole year. » This statement resonates with me as a former field engineer and field service manager in the energy sector and having worked with critical industrial machines throughout my career.
Field engineers exist in all industries, not just the energy sector. Its sole purpose is to safely ensure that these critical machines never go down. Information is key to success in these jobs, but it is often not organized or structured. According to the Equinor CIO, “80% of employee time in industry is spent analyzing unstructured data to inform decisions to get work done.” When I saw this statement, it resonated a lot with me; As a field engineer, I spent an incredible amount of time searching for information to ensure a successful and safe operation.
Although this 80% metric describes the oil and gas industry, utilities, chemicals, metals, mining, and other industries face the same challenge. What I often hear is that regardless of how much time is spent searching for unstructured data, it is too much time and too much risk. Here are three information management best practices that help the industrial process industry tame modern work and keep critical machines and equipment running while spending less time searching.
Asset information management for capital projects and operations
Some of the most common forms of unstructured information in asset-intensive companies are engineering drawings, P&IDs, operations manuals, and other controlled content. These are tremendously important documents that are used throughout the lifecycle of an asset to troubleshoot and operate critical equipment.
Many companies use outdated repositories to store these documents. One of the many reasons field engineers and other roles spend so much time searching for information is that the repositories they use were designed for exactly that: storing documents. Today, innovative technologies that understand how people work don’t just store this type of content. They are designed around business workspaces so that there is not only a single source of truth, but information flows throughout the company for the right task for the right role at the right time.
According Project Management.com, almost 50% of all projects from 2012 to 2020 were delayed. Two of the top five reasons for those delays were related to failures in engineering drawings and associated work processes. Asset information management for capital projects and operations is an industry solution that modernizes the way engineering information flows securely in and out of an enterprise, reducing the time spent searching for unstructured information. With asset information management best practices, engineering information flows easily so that new assets and machines are deployed on time and kept running optimally throughout the asset lifecycle.
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Remote access for field workers
One aspect of work that is often overlooked in the industrial process industry is that field engineers, field technicians, plant operators, and other workers are inherently mobile. They don’t work behind a desk. They are mobilizing to offshore platforms, scaling wind turbines, inspecting pipes for corrosion and more. But they need to access information as seamlessly as if these roles were behind a desk.
Nearly 50% of the workforce in oil and gas and chemicals they are incumbents, and most will retire in the next 5-7 years, leaving experience and knowledge with them. This challenge is compounded by the fact that the overall number of college graduates for technical courses like engineering has dropped by 15-21% between 2015 and 2019. With knowledge poised to exit the industry and fewer workers entering, companies must ensure they equip their employees with modern technologies to move information more efficiently and master modern work.
Remote access for field workers of OpenText enables workers in a connected or disconnected environment to access the information they need to perform the job safely.
Master modern work inside the office
The performance of the workers who turn keys and keep critical equipment running is directly and indirectly supported by several different business functions. Mastering modern work means not only giving field and plant workers access to critical information, but also all the departments that support and work with them.
There are several success stories in utilities, oil and gas, chemicals, metals and mining, and EPC, where companies are employing information management best practices to greatly reduce the time spent searching for unstructured information. Examples include archive key financial data, content governance streamlining, accounts payable automation, improve HR experiences for employees, and more.
Modernizing the way information flows throughout the entire asset lifecycle, as well as supporting business functions, will enable humanity to deploy more critical infrastructure on time and keep it running.
Learn more about how OpenText can help your organization master modern work.