Laying a Foundation

According to Peter, a key element of the digital data infrastructure project is that its impact would grow as plant staff members learn what the system can do. Proclndustries does not need to implement an EIDI as a single project with a defined end date. The staff will continuously enhance the EIDI by adding new information, new capabilities, and new use cases. It would be a foundation upon which they could build, and the project would begin with a proof-of-concept pilot.

For Bill, this project was an opportunity to reinvent how Proclndustries planned its production runs, tracked the status of its equipment and asset supplies, and managed the company's compliance with safety and environmental regulations—effectively, Proclndustries' overall business performance.

Bill shared a diagram that showed three key elements to the group (people, business processes, and technology) surrounded by the enterprise mission and centered on an EIDI (Figure 1.4). He explained that this circle was the ultimate goal and would change over time.

First Step to Action: Convening an Operational Team

Bill suggested that Peter form a new team to support the refinery's change- management program. The team's mandate is to provide leadership, obtain buy-in from the operations and maintenance teams, and help employees learn to use the new EIDI system (see the box "The Importance of the Project Leader").

FIGURE 1.4

An industrial data infrastructure connects people, technology, and business processes for continuous improvement and innovation.

THE IMPORTANCE OF THE PROJECT LEADER

Like any project that touches the three core elements of an enterprise— people, business processes, and supporting technology—a digital data infrastructure project requires the establishment of a strong team.

Here is a list of things to consider when assigning a project leader:

  • • Good listening and communication skills (someone eager to share knowledge and learn from others)
  • • Strong coaching skills
  • • Curiosity
  • • Creative problem-solving skills
  • • Business acumen (an understanding of all aspects of the business, not just production gains and losses, but also workplace safety and environmental regulations)
  • • Well versed in company culture with a track record of successful projects

"You need people on the team who bring different points of view to the table," Bill said. Bill had worked with a major oil company that had failed to appoint a multidisciplinary team to build support for its data infrastructure program. He wanted to approach it differently this time and thought new technologies would give Proclndustries the tools to gather and analyze data and present it in a visual format for staff to use.

Bill and Peter settled on the following operational team for the digital transformation: Peter, Tim (production manager), Pat Verlaine (IT manager), Monica (planning and economics coordinator), Chuck Smith (instrumentation and process control engineer), Alex (process engineer), and Paul Morgan (plant maintenance manager). Bill said that Paul and his maintenance team should work with the process engineers to define the data model (what data everyone in the plant would need so they could monitor plant operations). Meanwhile, Tim and his group would bring familiarity with the manufacturing units and could advise the digital data infrastructure project on machine control systems (see the box "The Importance of the Operational Team").

"If this team is successful, it can change the way we run the company," Bill said. "I want this to be a pilot project. When it works, it will show the other refineries how new thinking can solve big problems."

THE IMPORTANCE OF THE OPERATIONAL TEAM

A digital data infrastructure project needs a cross-functional team to lead it. At Proclndustries, the operational team—with members from maintenance, operations, engineering, and planning—has the job of continuously improving refinery operations to meet corporate objectives. Creating an organizational culture of continuous improvement in a digitized refinery includes reengineering current practices and systems and investing in additional technologies to bring about new levels of productivity.

Engaging Corporate Leadership and Plant Employees

As the meeting was ending, Bill added that it was important that the project team keep the company's top management well informed: "The C-suite is very interested in our overall schedule, early status reports, and tangible benefits."

The digital data infrastructure team would need to conduct a training course on the project and the new operational excellence strategy it represented (Figure 1.5). Bill suggested the team teach employees how their previous training in Six Sigma methodologies applied to this digital data infrastructure project.

FIGURE 1.5

The ОТ and IT integration trajectory toward a business digital transformation.

The EIDI project itself would have three stages:

  • 1. Streamline data access and delivery of data and events. Roll out a streamlined version of the EIDI to simplify employees' access to information, set up an environment in which they learn about operations, and continuously improve their ability to detect problems.
  • 2. Integrate data silos for predictive real-time data analytics.

Establish a plant information system framework for consistent representation of assets and equipment in the plant. Determine how to simplify the delivery of actionable information for every asset in the plant. This framework sets the stage for collecting and analyzing data from plant machinery to measure how processes are performing. The employees build real-time cause-and-effect models for predictive monitoring.

3. Create transformation by integrating operational and business information with time context. Simplify the refinery's data structure to enable integration with enterprise resource management systems. This will equip business intelligence systems with time-based context. Integrating refinery and corporate business information sets the stage for operational excellence across the company.

 
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