What You Should Take Away

Peter Argus, hired as a new continuous-improvement manager, joined Proclndustries just as the company's South Texas refinery experienced an electrical overload that led to a transformer explosion. Thankfully, no one was injured. However, in the aftermath, Peter and his colleagues discovered a great deal about how the plant runs:

  • • There is a lack of collaboration across different departments. Each employee has a personal way of managing data that is inadequate for today's business conditions.
  • • Disparate systems, including data sources contained in legacy systems, prevent plant management from clearly viewing integrated processes, equipment performance, and lab quality data, making problem solving difficult and time consuming.
  • • The lack of data makes it difficult to align refinery production plans and the execution of those plans. Raw material and utility costs often vary, and existing planning processes have difficulty accounting for these variances.
  • • There is no real-time monitoring of refinery critical equipment performance, resulting in unscheduled downtimes and excess operating costs.
  • • Staff at the plant needs training to develop the requisite skills to use a digital data infrastructure.

Bill Roberts, the vice president of operations who hired Peter, assigned him and a team of managers from the plant to prepare a proposal to implement a digital data infrastructure. Proclndustries management approved an initial pilot to roll out a streamlined version of the digital data infrastructure project, stating it will enable the company to comply with workplace safety and environmental regulations. It will also allow personnel to analyze refinerywide data and share that knowledge across all areas of the refinery. If the EIDI initiative is successful at the South Texas refinery, the company plans to scale it across the enterprise.


Bascur, O.A., Hertler, C, and Wong, G. 2011. "Improving sustainability strategies in industrial complexes: Integration and collaboration." In Proceedings of the EMC 2011, ed. J. Harre. Lower Saxony, Germany: Clausthal-Zellerfeld.

De Geus, A. 1988. "Planning as learning." Harvard Business Review (March/April). hbr.org.

Kennedy, J.P. 2018. "The driving force of industry." Scale and Scope (September/ October): 34-37. www.isa.org/intech/20181005.

Kennedy, J.P. 2002. "Just an IDEA." Internal communication, OSIsoft.

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