Operations Standardization for an Enterprise Competence Center

Tom, the refinery plant manager, said the presentation would give the digital transformation team an opportunity to gauge the reaction of his counterparts in other Proclndustries refineries around the country. Most of the refineries have evolved over the years using the same, or similar, technologies as the refinery in South Texas. Each one has its own individually operated legacy system with accumulated local, siloed business practices.

Tom indicated that the current South Texas refinery ERP system has extensive transaction data including human resources, legal systems, financial systems, and materials and production planning, but the ERP system is not designed for supporting immediate operational decisions. For example, the ERP system contains total electricity data used for the month. However, that does not provide operations with any insight into the current daily electricity consumption for the refinery. It only contains the monthly amount to be paid.

Each plant is operated individually. To create a cohesive standard digital data infrastructure for collaboration, the information silos are the key problems to resolve. Eventually, each refinery needs to be integrated with the new operational excellence program.

Bill asked Tom to explain how a standard digital data infrastructure environment would enable the implementation of a continuous-improvement program for the entire company. Tom said Peter and the digital transformation team would explain at the company-wide meeting that they are working on a common naming convention for refineries, process unit areas, materials, and equipment so everyone across the company uses the same terms and sees a common usage of data when reporting and analyzing operations.

A common language will help integrate the data silos at each location. When installed, the real-time EIDI will connect all relevant systems and provide access to data from any asset.

Peter said it would be important to compare the company's current system to the new digital data infrastructure system Proclndustries is implementing (Figure 2.6). Peter pulled up a diagram showing a typical architecture using an enterprise-wide digital data infrastructure rollout to an entire corporation, including multiple sites. Such a rollout is vital to maintain one version of the system, which supports data for many functions. It is a prerequisite to implementing an operational excellence program, which requires a standardized approach.

There are many benefits to standardizing a common real-time digital data infrastructure across multiple refineries. "Besides reducing implementation costs and standardizing system training, a common digital data infrastructure allows experienced engineers and managers to share their expertise and insights with colleagues in other refineries," Bill said. In addition, remote engineers and managers will easily be able to monitor overall fleet performance, while comparing metrics of similar units among several refineries.


Enterprise data architecture across multiple plants.

Bill said the refinery sites can be located anywhere in the world. Figure 2.6 shows a schematic of the integration of many sites using a local digital data infrastructure connected to all areas at all of the company's refineries. The system enables Proclndustries to establish competence centers that provide assistance to remote refineries, which do not have enough staff members to perform real-time process analysis. By working with in-house experts at a competence center, workers at a remote refinery can still participate in the continuous- improvement program.

Peter said that with advances in the industrial Internet of things (IIoT), cloud computing, mobility, and big data, the availability of sensor data from all types of assets will increase over time, ultimately expanding the digital data infrastructure system.

"The cloud provides a secure way to connect to distributed sites. Mobile computing devices, such as tablets, can connect people in real time. In addition, the digital data infrastructure can exploit big data and predictive analytics to improve the quality of the insights that our data analysis tools provide," said Peter.

As the meeting concluded, Peter summarized the benefits of the EIDI for different levels of the company:

Enterprise Level

  • • Enterprise functional and plant-level information is consistently based on the same version of data.
  • • Enterprise-wide real-time data access better leverages domain specialists for process support.
  • • Yield accounting is based on validated data, traceable to the source.
  • • Planning is based on real-time access to validated plant floor data on inventory and availability.
  • • Proactive condition-based maintenance management will be implemented and integrated with production planning and execution.
  • • Environmental reporting will integrate process operating data and environmental measurement systems.
  • • Safety-related data is integrated with process data and equipment data for risk analysis and assessment.
  • • The EIDI information can be extracted and integrated into corporate business systems and advanced analytics.

Regional Level

• Data sharing is enabled with higher level enterprise systems, which allows integration with content management, to support plant engineers with access to approved procedures, plant documentation, and current drawings.

  • • EIDI allows for standardization of process units for enterprise benchmarking and fleet-type enterprise evaluations for improvements.
  • • Real-time plant-level data collection is done with full auditing capability, with a trail to the source of the data.
  • • Material tracking and product genealogy functions will obtain EIDI data.
  • • This enterprise model enables real-time operational reporting and analysis on plant and process performance to all levels of management.
  • • Production volumes are based on real-time material balancing.
  • • Process yields are based on material balancing.
  • • Energy and water consumption are based in real-time balancing.

Individual Refineries

  • • The infrastructure architecture leverages existing data from distributed control systems (DCSs), programmable logic controllers (PLCs), and advanced process control models.
  • • It allows independent upgrades to plant-level automation systems (DCS, PLCs, etc.), as the EIDI is control-system agnostic.

"Competence centers are an important point to emphasize," said Peter. Proclndustries plans to have competence centers to provide support and coaching for the whole enterprise. The competence centers will assist staff at the company's refineries to understand how to work with the digital data infrastructure and implement process improvements. For example, Peter said, new environmental guidelines require clear performance indicators for monitoring energy and water usage, as well as compliance with environmental and safety regulations at all sites.

To summarize, Bill shared the following illustration (Figure 2.7). With an employee at the center of the action, the digital data infrastructure provides information on key metrics so that an employee can perform his or her job, focus on ways to improve, ways to serve customers, and by doing so, improve the company's profitability. Additionally, it is well-known that when companies focus on the safety aspects, their profitability increases (Intech 2018).

Bill explained that it is Proclndustries' vision to work on the six process improvement elements in tandem and be able to drill down to the desired level of detail. The system should provide easy access to operating procedures, safety and environmental regulations, asset mechanical information, quality guidelines, and chemical engineering process simulation.

"For example, during implementation of the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration regulations for the oil industry, it became evident


The six elements to improve refinery operations.

that not everyone at Proclndustries is familiar with the latest process safety- management information. I believe the digital data infrastructure will help us all get up to speed," he said (Bascur et al. 1992).

According to a survey by LNS Research, organizations using safety culture, procedures, and technologies avoid safety incidents and improve business performance. Organizations in which environmental health and safety (EHS), operations, and engineering collaborate to improve all aspects of safety report a median incident rate 15% lower than those without this tight collaboration. "Using this knowledge, our digital transformation team includes collaboration to increase safety as a viable part of their plan," noted Bill.

< Prev   CONTENTS   Source   Next >