Data Turns into Workflows: Workflows Adopted by People Turn into Meaningful Change

As the South Texas refinery continues to implement the EIDI, and the work teams start to use it as part of their daily work routine, the transformation team notices that people are starting to use the EIDI data to address issues within their own work groups. Once they find they have achieved some initial successes, they start to collaboratively work with other teams at the refinery, armed with the needed information.

With success, they begin to see challenges unfold that must be addressed. Change management is one of these issues. Improvement means change, and change means a different way of working. As processes and systems change, people often need to change their way of doing things. This is difficult, as most people have a natural resistance to change. Change is also difficult for the people who design systems. When implementing change, they sometimes try to replace people, limit their actions, or avoid human involvement. This tendency limits the effectiveness of the resulting systems and processes. Often companies forget that there is a natural reduction in productivity during the implementation of systems or workflow changes. Not allowing for this tends to lead to longer periods of system underutilization.

Management often deems an initiative of this magnitude prematurely complete when initially realizing quantifiable positive results, when a number of the old problems are resolved. In reality, this is the time to assess work- flow effectiveness and make changes where necessary. It is also a good time to brainstorm and determine how the system and workflows can be better improved to solve additional business problems or reduce worker inefficiencies.

What You Should Take Away

In this chapter, we learned that management needs to fully endorse the EIDI initiative, support employees in their adoption of the new system, and make sure the team has sufficient training to be successful utilizing the new system. Leadership should encourage collaborative efforts in solving business issues and should reward people demonstrating that behavior.

If there are change management issues, either logistical or with people struggling with the change, the team leadership needs to address and solve these issues.

Proclndustries has taken the appropriate steps to make sure refinery teams' voices are heard so that the new EIDI and new workflows address everyone's needs. They have also put a plan in place to make sure people are properly trained how to access and visualize EIDI data. Employees will receive sufficient training so that they can customize their personal dashboards and displays to fit their needs.

The teams are getting more comfortable in collaborating among the various refinery groups, as evidenced by more people following the new workflow guidelines when they detect an abnormal operating condition. Before long, the engineers will start to investigate and recommend how to improve plant processes, based on historical data analysis. The maintenance team has already begun to implement a proactive condition-based maintenance program to identify the underperforming refinery assets. In the next chapter, we present strategies for asset management best practices.

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