Customers handle complex plant processes all day long. Yet many admit they’re not sure how to tackle plant information strategically across departments and locations. Our energy & engineering expert Joe Morray starts a blog series by pinpointing the main categories of content “powering” today’s energy plants.
Many of you might wonder what the heck this headline has to do with energy and engineering. Obviously, I’m writing about a different kind of plant (power, refining, etc.) and different streams (as in work processes and the flow of information).
A Plant’s Work Streams
A process or power plant represents a highly complex set of physical components, activities, and interdependent information, but I will argue that there are fundamentally
three work streams that require our attention. Defining these is important, allowing us to identify and map the information that feeds each one, and thus effectively navigate the streams. Two work streams are well known, with major systems available to address them:
- Maintenance management and work order processing: Fueled by information that helps plan and execute preventive and reactive maintenance activities, the information includes equipment details, tag information, and repair procedures. Information is typically maintained in a maintenance management or CMMS system.
- Plant operations and the process control: This requires the vast data delivered by the plant digital control system and allows the efficient and safe operations of the plant.
There is a third stream which is enacted every day, though occasionally not distinguished from the two above:
- The plant information management work stream, which we call the management of the Plant Information Asset: The requisite information to support these activities includes operating information (specifications, drawings, schematics, etc.), management of change documentation, procedures, training materials, and regulatory/licensing documentation.
The Third Work Stream
I have often seen the information for this third work stream spread across numerous repositories, shared drives, paper, and all forms of personal computers. There is no consistent or current view of data, and thus there are significant implications to plant efficiency, safety, and compliance.
The lesson we have learned over and over again? Having a consolidated set of electronic information to flow through the third work stream is critical. And it does not come from the CMMS system or the process control system.
I’m Missing Information – Where Do I Start?
It’s helpful to first understand your plant’s position in the information maturity spectrum. A good starting point is to compare yourself to the maturity model in this eBook.
In my next blog, we can discuss real-life examples of what is often overlooked if the third work stream is misunderstood or left unaddressed. We can also detail the many benefits incurred when maintenance management and content management applications work in synergy.
Regardless of your stage, align your applications and systems to span all three work streams and their related information sets. Any questions or comments? Share your feedback below.