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[ Insights from the SAP-Centric EAM 2013 Event - Huntington Beach March 2013 ( Part 9 of 12): This is part of a blog series brought to you by Norm Poynter and Paul Kurchina, designed to inspire and educate by sharing experiences with the SAP Enterprise Asset Management (EAM) Community. For the past nine years, the Eventful Group's SAP-Centric North American Event ( Supported by SAP and ASUG ) has brought together the EAM community to network, share ideas and experiences, and explore solutions for Enterprise Asset Management.]

All too often, there’s a problem when operations takes over a project at the handover phase from the engineering, procurement and construction contractors, and tries to operate a facility at nameplate capacity. The transferal is usually riddled with misinformation – or information that is not succinct or clear enough that operations can easily consume it.

Even more disturbing, the information is often inaccurate because change management processes have not been put in place to ensure redlined drawings or updated data books and equipment records are in place for operations. An operation needs a fully functioning library ready to draw upon when taking charge of a facility.

At the SAP-centric EAM Conference in March, Maria Abella, senior manager of process integration at Suncor Energy, and Teresa Brooks, director of process integration at Suncor, presented steps to make information handover at a new facility much easier.

Abella and Brooks offered advice on how to:

  • Break down silos to establish governance and stewardship among external and internal stakeholders
  • Manage multiple tools and databases effectively to collect and maintain asset data
  • Use dashboards for more effective communication

“ In the automobile industry, master data on a $25K vehicle (30,000 parts) and its related repair and replace procedures is readily available for any vehicle to any licensed mechanic (for example, “Snap-On” tools and software). So why is this so difficult to maintain for a multi-billion dollar plant ? " asked Abella.

There are plenty of examples of big projects experiencing an information black hole at the time of startup, resulting in significant production loss and huge safety issues. It wears people out trying to work in an environment where they can’t find the information they need. It makes it tough to do the job of maintaining a facility.

Abella and Brooks offered seven recommendations for building integration literacy between major projects and operations:

  1. Establish governance
  2. Build a roadmap for asset master data
  3. Define ownership and accountability
  4. Define operations readiness
  5. Establish shared services agreements
  6. Build KPIs and dashboards to measure asset information
  7. Enable technology to meet interim and long term requirements

As long as we’ve put literacy into play, I like to think of this problem from the standpoint of a library. We’ve forgotten how to be librarians when it comes to handling information. We’ve catapulted this expectation over the fence to IT and are expecting computer systems to auto-magically file, categorize, and govern the information. Well, let me ask you this: how easily can you find your own files ? When was the last time you went searching for a Microsoft Office document that you created, only a short time ago, and knew exactly where you filed it, only to come up empty handed and embarrassed ? I will venture to guess this happens more often than you care to admit. The point is that it’s too easy to create information (data, documents, drawings) and it’s too hard to store them in a readily retrievable library.

It’s great to say, “Hey, we’ll build a factory and we’ll spend billions on it and it’s going to start up on this day and produce X amount of product.” But when we build a physical plant, we must also build a virtual plant of information. It’s a longstanding concept. Therefore the statement above needs to be  “….and the information will be considered an asset and be expected to produce information products of a similar nature to the physical products. ” The challenge is, we create an information requirement definition at a high level and proceed to think everyone involved in the project will provide information to produce a library at the end of the day. This just doesn’t happen.

If we were to physically as part of the project build a library and staff it with librarian to control information coming in and going out, we’d have a much better mechanism for controlling information and reaping its benefits.  Because of regulations, some industries do this well, notably the pharmaceutical, nuclear and airline industries. You expect an airplane to be complete, reliable and safe…..right ? It wouldn’t be that way without information!

So here’s a call to action: Everyone who is involved in managing information, whether they have influence or not, must be aware of the impact they are having. Everyone in the space should take the time to understand the full asset lifecycle of information—from idea to creation to the asset being destroyed. This needs to be managed. There are many places to be educated on this. Intergraph, NRX, SAP, OpenText, and ISO 15926 (there are more) all have information about standards on this topic.

To learn more, view Maria Abella’s and Teresa Brooks’ presentation

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