Companies cannot operate reliably, safely and profitably without having all People, Processes and Assets operating in harmony.
As technology changes and equipment is re-engineered, processes require updating and people need to be retrained to maintain operational integrity. However, with incidents such as Deep Water Horizon, Texas City and others, global awareness has shone a light where operational integrity goals fall short. The People, Processes and Assets are all interdependent.
Whether its pulling oil or rock out of the ground or operating a hydroelectric dam, the goal is to safely achieve profitability and efficiency targets. The increasing complexity of operations and systems can make it difficult to strike the right balance between business risk and operational targets. Additionally, each operation has unique characteristics defined by its usage, specifications, location and purpose. Getting it wrong can have grave consequences. A systemic focus on the cooperation between three key elements: People, Process and Assets, will help find the right harmony.
The Systems: People, Process and Assets
From the perspective of operational integrity, assets, people and processes cannot be regarded in isolation. As more and more Root Cause Analyses are done, they show people and processes are often the primary issues behind the incident, not the asset. Even a new and adequately equipped asset will not meet its production or purposed target if the crew is not capably trained or the processes aren’t clear to guide the people to managing the asset.
The three aspects are heavily interdependent, requiring a thorough understanding of how they combine together.
People are the backbone of an organization. The ‘People’ element relates to staff suitability. This is about effectiveness of people within their jobs. It starts with the perspective of what is critical for operational integrity, both from operations and from business support, cascading through the entire operation. Factors of influence here are recruitment, development and continuous improvement, as well as the conditions under which staff operates, which anchors back into assets and processes.
The people element is composed of four main aspects:
- Structure and responsibility: management structure, organization.
- Human Resource (HR) Management: job description, hiring and placement, selection criteria and communication.
- Competence: competence requirements, staff experience, certification; in general, the ability to demonstrate relevant experience within last five years for similar services and circumstances provided to any client.
- Training: Training requirement, training efforts; in general: the ability to demonstrate adequate systems are in place to train and educate staff. This includes on site, on-the-job training, drills, exercises, etc.
Every organization needs assets in place to operate efficiently, whether it’s a server, oil platform or a truck.
Assets refer to equipment, land, software, tools, vehicles or anything else that drives production and profitability. In Operational Asset Integrity, “Assets” refer to “hardware”-in-operation and focuses on safely meeting performance standards. With equipment, inspections effectively identify potential problems and assess their criticality at any point in time. In improving failing software, customer feedback proves very successful.
Process refers to the whole set of organizational arrangements that support the operation, such as processes (defining tasks, responsibilities and the interactions with others or with equipment or tools), organization structures and tools (forms or reports) and how they meld together into a smooth roadmap for the operation. Every operation has processes in place; HSE and maintenance management processes are commonplace for the energy industry. A process defines what needs to happen, when, to which standard, in what sequence, by whom, using what, etc. Processes connect the elements into a joined up purpose: meeting the operational targets safely and adequately.
Well-balanced processes create efficiencies throughout the operation. The individual elements become cogs in the wheel of the bigger system, allowing for improved predictability, which in turn allows for a proactive, risk-based approach. Also, knowing where the risks are allows companies to take adequate control of their operation.
What does this mean for you?
Having an Operational Integrity Management System (OIMS) in place allows your organization to have a framework to successfully navigate the potential risks and downfalls always present inside and outside your organization and industry. OIMS also provides a clear control mechanism to push your business higher to achieve new possibilities in a cost effective way.
OIMS provides procedures, processes and action plans for many different areas such as Management, Risk Assessment, Facilities Planning, Personnel, Operations, Change Management and Environmental Stewardship. Following this system creates a safe operating environment for your employees, contractors, general public and company assets.
In addition, an Operational Integrity Management System addresses Emergency Preparedness and provides a plan of action if something happens to go wrong. During a crisis, an action plan and level-head are needed to mitigate any real or potential damages.
Ongoing evaluation is essential to the continued success and effectiveness of the goals set by OIMS. Let Haploos know what we can do for your organization.