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How Connected Workforce and Conduct of Operations Work Together to Deliver Operational Discipline

April 23, 2020

Many companies today are focusing on Operational Discipline, which is a positive for our industry. If you accept that Operational Discipline is everyone doing the right thing, every time, we can agree that it’s difficult to achieve Operational Discipline without a competent workforce. At Operational Sustainability, LLC, we believe managing your workforce should be a connected, technology-enabled, holistic effort, with competency as an outcome.

Conduct of Operations (CoO) is how we enable people to do the right thing every time and ensure that the right things do, in fact, happen. It is a core foundational element to moving to the Connected Workforce model we believe delivers the best competency outcomes.

The goals of Conduct of Operations are:

  • Competent workforce
  • Safe workplace
  • Procedure discipline
  • Shift management
  • Asset management
  • Control of work
  • Safety lifecycle management, including
  • Abnormal situations and SIS bypass
  • Continuous improvement

If you think about the goals above for CoO, then in short, a Connected Workforce is one that, through the power of mobile and wearable devices, is able to send and receive critical information at the point of work. That connectivity is what enables the workforce to do the right things, every time, and for management to know that the right things are happening.

This approach breaks down traditional views for a number of key operational aspects:

  • Management of Change
  • Procedural Automation and Engineering Content Management
  • Competency-Based Culture / Human Factors (situational risk and awareness)
  • Operational Human-Machine Interface / Decision Support
  • Conduct of Operations
  • Team Collaboration
  • Safety Lifecycle Management / Safe Operating Limits
  • Process Safety Management
  • Mechanical Integrity / Asset Health
  • Production Loss Management

To achieve their goal of competency and Operational Discipline, companies need to have a solid foundation for Total Workforce Management. That starts with Job Role Maps and Competency Assessments. The gaps identified become the training plan. Taken altogether, the four key aspects of the Connected Workforce then are:

Circle graphic that shows the 4 elements that make up a Connected Workforce: Conduct of Operations, Asset Performance Management, Engineering Content Management, and Total Workforce Management.

The connected workforce model shifts companies away from traditional training-based cultures to competency-based culture, but it goes even further. The goal is to put the right information in front of field personnel at the right time to make a risk-informed decision based upon current operating context. This leverages information from multiple sources – including data historians. The connected worker is able to see hazard information, leverage procedures, see if equipment is running beyond its design limit, and access other key information – all from a tablet or phone. Decisions can be made based upon visibility into the entire pile of data and can be communicated much faster. The outcome is a reliable, profitable, and inherently safer plant. A single pane of glass is the key to effective timely decisions with simple intuitive navigation.

Plenty of technology is available today for enabling a Connected Workforce. The challenge is in breaking down departmental barriers and driving a consensus on the value of a “single pane of glass” as an outcome.

Mobility is a catalyst for managing and delivering information to and from the point of work execution, along with supporting operations work processes, addressing changes, and providing information based upon the lifecycle of the asset.

The building blocks of a Connected Workforce include:

  • A mobile strategy and platform
  • Procedural automation
  • Competency-based culture (based on job role maps, competency assessment, learning management)
  • A robust operations management system (starting with rounds, logs, and shift handover)
  • An asset registry
  • A regulatory compliance strategy and supporting systems to manage operational risks including MOC

There is a maturity path companies need to take to build a Connected Workforce. As companies mature, they will begin to see more effective decisions being made in the field. Each interoperability point will drive more visibility and operating efficiency. At the final maturity level, a resilient plant emerges where visualization and analytics create sustainable excellence.

Graphic that shows the 4 phases of Connected Workforce Maturity. Phase 1: Basic connected workforce. Phase 2: Intermediate connected workforce. Phase 3: Advanced connected workforce. Phase 4: Intelligent connected workforce.

The Connected Workforce is the key to an efficient workforce. Conduct of Operations and Total Workforce management are foundational components. If your company is starting the journey towards more effective Connected Workforce programs or looking to improve your existing processes, Operational Sustainability, LLC® provides solutions to help clients assess current work practices, leverage information technology and develop next-generation, best-in-class Connected Workforce programs.

Let us know if we can help you assess your opportunity to gain a competitive edge.