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Intelligent Operations

Intelligent Operations: The Road to Operational Excellence

Industry continues to seek new ways to enhance financial performance. Intelligent Operations is a bold new approach to achieve Operational Excellence (OpEx). It uses digital transformation to optimize production, minimize equipment downtime, enhance human performance, and manage operational risks.

Intelligent Operations Lifecycle graphic

To do this, companies need to break down existing departmental, management, cultural, and data management silos.

Core Fabric to Intelligent Operations

Intelligent Operations is an agile, responsive, proactive framework that can be quickly modified as an organization matures. The key is driving interoperability of processes to unlock new business value. By building a relevant single source of truth, companies can simplify redundant processes and create a master data governance structure that undergirds the entire Intelligent Operations platform. The core building blocks include people, materials, and equipment.

The two foundational ingredients for Intelligent Operations are integrated Management of Change and Enterprise Loss Prevention. At the core, Intelligent Operations addresses the management of risk and the elimination of waste. One of they key benefits of Intelligent Operations is to move to an “Asset Based” outcome, which is critical for models that focus on prognostics on equipment.

Not only do the building blocks need to be in place, companies need to assess the type of data and frequency of data collection to enable artificial intelligence (AI) to be utilized in the more advanced stages of intelligent operations. Today, most of the data collected is transactional in nature and the frequency and quality of information greatly limits the potential of AI to detect patterns and anomalies. But implementing an Intelligent Operations framework today helps organizations future-proof their technology investments.

The next phase of maturity uses connectors and appliances to leverage external data sources such as data historians, laboratory information management systems (LIMS), Human Resource (HR) information, vibration monitoring via sensors and more. This data-rich environment drives diagnostic insights into key areas such as asset performance / asset health, operations, and production. In the final stages of maturity, mobility, simulation/modeling, and augmented reality can be leveraged to provide additional value. When fully mature, Intelligent Operations delivers an Operational Performance Management layer to help prioritize threats and manage corrective actions.

Foundation for Intelligent Operations

The interoperability of key safety aspects such as MOC, Corrective and Preventative Action (CAPA), Enterprise Loss Management and Risk Management afforded by Intelligent Operations is important as it automatically routes information and ensures key processes and knowledge is protected and distributed. Establishing these as foundational elements for Intelligent Operation is crucial to managing Operational Risks to enhance compliance assurance.

Simplified Operational Discipline: Enterprise Loss Prevention leads to Operational Excellence when sustained over time leads to Operational Integrity

Phases of Maturity

To achieve intelligent operations, companies need to build from the ground up on a common architecture. Attempting to leverage disparate architectures with overlapping functionality without a common data model simply isn’t feasible due to the sheer volume of interoperability points — typically several hundred. In that scenario, the amount of integration would be simply overwhelming; but without it, new process dependencies will also remain out of reach, limiting the business value that can be derived. It seems counterintuitive, but a ground up build is usually the most efficient and effective.

A basic maturity model for Intelligent Operations would look like this:

Phases of Maturity graphic

Business Benefits

Companies who achieve Intelligent Operations can achieve new levels of performance, leading to optimal profitability and top quartile performance. Additional business benefits include:

Intelligent Operations Benefits graphic


Companies are looking to reduce human error and improve Operational Discipline and efficiency.

Operational Sustainability, LLC can help companies develop a Conduct of Operations strategy. It starts with developing standards and procedures that define what each of these CoO Management Systems require and how to implement them. Once standards and procedures are in place, the focus shifts to how well are they being adhered to, and any gaps. As gaps are identified, OS provides a plan for closing those gaps. Finally, we create a continuous improvement process that includes auditing and performance measurements to monitor the health of the program.
CoO Management Systems Wheel

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