The goal: One platform to manage all assets—and protect all employees
chemicals and petroleum industry, asset management solutions are critically important not just because they increase the business value of all assets, but also because they can help protect the most valuable asset of all: the workforce.In the
Partly this is because of the unique asset classes involved. More than most other industries, the chemicals and petroleum sector utilizes large-scale, distributed assets deployed both on land and water in order to fulfill tasks such as exploration, production, transportation, and refining. Examples include drilling rigs; offshore platforms; on-land well sites; pipelines; floating production; and storage vessels, terminals, refineries, and specialized petrochemical facilities. Each is necessary, but each also implies a range of operational risks and challenges.
In order to hit business and operational targets, and increase overall performance and reliability, these assets must be continually configured, monitored, and maintained properly. That's a difficult challenge in and of itself, given the fact that such assets aren't by nature part of the IP infrastructure.
And beyond asset management per se, key questions of employee health and safety also arise in this context. Chemicals and petroleum organizations must continually strive to secure the workforce by leveraging proven best practices to create the safest, most reliable operating environments possible. Not only is this demanded by internal mandates and ethical guidelines, but external government regulations as well—the violation of which could lead to significant penalties and brand damage.
Just as assets continually change, however, so too do operating and environmental conditions and employee safety levels. That means chemicals and petroleum organizations need ways to minimize the odds of any type of safety-related incident, and respond in the fastest, most effective manner when problems do come up.
Ideally, in fact, they'd be able to manage both their assets and their employee safety using the same centralized platform, since after all, asset management and employee safety are so closely related in this industry.
IBM Maximo Health, Safety, and Environmental Manager provides extensive, fully-integrated capabilities to drive up employee safety and simplify regulation compliance
Enter IBM Maximo—a leading family of enterprise-class asset management solutions that provides a unified information repository and business process engine to manage all assets, of all kinds. For chemicals and petroleum organizations, that implies much faster, simpler, and more comprehensive asset management even for the largest and most complex assets, such as drilling rigs and pipelines.
More than 300 organizations in this industry use Maximo solutions every day in order to track asset status and health, orchestrate maintenance and configuration tasks, and thus increase the total lifecycle of all assets—leveraging them for more business value, over a longer period of time.
And because IBM is committed to continually improving its solutions to support emerging customer needs and interests, the IBM Maximo family has recently been augmented with a new member: IBM Maximo Health, Safety, and Environmental Manager.
This offering empowers chemicals and petroleum organizations with unified, best-practices-driven oversight of safety initiatives and operating environments in real time. It significantly mitigates many of the challenges involved in keeping the workforce safe, while also making it much easier to fulfill the terms of pertinent regulations.
And because the new offering integrates seamlessly with the larger Maximo platform, all of that extra power is available to current IBM clients with very little added complexity. The Maximo solution will simply perform more tasks, generate more insight, and add more value, in one of the areas where new value is needed most: safety.
"IBM Maximo Health, Safety, and Environmental Manager helps organizations better understand assets, the changes they require, and the processes by which those changes are carried out. It delivers, in other words, enhanced transparency and visibility for all operations, safety, maintenance, and engineering tasks."
While no solution can fully eliminate hazardous conditions in the chemicals and petroleum industry or the safety incidents that sometimes occur, it's very helpful to be able to manage incidents centrally and analytically.
What's meant by "centrally and analytically?" Consider incidents as defined by multiple dimensions: work, personnel, safety, health, and environments. The goal should be to collect incident information involving all of these dimensions in one place, then analyze it, looking for trends or patterns.
Once those are discovered, the organization can take logical steps to address problems proactively, reducing the odds of any recurrence of that type of incident, or even preventing it completely. Over time, that kind of analytics-driven incident management can make the entire organization, and all operating environments, much safer.
IBM Maximo Health, Safety, and Environmental Manager provides just such capabilities. In addition to comprehensive incident reporting, it allows organizations to analyze those reports, sifting through data for new insights. The insights can then be applied quickly and easily via business rules and included power workflow features to increase overall safety.
In cases where incident recurrence can't be fully eliminated, the solution can see to it that incidents are handled in a faster and more effective way by automatically assigning appropriate team members to take action. It can also automatically escalate key information for even more extensive analysis based on business policies.
One example of such an escalation might involve an unusually complex safety incident involving unexpected mechanical failure. Isolating that failure to its underlying cause—a particular part that was misconfigured, perhaps, or a maintenance task that should have happened but didn't—could help an organization prevent a future incident of the same kind.
Tracing incidents in this fashion, though—backwards through time and across the complete infrastructure—requires advanced capabilities to span multiple domains and information repositories as necessary.
Fortunately, IBM Maximo Health, Safety, and Environmental Manager includes these capabilities. Using them, chemicals and petroleum organizations can access information ranging from historical incidents of a similar nature to known asset defects to work orders. Then, root cause analysis can be used to investigate the incident in as much detail as required to explain (trace) it.
Also helpful: impact assessment, solution documentation, and documentation of lessons learned—all key to minimizing the odds of recurrence by creating a safer environment for the workforce.
Another key feature of this solution: optimized change management.
When change is required—such as deployment of new assets, asset updates or reconfiguration, or new cross-domain asset integration—that change should be orchestrated via proven best practices, to ensure business goals are achieved with the least new risk introduced and the smallest possible odds of a safety-related incident.
Toward that end, IBM Maximo Health, Safety, and Environmental Manager helps organizations better understand assets, the changes they require, and the processes by which those changes are carried out. It delivers, in other words, enhanced transparency and visibility for all operations, safety, maintenance, and engineering tasks.
To clarify and consolidate relevant information and processes, the solution can incorporate details from all relevant documents, such as safety plans, environmental controls, mechanical and operating procedures, and maintenance task plans.
This additional context makes it much easier for changes of all kinds to be designed and fulfilled in a governed manner, creating very few unexpected developments or ramifications. Change management strategies can be created and improved in every logical stage, from initial plan development to subsequent phases of review, plan approval, and plan implementation.
Given such a carefully orchestrated process, the overall chances of a safety incident emerging from change fall—and the odds of complying with government regulations rise.
One of the most basic ways to maximize safety and workplace health lies in maximizing conformance: assets and processes that completely fulfill predefined specifications, engineering standards, and regulatory requirements.
The idea is simple: Go with what works best. Anything that's been exhaustively tested and is known to be safe and effective should be leveraged as completely as possible, whenever possible.
Unfortunately, this isn't always a practical option. While chemicals and petroleum organizations strive to achieve conformance wherever possible, there are inevitably many asset types or processes that don't conform in such predefined ways. Common examples would include unusual materials, components, or parts required by assets to carry out business tasks. Because they're unusual, they imply a special case and challenge for asset management solutions.
IBM Maximo Health, Safety, and Environmental Manager helps handle these cases in several different ways. First, the solution can be used to identify such instances, essentially creating an inventory of non-conformance. Subsequently, that inventory can be analyzed in different ways—evaluated and reviewed to detect situations in which a safety issue or compliance violation might be expected to emerge as a result.
The effect is to turn a spotlight on a particular area (non-conformance) where added risk could apply, and thus give the organization more insight into what can be done to minimize that risk.
Compliance is certainly a challenge in many industries and IT domains. But it's a particularly significant challenge in the chemical and petroleum industry, and meeting the terms of relevant regulations is even more crucial than usual.
While unauthorized access of sensitive patient information would be very unfortunate to healthcare organizations, and credit card number theft would be devastating to businesses in the retail sector, neither situation compares to the possibility that employees could be physically hurt or killed.
Completely fulfilling the terms government regulations designed to keep that from happening is more than a goal—it's a mandate.
And in order to make that compliance as straightforward as possible, IBM Maximo Health, Safety, and Environmental Manager includes a range of features directly on point.
It can, for instance, correlate regulation terms with specific assets at specific locations—identifying which are pertinent to regulations and which are not, and notifying organizations when and where special action should be taken as a result. It can also provide similar correlation for particular work orders or job plans, ensuring that business tasks and processes (just like business assets) are continually in compliance.
As a result, both the costs and complexity of adhering to government regulations falls considerably—and the workforce is considerably better protected.
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