Tuesday 3 April 2012

Operational excellence as industries seek to streamline plant operations

Advanced software applications digitise production processes to automate steps for critical consistency and increased reliability with lower risk and cost

GE Intelligent Platforms has announced the availability of Work Process Management (WPM) solutions to digitise and streamline production operations—addressing the critical need to reduce process variations that lead to increased errors, risks and costs. From work instructions for common tasks to corrective action during out-of-spec events and emergencies, these solutions integrate automated and manual work processes across system and departmental boundaries, enabling dynamic decision making for reliable, repeatable process execution.

Work Process Management solutions include GE’s ground-breaking Proficy® Workflow and solutions based on that product including Proficy for eSOP, Proficy SCADA Alarm Response Management and Proficy Production Corrective Action. In addition, the company is integrating industry specific Workflow-based solutions into the Proficy portfolio.

“Optimising operations requires a work process management system to define, model and coordinate each organization’s production workflows and resources,” said Matt Wells, General Manager, Work Process Management Solutions. “A Work Process Management system digitises procedures to guide operators, track actions for reporting, and align business and plant processes for rapid response to normal and unusual events. Proficy Workflow applications drive proper notification and action by triggering corrective workflows and tasks through integrated real-time transactions.”

“The global economic downturn is driving the need to reduce costs and waste – do more with less,” said Erik Udstuen, Software & Services Vice President for GE Intelligent Platforms. “Aging workforces drive employee attrition and new, inexperienced operators have a higher potential for errors. There are now more stringent regulations across industries where companies need documentation to support their claims of compliance. That’s where the Proficy solutions come in. Proficy is the platform that delivers results to improve operations.”

WPM digitises and streamlines production and can integrate business and production processes across systems and departments for reliable, repeatable process execution. With Proficy for eSOP, companies can easily document processes, transfer knowledge and drive critical consistency and predictability into the plant. It allows for digitisation of manual and automated processes with one tool across the entire facility – from plant operators and maintenance teams to field crews and leadership.

“Work Process Management can also drive real-time asset management, bridging Operations and Maintenance teams and linking SCADA and CMMS,” said Wells. “With real-time asset management, organisations can reduce maintenance costs and improve uptime.”

With GE’s eSOP solution, companies can achieve real-time, condition-based asset management. When an out-of-spec event takes place in the SCADA, eSOP can trigger a work process to interface with the CMMS system, secure a work order number, send specific instructions including GIS location information to an operator, and facilitate the corrective action to remediate a problem. eSOP can then close out the work order with the CMMS, whether plant or GIS centric, and record the actions taken for historical records. Companies can reduce the need for operators making scheduled rounds and device readings – and automate the process of moving from condition detected to creating work requests and the right corrective action. That means less downtime, maintenance, risk – and lower costs.

“Work Process Management is the next step in the Operational Excellence journey,” said Udstuen. “Repeatable, consistent operations are the ultimate goals for manufacturers today. With Proficy, you can achieve the right actions at the right time, every day – from common tasks to critical emergencies and close the loop on industrial operations to minimise errors and risk, reduce waste, and ensure compliance.”

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