With tight markets and high-operating costs,
asset-intensive organisations need cost-effective ways to maintain the
production, integrity and safety of their assets.
In many cases this process has been inefficient and
inconsistent, and at times, offered incorrect results. As we move into the era
of data-driven solutions, there are a number of opportunities for
asset-intensive organisations. They can take advantage of available
technologies to help them use their data more efficiently, extending the life
of their assets and ensuring productivity, safety and performance step changes.
The information is there, but could it be managed better?
As an asset evolves, so too does the data and information that surrounds it.
Iteration after iteration of prospective plans, updates from maintenance
checks, real-time data analytics and other records all make up what is often
called the "digital asset." This digital asset can tell a profound
story about a physical asset’s current condition.
The challenge for asset operators is to manage this information efficiently and
ensure it is used at the right time to support organisational decision-making
frameworks. This is particularly important when it comes to using operational
data effectively to assess the integrity, safety and performance of an asset
during daily operations.
Quite often asset information is siloed, housed in a poor management system. As
a result, it isn’t utilised properly or kept up-to-date. In an ideal world,
asset-intensive companies would track the information for all components that
make up an asset in a single, end-to-end process that informs operations,
maintenance and integrity.
But we already know this. We know that creating a digitised data model of an
asset will improve safety risk, maintenance activities, procurement and overall
performance. These models are being developed by a number of companies across
industries where financial, human, physical and data information frameworks
work in collaboration with tools, authorities and accountabilities as part of
an integrated asset management structure.
What’s missing are ways to transfer these models into a mature operations
environment where the normalisation of cultures and systems often prevent the
development of enhanced asset integrity and safety management.
Shifting the way we approach the project from the very start
Building and operating assets generates immense amounts of data. A systematic
view of how data will be captured and used for subsequent governance processes
needs to be developed based on a one team, one objective model.
A mature asset management strategy must be determined through a well-documented
and embedded approach to using available data as a single source of truth.
Without this approach, we could be lowering our defences against major events
such as Texas City and Buncefield.
Such events have intensified focus on process safety integrity, leadership, key
performance measures and organisational competence in recent years. However,
the UK’s Health and Safety Executive (HSE), among others, is still seeing
evidence of process safety management practices and accountabilities being
disjointed, with a wide variety of interpretation of their
What’s more, the latest EU Major Accident Hazard (MAH) directive, "Seveso
III 2015," calls for operators to review past accidents and incidents with
the same substances and processes used and ensure the lessons learned and
findings are integrated into their operations.
Key to this is the removal of the "silo factor" and the development
of a clear information management framework covering each asset and the
organisation as a whole.
Three key steps
To support the implementation of an integrated framework for mature assets,
three key steps are typically required:
1. Assuring strategic implementation across all
A structured and coherent Operational Data Management strategic
policy must be built. This strategy needs to incorporate all the correct
systems – current and new – that will set the business and asset up for future
Typically, each constituent member of the organisation has a recognised role to
play in delivering the organisation's operating integrity performance.
Effective implementation can only be achieved through a fully integrated and
collaborative process that encourages a constant team "uneasiness"
regarding the potential impacts of major hazards and how their latent conditions
evolve through an inefficiency to manage performance related data.
2. Data capture and remediation
If you’re capturing your data incorrectly or inefficiently it could cost you
millions – in data remediation or as a result of poor operations maintenance
planning. Data capture is continually becoming smarter and cheaper and there
are an abundance of technologies available to help organisations manage this
process. To ensure these technologies are embedded properly into the
organisation, a shift in the way our people think about data capture and its
importance is needed to see a lasting change, and to ultimately reap the
benefits. Defined data stewards trained and responsible for data information
decision making should be embedded across all functions, but managed at a
3. Using data to facilitate a mature asset change
Mechanisms are required to maximise the use and reuse of information. Our
organisational resources need to be aligned to work in a new manner. To
facilitate change, clear lines of data accountability, communication and
integration across business teams and project phases will need to be developed.
Disparate information sources abound – Process Flow Diagrams (PFDs) &
Piping and Instrumentation Diagrams (P&IDs), models and drawings, data
sheets, vendor data, geographic information system (GIS) data, operating
procedures, design documents, class library data and regulatory submissions to
mention a few.
Without an embedded asset data strategy, your asset integrity will suffer
Enhanced process safety through effective operations data integrity requires an
integrated approach across the organisation. With siloed behaviours increasing,
the risk of holes developing in the individual integrity of barriers increase,
which have resulted in the "Swiss cheese" domino effect associated
with the majority of major accidents.
Asset integrity and ultimately process safety can be significantly improved by
removing this silo factor through an integrated data management model clearly
linked to control major accident hazards - and these days, a lot of this can be
done without leaving the desk.
By providing an embedded asset strategy, focused on data capture and integrated
data usage, asset-intensive organisations will see decreased costs across their
operations, increased process safety performance and ultimately, reduced risk
exposure to people, assets and the environment.