By | December 12, 2019

Supervisors and crew in the Power Generation and Utility industries face a balancing act when they go out to the field to perform maintenance, repairs or inspections. Work-team safety and productivity are constantly at risk as is the potential for a direct and immediate impact on the public at large.

The balance between safety and productivity is directly influenced, of course, by overriding business objectives. In the case of achieving uptime targets, organizations must proactively manage their asset lifecycles in a way that takes cost into consideration because budget, capacity and resources all have their limits. In addition to ensuring reliability, it’s critical to maintain the highest level of safety.

In industry today, assets are operating long beyond their original design life. They’re physically distributed, often very diverse and can potentially present very hazardous working environments where arc flashes, electrocution, fires, explosions and engulfment could occur.

Moreover, risks are often managed in different parts of the organization, across different systems, managed by different people with varying levels of visibility. Information is often siloed. Systems are organized functionally with little if any integration taken into consideration.

Traditional paper-based Permit to Work (PTW) systems or lockout/tagout (LOTO) procedures should align with company best practices. Still, frontline supervisors tasked with managing simultaneous operations only can deliver based on the tools available to them.

These often separately managed processes can lead to safety and risk management gaps, including inconsistent processes with work crews potentially doing things their way. With operational risks inconsistently managed and insufficient time on tools, lengthy staff and contractor wait times and limited field mobility, it’s no wonder McKinsey & Co. says as much as 80% of the benefit of Distribution Transformation will come from frontline productivity improvements

Integrated Risk Management 4.0 digitalization enables a preventive approach that helps optimize maintenance, reduce unnecessary downtime and improve work productivity. McKinsey & Co. research suggests that improving plant maintenance with the help of digitalization can increase earnings for Power Generation companies by 6.6%.

The industry is looking toward Operational Risk Management and Control of Work software to help connect maintenance, operations and the reality of how work gets executed on the ground. This will enable them to:

  • Standardize policy and procedures across crews, assets and organizations.
  • Provide tools to improve frontline productivity through reduced double-entry of data with templated best practices and field mobility that reduces supervisor and crew idle time.
  • Manage simultaneous operations to get more of the right work done safely and efficiently.

Download Sphera’s latest e-book to learn where Power Generation and Utilities operators must enable digital IRM 4.0 strategies.