Sunday, November 23, 2014

Convergence on Wisdom (applied Knowledge), and Industrial Analytics / Operation Intelligence grow in importance!!!

It seems like a while I have been talking about Operational Intelligence/ Industrial Analystics, and then the movment to Wisdom (Applied Knowledge) all as separate threads but I was asked the question last week:
 “how do they relate?” .
They are different, but all related to empowerment of operational workforce to make faster decisions, and take actions. As I pointed out last week one of the big drivers to platforms is to manage varience. We talk Supervisory, MES, Information, Simulation platforms, but as we pointed out must a “People Platform” that covers:
·         Collaboration between people
·         Supports the hosting of “Activities” with their embedded information/ knowledge and their associated actions.
·         Transformation of Information to Situation ally aware for the particular user interested/ interacting.
·         Management of Operational Work between team members
·         Notifications

·         Plus more

This will abstract the turnover of the workforce, abstracting the different skill levels, and experience levels, with embedded “Applied Knowledge (Wisdom),  so the experience is now in the system. A key concept for the this upcoming Operational Transformation.

Industrial Analytics provides the shift from the past through the present and into the future based on high fidelity models(from experience). Providing a new dimension to the workers tools, and thru the decision they are about to make. Combining the “Future”    providing answers to “what will happen!!!” with the recommended actions to take.
Providing the answer to “What should I do Next?” with experience, fore thought, and understanding. Operation Intelligence also aligns with this by providing a screens, presentation of the situation or “ know Questions” with context and awareness.

Operational Intelligence providing the worker an understanding of “Now” , where he is, and what the future holds, simple and clear. Increasingly I am being asked for this type of “Operational window” and view; it is not analysis it practical information around my current situation and immediate future. No configuration just a simple view of task or question provides the view and clear awareness, providing an answer.
Are these different experiences, No, they are all functional value expansions on each other, and should seen as building blocks in the road to providing and Operational Execution knowledge platform, with built in experience. Providing a foundation for absorbing turnover, transition in the workforce while maintaining operational consistency and efficiency.   

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Mastering Variety in Industrial Production, Issues a Challenge for Industrial Architectures and Drives the Requirement for Platform Strategies

For many businesses, variety (or choice) is core to the strategy where its effect cascades down to the execution level (as well as upstream in the B2B value chain.) The operational challenge of variety (or variability) is that it can create waste and inhibit velocity. The challenge and opportunity is with companies, especially as they move to unified value chains (multi plant manufacturing). “How do you manage this Variability, so that production consistency, agility and increased production output are achieved?”

“Standardization is not a business goal – it is a means to an end.
The goal of business is to make a profit.”
                                                             - Continuous Improvement Leader
Thus, any standardization effort must distinguish between the different types of variety in a way that maximizes profit without constraining the business strategy. Thus, the business challenge can be summed up (using the Food & Beverage example illustrated on the above) as follows:

  • Mastering necessary variety: More brand choices drive the number of order line items (SKUs) and master recipes, which in turn drive the resulting plant-level recipes that must accommodate the variations in process equipment as well as ingredients. This type of variety is necessary and must be mastered in order to survive and succeed against the competition. Other “necessary variability” are material composition variance from different suppliers or regions, raw materials will vary. Location delivery in skus due to language, for example, the same product will have to be delivered to different countries in different language or different quality requirements. All must be mastered to optimized production.

  • Accommodating unavoidable variety: Situations like M&A make it difficult to standardize on any single automation vendor, where “rip-and-replace” isn’t economically viable despite engineering’s desire for a more homogeneous environment. The growing one in this area is the “changing workforce” how do have a system that can accommodate a changing, (rotating) workforce while maintaining timely decisions and consistency in actions.

  • Eliminating unnecessary variety: Anything other than the above two scenarios would be eligible for standardization.

This challenge is driving companies to adopting “platform strategies” that abstract the variability and can absorb variability while provide a platform of services that enable standards to be built on. Providing the architecture for “sustainable innovation” through managed standards that can evolve over time. The word of standards can be operational models in supervisory for alignment of context and structure, as well as operational actions to guide users through tasks in a consistent way. Also, configuration of control strategies should be over multiple vendors, where common control standards for process can be deployed over multiple controllers but managed in structured way.
Does this mean one platform? NO, not for the industrial landscape different layers of the industrial operations landscape have different roles. Providing different services and different ability to absorb variety, but the common services between these platforms must enable them to “tightly aligned but loosely coupled”.
 As we have pointed out the key to success in this dynamic but changing world is the ability to “Master Necessary Variety” in your business, while “Accommodating Unavoidable Variation”, eliminating all other variation for efficiency.

Food for thought!

Friday, November 7, 2014

Applied Knowledge/ Wisdom Foundational to Internet of Things, and "Time to Performance" of Operational Teams

For the last couple of weeks, Stan DeVeries and I have been brainstorming around articulating this core area of the operational transformation, "the ability to have a system that can absorb workforce change/ turn over". Good example of this is with one company on the 2025 vision of "all knowledge/ experience in the system", this is capturing as much of the tribal "applied knowledge" that the experience operational staff are making decisions, and taking actions on and moving it to the system. If then applied in a "activity/task" based operational experience, a younger skilled user has the ability to select a "activity" and the associated knowledge/ information, and action are presented to him. Dramatically reducing the "Time to Performance" and increasing the consistency of operations, while increasing flexibility in operational workforce management.

The results of the discussions has brought the discussion around "Federated Wisdom, applied knowledge":

The explosion of information across industrial operations and enterprises creates a new challenge – how to find the “needles” of wisdom in the enormous “haystack” of information.
One of the analogies for the value and type of information is a chain from “data”, through “information” and “knowledge”, to “wisdom”.  In the industrial manufacturing and processing context, it may be helpful to use the following definitions:

·         "data” – raw data, which varies in quality, structure, naming, type and format

·         information” – enhanced data, which has better quality and asset structure, and may have more useable naming, types and formats

·         knowledge” – information with useful operational context, such as proximity to targets and limits, batch records, historical and forecasted trends, alarm states, estimated useful life, efficiency etc.

·         wisdom/Applied Knowledge” – prescriptive advice and procedures to help achieve targets such as safety, health, environment, quality, schedule, throughput, efficiency, yields, profits etc.

The cost to store and share data has dropped significantly, and a simplistic expectation is that although storage is growing by a factor of millions in only a few years, that somehow the following pattern evolves:

Although the pattern might seem to be convenient, it is actually a nightmare, because it becomes much harder to discover and translate knowledge and wisdom from another operation, especially in another location, to the local needs.  But there is a solution.

To understand the problem better, let’s consider the definition of “knowledge” – it includes context.  This context begins with local context – time, location, process or machinery configuration, raw materials, energy and products being processed or produced.  It is already valuable to have “wisdom” to achieve and sustain best performance for the community, customers and the corporation.  This local context only needs to know its immediate information, if it has enough “wisdom”.
Now let’s consider what happens when a single site, a fleet of similar sites, or an enterprise have numerous similar operations.  How can local “wisdom” be enhanced by using “wisdom” from the other operations, especially when all of these operations are sufficiently different?

The reason that solving this problem is important is for operations transformation, such as operating physical assets as one (in a chain or as peers), and by supporting the multiple operations with a flexible team of remote experts.

One approach to solving this problem is to take advantage of a technique used in distributed databases, where a technique called “federated information” is used, especially in industrial operations management architectures.  This technique does not change the local information’s naming or structure, but provides multiple translations, both across the database for multiple similar structures, and for multiple contexts such as what financial, technical support, scheduling, quality and other functions require.  This technique is an alternative to the fragility and complexity of attempting to force a uniform and encompassing naming and structure that attempts to satisfy all applications and users.

The same approach can be applied for “wisdom”.  Currently, hobbyists and enthusiasts around the world share “wisdom”, for restoring cars, making furniture, playing a musical instrument, gardening etc.  Anyone with no experience at all can ask for “where do I get started?”, and most respondents will provide kind advice; in the same forum, experts can share wisdom that is valuable and understandable by them at their level of experience.  This “wisdom” is extremely decentralized, and the experts are providing the translation.

In the industrial operations environment, federating “wisdom” is partially automated by expanding the local context.  This expansion includes information about adjacent operations, information about the chain or peers if these operations are being managed as one, and then “knowledge” is expanded by applying the context of group targets and performance.

Some enterprises have hundreds or as much as tens of thousands of similar operations, supported by dozens or fewer experts.  Discovery of wisdom is greatly enhanced by maintaining an architecture which enhances local context without modifying or attempting to force burdensome structures on local operations.

Expect this discussion to continue as expand on the systems, and approaches to make this real, while enable sustainable operational innovation. This will be core to Industrial Internet of Things as we align smart devices, operational practices and humans into a dynamic but coordinated operational force.

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Real time information Platform vs. traditional historian, Why it is Key to Pushing “Actionable Decisions”, foundational to the “Industrial Internet of Things” and Empowering the Teams.

Again last week I was presenting to a set industrial companies in water, food, and mining, and the topic of a "real time information platform" many questions.

My immediate answer is “what are you trying to do? " " who are the users targeted to interact with the system, and what decisions and actions are they expected to take?". These last two questions usually leave a complex blank expression on people's faces.

Many are engineers who have been asked to investigate, and they centered on the traditional approach of a "data centric" historian centered  world, leading with a technology strategy. The question of what people will use the data for, what roles and actions to be taken are secondary in their minds! 

Why is this when if someone had wanted a "historian" they would have asked for it. So why a platform, what does real time mean, and key is information.
It all comes back to one of the quadrants we talk about in the "operational transformation" around networking a series of assets, plants into a a "trusted" information system. That "actionable decisions" can be taken by a ever increasing community of operational people across the operational landscape.

To me it is understanding this community of consumers and what their requirements, uses are is key:
  1. What activities, decisions, and actions they are expected to take?
  2.  Their roles, skills, and approach is their time frame, location relative to the data
  3. Their context and understanding of the plant, asset or process in question, as their is a growing trend of highly educated skilled people on assets, process. With little or no practical experience on the asset, and more than likely will not have visited site.

On investigations you find you have the traditional process engineers, who need the trend analysis and discovery of potential improvements. 

However, there is a growing tribe of people who need to make actionable operational decisions. They will not monitor the system must best "self-aware, and living" (exception based) capture the data, transformation  it into information.  Apply experience and knowledge, clear understanding of the situation, and what are typical actions with "best operational process" provided to take action.

This is very different to everything getting data stored and then extracted, yes in this new world there is history as it provides the history for reliable knowledge and basis for wisdom or " application knowledge".

The real key is the change in approach from “predictive to prescriptive” which embeds the “actionable decisions into the model. Empowering the operational team, no matter the location or experience with decisions and associated actions.

Understanding this maturity curve and evolution is what we see as foundational to the success of “industrial Internet of Things”. Through the embedded practices provides a basis for the changing workforce to act and make decisions in a timely manner.

However, these two communities in the industrial landscape are interlocked for success. The two communities are:
  • Community 1: Process, performance, optimization team that accesses the data with trending, analysis, and predictive tools. Identifying the trends, conditions by applying their experience combined with “big data” techniques allows these conditions, to be seen in the “to be state”. If captured in a managed configuration framework, that will allow roll-out over sites and sustainable evolution. These become embedded into the system, for adoption by the operational team.

  • Community 2: Operational Team: This is the dynamic team, from roaming people on the plant to central operational teams, to virtual expert teams, collaborating together in real time to enable “actionable decisions” no matter role, location, and experience.

The diagram below shows the this maturity of capturing this “applied knowledge” as Managed “Actionable Discussions” that interact with people, assets and process as key, very different a traditional historian approach.

The “Real Time Information Platform” provides a real-time "living" model that is self-aware that captures validates the data with rules aware of it is current state. Storing this data in context and rules and calculations in that provide motivation, embedded operational process, and awareness to correct people. Fundamental is the "trust" worthiness of the information, without impacting current automation systems. The ability to have sustainable evolution and scalability, through managed components that represent the assets and processes (actionable decisions) to the model is available on storage side in history and real-time.

You cannot do this with Historian (data centric) architecture and solution. Make sure you looked at who the communities of users you are satisfying now and in the immediate future?

Monday, October 27, 2014

The Perfect Storm in Industrial Operations = New Paradigm in Operational Landscape

I decided to revisit a blog that I have enhanced from over a year as preparation for a discussion I have been having with many people in the last 2 weeks around "realtime Information Platform" vs "Historian" which I enter that discussion in the next blog. Too many people are looking at one aspect.

The most significant disruption in industrial operational strategy is happening in this post GFC (global financial crisis) era.  This is focused on determining an operational execution environment which enables timely contributions by the operational team for sustained high-performance plant execution.  The focus is currently on operational processes, but this will shift quickly to driving a new operational experience which enables a new operational execution plan. Traditional user interfaces will not “cut it” both in products, or the way they have been implemented.

A common thread around the world is the operational personnel challenge, especially the finding of people to replace the existing “baby boomer generation” and lack of experience available in the market.
This is only part of the most significant disruption in operational strategy in the last 20 years, even since the introduction of the PC.  There is a perfect storm happening, with these vectors:
  •        Ageing workforce: the significant number of highly experienced operations, maintenance, process workers who will retire in the next 5 to 10 years.  Some mangers in “oil and gas upstream” talk about the fact that 80% of their current team will be gone in 5 years.
  •          Operational Agility means Decision NOW: to be competitive, decisions must be made now, this has caused a change in thinking that workers need to be empowered to make more decisions, through more information, higher knowledge and access to experience, and a transition from “worker” to “knowledge worker”.  This also means that they have much more responsibility.  As one customer recently stated, traditionally they had an operator cover 5 to 10 wells; this was fine when you have 100 wells which lasted 20 years, but in the next 5 years he stated “we will have 20,000 + wells, but we will not have 2,000 operators”.
  •          The rotating operational person means “time to experience” is shorter than ever: the experienced generation is retiring and transitioning to an age group 20 years their junior, and there is a new factor that people are not staying in their role or location longer than a year.  One company stated 10 years ago that people were in a role approximately 5 years, but now they are seeing rotations of 8 months.
  •         Transition to digital native worker, with very different expectations, causes challenges with worker retention: The new generation is “digitally native”; they expect access to knowledge, they expect “touch experience”, they expect collaboration from anywhere, and they expect to learn on the fly.

Stepping back and looking at all of these vectors; we have significant disruptions for those in charge of industrial / manufacturing operational execution strategies.
Addressing that significant disruption will require a combination of techniques:
  •          A new generation of user interface products with more than interface capability, but embedded knowledge access, experience access, actionable procedures and natural intelligence, really empower the operational workers in all roles.
  •          A new operational experience design.  Notice that the traditional enabler -HMI (Human Machine Interface) does not express this new design: as it is a true “operational experience” that goes through the “day in the life” of the new generation of operational knowledge workers.
  •          New alignment across the different systems, plant applications and sites to align context, actions. Keeping the sites, applications and systems “loosely coupled but tightly aligned”.

Why?  Because today is not about Control Rooms; it is about agility and timely decisions, and this requires the “Flexible Operational Team” that works naturally together to leverage their experience, in the NOW to have decisions of all sorts made in a timely manner (often earlier than “now” to prevent instead of react).

The above diagram shows the concept of Flexible Operational Team, where at the bottom the traditional User Interfaces (UI’s) would have been permanently manned.  These UI’s are becoming transiently manned, but all functions relative to the zone of responsibility are available.  The more central operational centers (increasingly remote) will have a “quarterback” operational controller who is calling the shots, with a transient in-plant team of different skill sets, and a virtual team of experts usually external to the plant.  The in plant team executes activities that must be done locally, e.g. Inspections, maintenance, and certain manual operations, and the virtual team are experts across the world who can be tapped on for experience and knowledge to work with the controller or the in-plant team.
The above requirements is driving customers to look at the concept of “Enterprise Control”, providing the unification, and evolution of existing systems to achieve the alignment required to enable the concept of “agility thru Operational alignment and decisions in the NOW”.
The Invensys Enterprise Control Vision is to provide a set of capabilities that enables customers to achieve "Operational Excellence” through three strategies:
  •          Empowerment of Operational People

Operational personnel (e.g. Operators, process engineers, process experts, maintenance, quality, production management) are empowered real-time decisions through operational awareness, access to experience, collaboration, and best practices in a proactive system, to perform multiple tasks, in flexible roles, in multiple locations.
  •          Unification through Federation across assets, applications and systems

Align the different assets and processes across the operational management layer (of the traditional automation levels) so that the industrial operations are more agile (can change equipment configuration and use of the equipment much faster and much tighter coordination).  These assets that reside within a plant, within a process and across multiple sites are aligned to business and operational processes and require consistent measures and information.  Each of the existing applications/ controls continue to run, but their information and visualisation models are aligned, and communication happens with orchestration execution, in order for the Operational Process to execute in the most timely and effective manner.
  •          Built on a Sustainable platform of capability so that the system has longevity to evolve.

Enterprise Control will be implemented in stages and evolve in scope, breadth and functionality through its lifetime at each customer installation, which could be 20 years.  The system has been engineered and architected in a way that enables this evolution to occur in a sustainable way and caters to changing engineering teams and technologies.

New technology products will enable the above operational/automation paradigms, satisfying the changes in the market and workforce, compelling all of us to think and engineer differently as we evolve our operational systems.
I am hoping this refresh and discussion answers many of the questions people have asked me lately, as it is not just about the ageing workforce, the transition, the whole workforce culture and approach to work will be different in 5 to 10 years, and it really is a transformation to "smart work" in the industrial operational space. 

Sunday, October 19, 2014

The Paradox of the Growing Trend of Increasing Complexity in Industrial/Operational Solutions

I was discussing with a customer this week their systems, solutions, what was being asked of his team, and how even on a medium sized business and mature production processes the solution complexity is growing. He talked about the continued pressure of audits, regulations to satisfy government and just the consumer, combined with an increasing rate of " new product introduction" (npi). Yet production agility, timely actionable decisions, demands real time transparency into production, and across the supply chain.

Over two pots of tea we mapped out a high level functional landscape, his comment what happened to traditional  solutions. His comment was valid as the traditional supervisory solutions of 10 years ago, had transformed on the paper in front of us to "operational management architecture". With now an architectural landscape that connects to:

1.       Multiple vendor controllers and smart devices from ever increasing intelligent process equipment
2.       The range of people with different roles is increasing, in this example we have 8 different roles interacting with the solution, and taking actionable decisions
3.       The location of these people has shifted from the control room to every where, eg in the control room, roaming the plant floor, roaming the office, working remote outside the plant.
4.       Multiple applications that the system interacts with, has gone from to 7 This is not a big system, yes it is a batch system, but now cyber security, data transformation to deliver the correct trusted information for a role is available.

So complexity is increasing but the outlook is this will not change that business  will continue to demand more interactive, real times, collaborative, and transparent solutions in order to maintain competitiveness.

As seen below from an interview in North America, note the % of skilled and highly skilled roles, and the future additions of roles is in this skilled and highly skilled area:

So the complexity grows at a time when we have a transition to a less experience workforce, that will be in constant state of learning, and dynamic nature. In the conversation we talked about the team on his site, that he now had 50+ experienced and a junior engineer in his 20s. Fully capable but different, and less experienced on a site and role.

The diagram below shows the same people when trying to fill these skilled and highly skilled roles.

This is the paradox of today's dilemma facing engineers and operations, combine this with the demand projects with shorter project time, and that the system will evolve.

Now the control on the prices systems has not dramatically increased this is well defined and mature, it is the ability to absorb change that is key.

As we concluded our second pot of tea, it was clear the need to shift away from customer, home built solutions, away from customer excel sheets, to "off the shelf" solutions products that interact, can be easily configured and provide intuitive use, and learning, on an architecture that absorbs evolution and change. The discussion shifted to how transform their internal resources from internal customer code creation, to configuration, and acceleration of a more expansive solution building on their skill and knowledge.

The key walk away from this conversation, and why I shared it, was the realization by the customer that his approach to projects, and direction of addressing demands from operations needed a rethink in their approach, and using of existing staff, especially with the key experienced staff, and development of new staff. This included looking outside their own industry to potential significant advancements in addressing common operational approaches. 

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Is 2015 going to be the year of Wearables in industry? What is your strategy towards wearable devices across your “industrial operational team”?

I started writing this blog post 2 weeks ago, as I was seeing the potential for a huge increase in the empowerment of the mobile worker in industry, not just in the plant, but in all roles in the “flexible operational team” freeing the worker up from been tied to a computer.

I started ask “could 2015 be the real year where we see the explosion in industry of wearable devices to empower actionable decisions of all workers?”  All this became supported in a number events, publications in this two week period.

Last week I was delivering a session on the “re Imaging” of our world, and one of guys in audience had a watch with industrial alerts and alarms on it.

His workflow was:
·         that he received an alert/notification of event needing his attention, (he had set up his own alerts “my alerts” in our Smart Glance application)   
·         He was then able to take out his tablet, or smart phone and investigate the more detail on the event with the increased real estate experience a tablet or smart phone provides

Why does this appeal? Is that I am notified, but I can have the tablet in my backpack and based on the type of notification I am able to make a decision to investigate Now or defer to a better time, combine this with information on the tablet I can take an action.

Gartner then released this:
Gartner Identifies the Top 10 Strategic Technology Trends for 2015

The top one was:
“Computing Everywhere
As mobile devices continue to proliferate, Gartner predicts an increased emphasis on serving the needs of the mobile user in diverse contexts and environments, as opposed to focusing on devices alone.
"Phones and wearable devices are now part of an expanded computing environment that includes such things as consumer electronics and connected screens in the workplace and public space," said David Cearley, vice president & Gartner Fellow. "Increasingly, it's the overall environment that will need to adapt to the requirements of the mobile user. This will continue to raise significant management challenges for IT organizations as they lose control of user endpoint devices. It will also require increased attention to user experience design."

The diagram below came out with commercial market on different wearable devices that we would expect to have and interact with. Again this points to different expectations, but even with the acceptance (takeup ) of devices like "fitbit" and now smart watches, we can only expect empowerment of our other sensors.

Adding to this in the last couple of weeks I was reviewing research about enabling the mobile person in the manufacturing/ industrial space. :

The concept of eye piece that can support HMI or reduce screens. In our case screen built in Wonderware InTouch can be seen in this eye piece through streaming HTML5, and actions taken. Yes is it practical that is depending on how you define the experience, certainly just taking a traditional HMI screen to an eye experience the size of postage stamp does not work. But again notifications, awareness of certain controls, and alarms, safety in that area is key. Due to magnification of eye and proximity you can see a significant amount of information

Contextualized Industrial Companion reality on the Tablet then provides nearly a full control, awareness experience, with location, and direction of vision awareness. So as a worker finds himself in a location or situation that they have to make a decision, take and action , on a situation, devices, process that was not planned. They can see the current situation, access information, access people/experts, share all in the cause of “making an actionable decision in the NOW” without having to go back to office or location.

Initially people think of the roaming worker on a plant, remote site, but the key changes are:
·         IT is allowing “bring your devices” on plants in the IT infrastructure and increasingly users are expecting to use the same or similar devices they have in their private life as in working life. The concept is simple why do need two different experiences. If I can be connected and empowered in my private life increasing efficiency why not in my working life with same experience but now for working decisions/actions.
        Actionable Decisions are key in a timely manner, causing working outside the standard working hours, and always connected. Perfect example was when a end user came back to be realizing their internal connection was changing. They had asked for concurrent licenses for information clients, expecting a certain amount license to shared by those on duty. What they are now finding is that workers are not logging off, they stay connected maybe only with a smart phone but still connected. So now they rapidly approaching a point where they need the same number of licenses as users / workers and concept of concurrency does not apply.   

So the shift is from roles to “activities”, where the information can be delivered across different devices. With different applications with different information in context for the “activity/ decision” needing to be taken. The leading companies are all trying to empower the total operational team, all roles and all “activities” and this means unharnessing people from the computer console.   

So where are you on approach to introducing/ accepting these new end point devices in your industrial operational experience? Certainly from our stables, we will continue to increase enabling information and actions in all situations for the worker. Expect the adoption on wearables devices as the primary way the operational empowerment, notification and awareness to workers shifts in 2015/16.