It's often said that knowledge is power. But in high-risk sectors such as the marine and oil and gas industries, knowledge is fundamental to something much more important: safety and reliability. Hard-won through long experience, knowledge is the difference between profitable operations and unreliable equipment at risk of failure from factors such as corrosion, human error, and fluctuating operating conditions.
The problem is that with an ageing workforce and increased merger and acquisition (M&A) activity, it's becoming more difficult than ever for companies to retain that critical knowledge and experience within their organisational memory. Technology – specifically Asset Performance Management (APM) solutions, especially those with a focus on risk, reliability and optimisation tools and mitigation strategies, will be central to owner/operators as they enter a new era of organisational memory. They can help in three ways:
1. Retain and maintain
The new generation of APM solutions have been designed with the ageing workforce in mind and have developed to better capture the more qualitative, more human element of knowledge, experience and best practice that might otherwise be lost; and rapidly deploy this knowledge to augment newly developed insights or expertise.
Capturing this knowledge goes hand-in-hand with the need to deliver assurance and confidence to plant managers and operators alike. Digitising expert knowledge and best practices is a key component of what Lloyd's Register (LR) terms asset performance assurance and it lies at the heart of our AllAssets platform, enabling engineers to map their understanding of failure mechanisms and failure causes and then sense-check their model against a rich library of information.
2. Build the knowledge base
APM systems don't only just retain critical knowledge capital, they can also make it more useful to the company as a whole. By effectively capturing the knowledge of a seasoned engineer intimately acquainted with a particular asset and all the operating conditions and maintenance/inspection activities to keep it running optimally, workers across the world can gain access to that knowledge through the APM system, as well as augmenting the pre-programmed risk models with their own knowledge and experience. In doing so, organisational memory isn't just preserved, but enhanced and made more useful.
3. Prepare for the future
As assets become increasingly sensor-enabled and fine-grained data becomes the norm, machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI) will allow operators to fine-tune their APM systems in real-time, better protecting and more profitably running assets than ever before.
Tomorrow's best-in-class APM systems will be those capable of combining these promising new technologies with the benefits wrought from hard-earned human experience and skill. In other words, marrying mature and new knowledge to upgrade not just organisational memory, but how it is applied. Those operators which, aided by APM technology, succeed in doing so, can confidently step into a new era of asset performance assurance. Those that don't may find that the ageing workforce outlives their company.
A new approach to Asset Performance Management
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