Yokogawa Electric Corporation (TOKYO:6841) announces the February 14 release of Operations Management, a software package for recording and managing data on the work performed by plant personnel. Yokogawa has developed this solution as part of its Operational Excellence Transformation (a transformation by our customers to achieve operational excellence) through the expanded offering of consulting and solution services that lead to the optimization of the supply chain and operations.
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Key areas for Operational Excellence Transformation (Graphic: Yokogawa Electric Corporation)
The Operations Management software assists plant operations and management personnel by facilitating the sharing of information on items such as unusual events, work progress, and operation workflows. By digitalizing and standardizing how this data is handled, this software helps plant personnel carry out their work correctly, safely, and efficiently, and thereby enhances corporate value. We plan to release a mobile version of this software in June.
As markets change and global competition intensifies, manufacturers are faced with the challenge of minimizing costs and ensuring high profitability. At manufacturing sites, it is particularly important to improve operational efficiency, facility utilization, and productivity while ensuring safety.
In response to the abovementioned needs, Yokogawa is developing solutions that utilize digital technologies to optimize and automate companies’ business processes. These solutions will help to optimize the supply chain and the operation of plant facilities, manage organizational risks, and make maximum efficient use of plant assets to ensure safe, reliable, and profitable operations. These solutions will also help with facility management.
As the Internet of Things (IoT) and the use of big data and artificial intelligence (AI) gain momentum, attention is swinging to how the collection, analysis, and digitization of data can add value by identifying problems at an early stage, making operations more efficient, enhancing management processes, optimizing supply chains, and accelerating decision making. By digitizing and standardizing information based on accumulated know-how and facilitating the exchange of information within and between groups of plant personnel, the Operations Management software can improve work efficiency.
Human factors are often at fault for the emergency shutdowns and other issues that impact operational efficiency at plants. In many cases, the issuance of work instructions, the monitoring of progress, and the like are done verbally or with written documents, and the absence of a digital record can lead to a number of problems. For example, this can make it impossible to check work progress in real time, it can take a long time to collect necessary information, errors can be made when adding information to shift handover reports, and it can be difficult to locate and retrieve records on past operations. Safety can also be compromised by issues such as the failure to report near misses and incidents and take appropriate countermeasures, and misunderstandings between field workers and control room operators. In markets all over the world, there is a growing awareness of the need for operations management solutions that can enhance efficiency and safety and ensure business continuity and the retention of knowledge.
The Operations Management software that Yokogawa has developed digitizes and standardizes a wide variety of information for sharing among plant operators and managers. This can range from information on anything unusual noted in plant operations to the status of a task or the workflow for a specific operation. This software helps to improve reliability and safety by ensuring that plant personnel have the information they need to carry out their work correctly, and it also helps to improve operational efficiency. While supporting safe and secure operation management, this solution can record event actions and work carried out based on work instructions, and enables the retrieval and use of information that represents the knowledge and know-how of skilled operators.
The main features are as follows:
1. Improved efficiency by digitizing work instructions and information on results of actions by operators in the central control room
Yokogawa earlier developed a software package that digitizes, manages, and shares information on plant operations such as work instructions and progress updates. In addition to incorporating all the functions used to record operation and work instructions and prepare reports for shift handover, the Operations Management software features a number of new functions that help to ensure personnel thoroughly understand all work processes, reduce operator workload, and improve operational efficiency:
(1) Incident management: A function that ensures the workflow for the handling of near misses and incidents is carried out in a unified manner, from the recording of the incident occurrence to the implementation of countermeasures and verification of results
(2) Management of change: A function that ensures the workflow for changing plant facilities or operation processes is carried out in a unified manner. Such workflows may involve the performance of risk assessments, the reporting of changes to relevant personnel, and the actual implementation of changes to a plant operation.
(3) Permit to work: A function that digitalizes the workflow for obtaining permission to perform field work
2. Intuitive user interface (UI)
Based on feedback from customers, we have worked together with UI experts to design an intuitive UI. The interface has been optimized so that operators can understand with a single glance the status of an operation, and quickly find whatever information they need. With features such as the ability to import operating instruction checklists created in Excel into the Operations Management database, Operations Management is easy to implement.
3. Use on mobile devices for improved efficiency in the field
Maintenance and other tasks are often performed at locations other than the central control room. To enable work instructions, permissions, and histories to be viewed easily anywhere at a manufacturing site, in June of this year Yokogawa plans to release a mobile version of this software, for use on tablets and other mobile devices. Rather than having to rely on paper notes or the use of transceivers, workers in the field can use this software on their mobile devices to stay in touch with operators in the central control room and quickly and easily view all necessary information, thereby increasing operational efficiency and helping to ensure that all required tasks are carried out.
Industries such as oil and gas, petrochemicals, chemicals, electric power, pulp and paper, pharmaceuticals, food, iron and steel, water supply and wastewater treatment, non-ferrous metal, metal, and cement
Helping operators and other plant personnel to record operations, manage operation plans and results, facilitate shift handover, create reports, and manage near misses and incidents, changes, and permits to work
Yokogawa is helping its customers in every phase of their business operations by identifying issues, making improvements, and continuously providing improvement verification services. To better serve our customers through the provision of solutions that enhance both efficiency and profitability, we have combined our expertise in system construction and lifecycle services with the consulting services offered by KBC Advanced Technologies, a company that Yokogawa acquired in April 2016. The Operations Management software is a solution that allows customers to continuously verify the improvements that are made to processes. By leveraging the know-how that Yokogawa and KBC are gaining in plant operations and consultancy services, we will continue to strengthen the functions of this software so that further improvements in plant operations and efficiency can be obtained.
Based on its Synaptic Business Automation concept, Yokogawa is striving to help its customers achieve an ideal state for their business. By combining our expertise in operational technology (OT) with our years of experience in plant management and operations, our knowledge of industries, processes, automation technology, and solutions, and our consulting and IT capabilities, we can help our customers achieve a transformation at all levels of their operations - from management to manufacturing site operations. Under the corporate brand slogan “Co-innovating tomorrow®” we create new value with our customers
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Yokogawa's global network of 113 companies spans 60 countries. Founded in 1915, the US$3.5 billion company engages in cutting-edge research and innovation. Yokogawa is active in the industrial automation and control (IA), test and measurement, and aviation and other businesses segments. The IA segment plays a vital role in a wide range of industries including oil, chemicals, natural gas, power, iron and steel, pulp and paper, pharmaceuticals, and food. Targeting this segment, Yokogawa helps companies maximize their profits by offering a wide range of highly reliable products and working with the subsidiary KBC Advanced Technologies to provide premium solutions and services. For more information about Yokogawa, please visit www.yokogawa.com
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