Plant Insights

Essential Digital Transformation for Process Manufacturing Operations

08. June 2020

Black & White paper is a study based on primary research survey data that assesses the market dynamics of a key enterprise technology segment through the lens of the “on the ground” experience and opinions of real practitioners — what they are doing, and why they are doing it.

Essential Digital Transformation for Process Manufacturing Operations

Plant Process Management (PPM) describes a system that allows manufacturing organizations to manage, monitor and optimize plant operations around work activities and production assets. A fully implemented PPM system provides a real-time view of work procedures and tasks. This also includes the recording and status of any incidents or outliers to normal plant operation.

Plants often run continuously, with regular shift changes of the workforce. It is essential that the current shift is aware of any issues that arise in the course of operation, so there is a critical need for communication at shift changes. It is here that, in an ad hoc or verbal communication process, important handover details can be missed. A lack of quality communication can have a direct impact on the ongoing safety of the workforce, as well as on plant efficiency and production quality.

In the drive toward Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) over the past few years, the greatest focus has been on instrumenting machinery. Now industrial enterprises need to instrument the people tasked with using and managing machinery in the overall process, too. A safe and efficient plant is best run by a workforce with contextual information about the physical processes taking place. The requirements met by PPM apply to any type of plant, regardless of the amount of IoT instrumentation, machine learning (ML) or predictive maintenance in place. Knowledge can be ingested and analyzed from any human contact point in a process.

As the unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic has demonstrated, consistent capture of team-to-team communication has shifted for some from a nice-to-have capability to a must-have capability, as irregular work patterns emerge for individuals due to isolation and social distancing measures putting added pressure on safe operations.

About the Author

Ian Hughes is a Senior Analyst for the Internet of Things practice at 451 Research. He has 30 years of experience in emerging technology as a developer, architect and consultant through key technology trends. Ian has 20 years of experience at IBM in cross-industry application development. This included automotive, global sporting events, retail and telecommunications.

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