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February 2008

February 2008
I look back at the start of UCDS, and I remember it all started at the same time as the birth of my oldest Granddaughter, Katie, who has just reached the grand age of eight. Wow, I can’t believe it! But as you can see, she is growing up so fast and I guess UCDS is doing the same.

What a cold January/February, especially for Dave working in Canada and Poland, sorry Dave. I have recently been to Ireland and Brussels, and have kicked-off a new project in Norway which was also on the cold side. Where are the warm weather projects? We can’t complain too much – because it beats the alternative.

I think this year will be another record control room year based on all the proposals we are preparing. Staffing assessments are still high on our proposal list. Many companies are taking this opportunity to get their manning correct as we build towards the loss of the baby-boomers. UCDS has a great strategy and methodology to help our customers, together with our Management of Organization Changes. Yes, organization, that means people not equipment. Virtually all our current projects are purchasing Control Room Design to ISO 11064 Ergonomic Design of Control Rooms, Workload Staffing Analysis and MOOC, and finally our impressive NEW Advanced Process Graphic Human Machine Interface Style Guide and Best Practices in Alarm Management.

We are also promoting this month our On-Line Operator Log Book and Shift Handover solutions which address best practices around shift change. So many companies open themselves to risk by poor practices in this area. Do your operators kick back and read books while waiting for alarms? How would you like your operators to be pro-active and continuously searching for plant upsets and dealing with them before the alarm sounds? That is UCDS’s Situation Awareness solution which promotes operators using trends again, monitoring overview displays, and doing rounds on their screens. Find out more by scheduling our 1 day on-site workshop called Operator Situation Awareness.

I was recently giving a presentation on Situation Awareness when one of our existing customers stood up and shared with the audience how they had struggled to implement grey scale graphics with their DCS vendor. Then they came to UCDS, who educated their engineers and operators and implemented a worldwide solution. Some sites resisted until a recent incident was avoided and the operators testified that without the new graphic style they would not have caught the problem and avoided an incident. Great testimony – which confirms research that suggests operators are seeing 30% improvement in their ability to detect and diagnose abnormal situations.

This will be a busy month for UCDS with several overseas projects and a number of repeat customer jobs here in the USA. We are also adding new clients to our books, for which we thank them for their business. I will try to bring some pictures next month of some of these exotic locations.

UCDS is still looking for additional full-time and part-time staff to join our team. We have a lot of interesting projects and great customers. Please send resumes to


UCDS is participating in the 2008 Operator Awareness Roadshow. Please click on the link below for more information and to register for the event.