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Know your History

Can it possibly be July already?  Oh how the time goes by.  I guess when you travel time flies.  Well, we always have time to stop and wish the USA Happy Birthday as we celebrate Independence.

I like to ask in my very British accent “What are we celebrating?” and I am amazed at how many Americans do not know their real history.  Those who know it was about separation from England often think it was about money and material things.  Americans are taught that “taxation without representation” was the reason America separated from Great Britain; yet “taxation without representation” was only reason number seventeen out of the twenty-seven reasons given in the Declaration of Independence – it was not even in the top half, yet it’s all that most ever hear.

Never mentioned today are the numerous grievances condemning judicial activism – or those addressing moral or religious or other issues.  American leaders long understood this Biblical truth.  For example, Thomas Jefferson noted: “History, by apprising them [students] of the past, will enable them to judge of the future.” And what can be learned by being “apprised of the past”? Go to WallBuilders to read more   about the historical distortion at

Knowing your history is one of my core values.  I will soon be sending out a notice informing my customers that this year we are celebrating 10 years as a company and that we are still aligned after many changes to our mission and vision.  The UCDS vision is to implement Best Practice solutions for reducing the frequency and severity of abnormal situations, which will dramatically improve the nature of operations in production facilities. These Best Practices impact all aspects of plant operation and will result in improved plant performance, a reduction in incidents, and improved safety and profitability.

I have had a fairly quiet month allowing me to get 3 days a week at Physical Therapy as my shoulder heals from surgery.  I have taken one trip to Salt Lake City to visit a couple of customers who are interested in operator workload assessment which is a big deal this year with many new and existing customers.

As part of our initiative with Jack Pankoff and Production Excellence, Inc. (which is a Process Industry management consulting and executive development company), we provide industry Executives and Plant Managers with a systems approach to transforming their plant organization and improving the capability of their workforce.

The Production Centered Excellence Strategy™ is a process plant manufacturing management concept based on the philosophy that a process plant is in business to do one thing, and one thing only… produce a product.  Embedded in the philosophy are several key principles.

Five Key Philosophical Principles:
Safe production is the key mission of the plant.
The plant’s organizations, work processes, and job duties must be defined and support production.
All employees, regardless of their department and function are stakeholders in production.
All improvement initiatives must support Production Centered Excellence continuous improvement (Kaizen).
Excellence is not a destination; it is a journey of “continuous improvement”.

This month Jack released the first process industry report Improving and Sustaining Organization and Workforce Capability – A Systems Approach for Your Plant to Thrive in Any Economic Climate and it features one of our great deliverables Manpower Profile System which is a system that helps customers determine if the number of employees in each job position are adequate to perform normal operations and respond to abnormal situations.

Jack and I will be delivering on-site workshops as well as the usual public ones; however, many of my customers are taking advantage of this very effective service and understand how their shift team needs to be realigned and continuously improved to maximize organization and workforce capability. So often we witness our customers struggling with problems because they have historic workload that has not adapted with plant changes, we see some jobs overloaded to the point that human error is a close friend, while they have many positions that are really under loaded to the point of being boring and under stimulated that can also cause human error.

I have also seen an increase for requests for proposals to help customers who are transitioning their DCS or SCADA systems and need to consider major changes to their alarm management and HMI systems. Our book the High performance HMI Handbook is opening their eyes to a new way of creating good situation awareness and really impacting the performance of operators, bringing the big picture back into control rooms.

As you may have seen in our Upcoming Events section this month, ISA have awarded me with a Fellow status which is a great honor and I want to thank my sponsors who approached me separately last year for nomination:  Paul Gruhn, Nick Sands and Donald Dunn and the other ISA Fellows who reviewed my application.  I will be getting my award at the ISA dinner in October so that is something to look forward to.

As these holidays end we anticipate getting busy, I have several speaking engagements planned for the next couple of months and will be letting you know about them next month.

I always like to hear from our customers, even if we are not currently working on their projects.  It is good to keep in touch and to share ideas; I am thankful to you folks out there who do that.  We never charge for offering comments or advice or just staying in touch!  Please let me know if you would be interested in receiving some more free webinars?