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October 2013 – Alarm Management in Hawaii

Aloha from Hawaii! Dave and I have been here for 2 weeks now and we have made great progress developing an Alarm Management Philosophy for an Electrical Transmission and Distribution Center customer. We have also developed an Alarm Rationalization Procedure and a specification for an Alarm Management Software tool to measure their alarm performance KPI’s.

Harry has been updating revisions of documents and doing that magic thing he does with Microsoft Word. I am amazed that such a professional package that is used by so many can still be a difficult when it comes to some simple stuff like numbering chapters. Have you noticed that one minor change can throw the whole document and it is a disaster? Well, not with Harry, the software is scarred of him, (like the rest of us). ☺ He does great work!

Chris is involved in several control rooms for us doing what Architects do well. He will be working with Christi on a new project this month and we will all soon be in Texas. I am traveling to Houston and driving to Louisiana next week. Wait a minute, isn’t a hurricane heading that way? Well, that is nothing unusual is it?

The rest of the team is busy. Steve is actively planning our joint workshop on Human Factors and Organizational Accidents with our good friend Jack Pankoff. Jack and Harry are doing a joint webinar for ISA on Production Excellence and Training aspects this month. Watch the website for details. I know it is going to be great as I had a sneak peak today.

I will be doing the first of several Task Analysis studies next week. We are doing them to identify the basis of design for level 1 & 2 High Performance HMI graphics. We have identified a technique that really works well and is delivering outstanding graphics.
Dave and Steve will be in Houston at a customer’s conference. Dave will be giving a paper and they will then be hosting a booth to share some of our many services with this customer. It is great when a customer invites you to come and share what we have done for them with the rest of their organization.

On occasion, customers open the door to share the services UCDS has provided them through photographs, testimony, videos, etc. such as the Borregaard video on our site. What a great customer they have been. They have given us a lot of material to use and their own PowerPoint presentations. I am very grateful. Dave and I will be kicking-off another large project for them at the end of this month. I always used to wonder why I always get invited over when the temperature falls off the scale. Well, I am starting to understand, they like to vacation during the good weather and they work when it’s cold!

We are starting to prepare for our first Research project. If any customer who has any training issues would like further information please contact Steve Maddox @ smaddox@mycontrolroom.com or find his phone details are on the website. We are going to be looking into the Human Factor failures associated with training and the real benefits from Simulator training to identify clear ROI’s. This service will not cost you anything other than your time and you will get copies of the Research reports and the recommended improvements. Again, try and get to see Harry and Jack’s webinar for ISA this month.

Over the last 6 months, we have done a large number of Alarm management projects. We have not been pursuing these lately as there are so many companies in the marketplace offering these services. However, customers are coming to us and telling us they have invested large amounts of money previously with other consultants and they are not happy with the results. In fact, many of these consultants are telling my customers it is impossible to achieve the EEMUA 191 KPI’s and being proactive is a dream.

I am shocked, we have so many customers that have succeeded and mastered their alarms. They have gone on to pursue their HP HMI and are directly addressing Situation Awareness with a focus on Detecting Abnormal Events while Diagnosing the root cause and making the correct Responses in a timely manner. One of our customer’s operators shared at one of our workshops what a difference doing it correctly makes not only to the bottom line but to their jobs, reducing stress and anxiety.

We have developed some new relationships with tool suppliers and we are working together on new solutions. We have developed some easy to use Rationalization aids which will soon be available to purchase from our website. If you are interested, please see Steve for details.
Well, the end of the year is coming soon. I have 2 more weeks in Hawaii and 2 weeks in Oslo. Now there’s a climate change! Before we know it the year will be over. If you have some year-end funding you would like to invest before losing it, we can discuss a prepayment plan. We have done this for customers in the past. Our customers know that if they give us a P.O. in advance we will not only complete the work but as in all our jobs we do them with commitment and passion.

I will be spending Halloween in Norway so I think that will be a quiet time. No wild parties like back at home. I will be home for our annual fireworks display and bonfire night as we as a family celebrate Guy Fawkes Night with our friends. That is always my favorite party. I get to tell the story of King James I, the birth of New King James addition of the Bible, plus a few boo’s for the French and Spanish…all in good fun. Especially for the kid’s, which is what it is all about at the end of the day.

UCDS will be holding our Annual Meeting again this year in Sedona over the Thanksgiving holiday. This is a tradition we have been doing now for many years as we work in the mornings and have some valuable family time the rest of the day. I am looking forward to taking Dave’s daughters on this year as my walking has improved and theirs has decreased as they are both driving cars now.

I hope you all have a good time this Fall as we all come to the realization that Christmas and the holidays is just around the corner.

Best wishes,
Ian