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Operator Workload

After an exciting 6 weeks on the road, I have returned tired and ready for some rest.  This last month Dave and I have been extremely busy.  It appears that Operator Workload is very popular at the moment and we have been doing a lot of new jobs and updating some existing customer studies as they have been adding new equipment to meet new Environmental challenges.

It is extremely important to balance workload across operators.  Too often we find 1 or 2 operator’s with extreme workloads well above Pacesetter and many below Industrial Standard.  Why?  Well, this often comes down to department mentality and lack of organizational planning, falling into traditional old organization mentalities.

We have been able to help many organizations better understand operator workload both for console and field operators.  Our methodology is without bias and is factual based on equipment, inter-connectivity of plant units and reflects the workload associated with the control tasks.  It highlights the additional work enforced by poor alarm management, it factually demonstrates the number of manual operator moves which should have been made by the control system.  We represent these against International KPI’s.

Our methodologies can better align organizations and highlight gaps in Supervision or work-team design.  See our website for briefing notes on this topic and some of the technical papers available, especially, “Don’t be thrown for a loop” article.

I have launched 2 major High Performance HMI initiatives one for the Pipeline Industry in Houston another for a Power Company in Alabama.  I must say I was very impressed with the operators in Alabama as they understand High Performance HMI better than many Control Engineers do.  They are doing a fantastic job and I wish them all the best as they transform their business.

I had the joy of spending some time this month in St. Croix which is always a pleasure.  We have been working on an update to a refineries console operator workload as they add new equipment.  I am delighted our model which was developed over 3 years ago is a major benefit as the refinery grows and changes with time.  Some of the original people we worked with have retired or moved on but new people are taking advantage of the initial investment the refinery made and are now receiving benefits from that past work.

This month I am indebted to Dave for taking the brunt of the workload for UCDS.  I am having shoulder surgery on May 13th and will be house bound for a few weeks as my Rotor Cuff heals.  Too many bags been thrown in and out of airplane lockers in the 3 Million Miles I have flown since moving to the States. Poor Dave, his feet will not touch the ground as he is working on multiple contracts in Multiple States.  I am hoping to catch up with him at the end of the month in Ohio for a customer visit.