Pipeline control room managers are uniquely positioned to lead the future of pipeline operations. Control room managers can help build a safety culture, implement effective programs for Alarm Management and Fatigue Mitigation, and demonstrate compliance to support the operation.
How are you going to effectively manage these processes? You need to be able to streamline processes using software. The key is identifying the control room management software that is the right fit for your operation.
Step 1: Evaluate Your Current Control Room Software Standing
We have talked to many control room managers who do not have the optimal control room software relative to the size of their operation.
– For smaller operators, investing in enterprise software that is designed for larger operators can create unnecessary costs. You may have tried to shoehorn the software into your processes to justify the cost, but it can create additional challenges.
Or, you have tried to piece together multiple pieces of software to avoid investing in a larger solution. Unfortunately, the software does not talk to each other, which has impaired your controllers’ ability to achieve situational awareness while also increasing controller workload.
– For larger operators, you invested in enterprise software that is now out-of-date, difficult to update, or does not include new software capabilities.
The result is that you are having difficulty managing critical elements such as Alarm Management or Fatigue Mitigation, or you are unable to link together your internal procedures with the PHMSA CRM Rule to create necessary documentation that demonstrates compliance.
– For both small and large operators, you need to take inventory of whether your current software is helping or hurting your ability to manage the control room.
Step 2: Evaluate Your Current Investment and Timeline
The next step to decide which control room management software is ideal for your control room is to perform an evaluation of cost and time.
- What is your current cost of the control room software?
- (support, updates, enhancements)
- What is the cost relative to the benefits created?
- (analytics, reports, optimization)
- What is the cost relative to any headaches created?
- (hard to use, slow support, difficult to modify)
- What is your time commitment to use the software?
- (minimizes controller workload, minimizes audit preparation effort)
Ideally, your control room management software is helping you support safety and compliance, is the right fit for the size of your operation, and will support you in the long run as the industry continues to change.
Unfortunately, that is not the reality for every control room. Many control room managers are experiencing more headaches than they are seeing the benefits of their current software, or they are locked into inflexible enterprise solutions.
Take a moment to complete this evaluation to help gauge the effectiveness of your current control room management software.
Step 3: Determine Your Greatest Area of Need with Control Room Software
Once you complete the evaluation of cost and time, then evaluate the greatest area of need in your control room. Is it Operating log? Shift Handover? Alarm Management? Fatigue Mitigation? Documentation? Compliance Support? Then, match up the need(s) with your current software support.
Where are the gaps in need vs. software support? Where is there an opportunity to achieve a greater level of safety, compliance, and effectiveness with a new software solution?
For example, perhaps you need one additional software tool for Fatigue Mitigation or a specific function within fatigue management such as Workload Analysis. Conversely, you may need an entirely new software solution to support control room management.
There are many great software solutions available on the market. Some software serves the needs of a specific function, while other software covers a larger area of control room management.
The key is knowing what you have, what you need, what you’re locked into, not investing in more than what you need, ensuring compatibility and integration with your existing systems, and then preparing your controllers and other stakeholders to effectively utilize the software.
What’s the Best Approach to Integrate New Control Room Software?
Throughout our company history, we have developed new software tools to manage the evolving needs of pipeline operators. Specific to control room managers, we developed the Control Room Management (CRM) Suite to support each critical area of control room management.
However, we don’t stop at just selling a software solution. Many vendors offer very good software solutions to address a specific area or function within the control room, but they do not follow through with consulting, support, or updates.
Our software solution is the primary vehicle to support control room management, but we know that a vehicle is not useful if it does not address a real need, users are not trained, the software is not maintenanced and updated, and no one is available to provide real support.
Our approach is to offer software and consulting services to ensure that each control room manager receives the full benefits of our software, whether utilizing one software component or our entire software suite.
- Assess: We take time to understand your unique situation, evaluate your current software, identify needs and gaps, and establish a timeline to implement software.
- Implement: We align software with your procedures, help update control room management plans, set up programs, design and build the HMI and SCADA (if necessary), and test the software for compatibility.
- Operate: We complete implementation, ensure users are trained, ensure understanding of the software, and share lessons learned.
- Refine: We review the data, update for regulatory changes, analyze the lessons learned, gather feedback, and continue to refine the software to meet your need.
Overall, we help control room managers Manage the Change of incorporating new software components or an entirely new software suite.
We believe we offer the most robust combination of software, compliance capabilities, and consulting in the industry.
Once we have an idea of your current software, your budget and timeline to add or update your software, and how we can help meet your greatest need(s), we will strategize a solution to help you streamline processes to better manage the control room.
Contact our team today to schedule an educational demo of the CRM Suite or a specific control room software module. Please complete our Contact form, email us directly at firstname.lastname@example.org, or call our team directly at 281-598-7100 to schedule your demo.