New integrated approach for operations and maintenance training

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Large, complex capital projects typically involve a variety of contractors, sub-contractors, and suppliers whose activities must be closely planned and coordinated to meet project deadlines, budgets, and the owneroperator’s operational requirements. This planning and coordination also extends to the training provided to operations and maintenance personnel for the different equipment, instrumentation, and systems installed in the plant, mill, factory, or other industrial facility.
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  • 1. ARC VIEW JUNE 9, 2016 As ARC Advisory Group learned in a recent briefing with SNC-Lavalin Global Training and Simulation (GTS), there are many benefits associated with having a single contractor responsible for developing and coordinating the training portions of each EPC package for capital projects. New Integrated Approach for Operations and Maintenance Training By Janice Abel Keywords Operations and Maintenance Training, Integrated Training Supplier, EPC, MAC, OTS, Industrial Training, RFO, Operational Readiness Summary Large, complex capital projects typically involve a variety of contractors, sub-contractors, and suppliers whose activities must be closely planned and coordinated to meet project deadlines, budgets, and the owner- operator’s operational requirements. This planning and coordination also extends to the training provided to operations and maintenance personnel for the different equipment, instrumentation, and systems installed in the plant, mill, factory, or other industrial facility. Integrated Training Supplier Concept It often makes sense to have a single contractor responsible for developing and coordinating an integrated commissioning and start-up (CSU) plan for a grassroots industrial facility. In this type of engagement, the integrated CSU contractor would develop a plan that addresses all interdependencies between the different engineering, construction and procurement (EPC) contracts and ensure schedule alignment between the various EPC packages. This is similar to the main automation contractor (MAC) approach that is so appealing to owner-operators and their EPC companies looking for single-source responsibility and a consistent automation approach for large, complex capital projects. As ARC Advisory Group learned in a recent briefing with SNC Lavalin Global Training and Simulation (GTS), it’s also important to have a single VISION, EXPERIENCE, ANSWERS FOR INDUSTRY
  • 2. ARC View, Page 2 contractor responsible for developing and coordinating the training portions of each EPC package. This “integrated training supplier” could be a separate contractor, or the responsibility could be included within the scope of the CSU contractor, the MAC, or other contractor. The integrated training supplier would assume responsibility for developing and delivering an integrated training program for all plant automation and production assets. The goal, of course, is to reduce the time, effort, and cost required to develop the necessary skills to bring operations and maintenance staffs up to speed quickly to be able to operate and maintain a grassroots industrial facility effectively, efficiently, safely, and in full compliance with all applicable regulations. SNC-Lavalin, a global EPC firm with significant domain knowledge across multiple industrial sectors, also has commissioning and operations & maintenance (O&M) capabilities. It provides training and simulation services that span from the engineering to the O&M phases of the facilities lifecycle. The company recently briefed ARC Advisory Group about its innovative integrated training supplier approach. The Challenge Operational readiness involves a large and important scope of activities and requires domain expertise in multiple areas. An operational readiness group, or Ready for Operations (RFO) team, will look at multiple aspects of the operations of the future plant such as HSE and procedures; operational philosophy, plans, and procedures; maintenance philosophy, plans, and procedures; administration and information systems; and human resources and training. Hence, the operational readiness group typically acts as a coordinator, and it may be an external company specialized in the field, or an internal group formed by representatives of the different functions (operations, human resources, information technology, etc.) within the owner-operator’s own organization. Initiatives are assigned to the different groups and an overall and integrated plan is prepared and monitored. EPC packages may include operations and maintenance training. Typically, operator training simulators (OTS) are either part of the EPC’s scope or, most frequently, included in the MAC’s scope. The operational readiness group will thus monitor the overall progress of the training and ©2016 ARC • 3 Allied Drive • Dedham, MA 02026 USA • 781-471-1000 • ARCweb.com
  • 3. ARC View, Page 3 With the integrated training approach, the training component that’s normally included in the EPC and MAC packages would be carried out by one company that is responsible for all training aspects of the entire plant and throughout all project phases. OTS supported by the operational experts assigned to each of the EPC and MAC packages. This presents a number of challenges when it comes to training for operational readiness due to: • Lack of coordination and standardization in training material because the training is developed by different companies that may use different approaches • Suboptimal use of learning tools due to the lack of integration in the overall training of operators • Poor instructional design in training materials In addition, many owner-operators and even many EPCs no longer have the considerable resources they once had. As a result, managing the large network of contractors and subcontractors for a given project can be overwhelming. Given these challenges, operators, maintenance technicians, and other key plant personnel may not be fully ready for operations at the time the physical assets are operational, creating unnecessary project risks that could extend well into the operating lifecycle of the facility. Integrated Training Supplier Approach With the integrated training approach, the training component that’s normally included in the EPC and MAC packages would be carried out by one company that is responsible for all training aspects of the entire plant and throughout all project phases. The two figures on the next page show a delivery model using this approach for a large and complex project and the typical services provided by the integrated training supplier. The integrated training supplier works directly with the owner-operator client, EPC, and MAC suppliers, as well as third parties to help ensure that the training is consistent, complete, accurate, and aligned with the owner-operator’s vision. ©2016 ARC • 3 Allied Drive • Dedham, MA 02026 USA • 781-471-1000 • ARCweb.com
  • 4. ARC View, Page 4 Integrated Training Delivery Model for a Large, Complex Project (Source: SNC-Lavalin) Typical Services Provided by an Integrated Training Supplier ©2016 ARC • 3 Allied Drive • Dedham, MA 02026 USA • 781-471-1000 • ARCweb.com
  • 5. ARC View, Page 5 As an integrated training supplier, SNC-Lavalin assumes responsibility for designing and delivering the integrated training program, developing and producing appropriate training materials for both online and classroom instruction, and developing highly effective virtual simulation solutions to familiarize plant personnel with the plant automation systems and production assets in a virtual environment. The company also develops and employs operator training simulators (OTS), and manages vendor training package development and delivery. If needed, this could be done before the plant is operational to help reduce time-to-startup. According to the company, this integrated training approach can provide: • Improved productivity and profitability by shortening start-up time, reducing unplanned shutdowns, and quicker return to normal operations following an upset • Reduced risk of environmental incidents • Better equipment reliability and life expectancy Benefits of Integrated Training Supplier Approach The integrated training supplier could provide significant benefits when it comes to coordinating efforts and materials across a global enterprise. For instance, instead of being developed separately, all plants within the owner-operator’s organization could share some common material such as induction and general health, safety, and environment (HSE)-related materials, with appropriate accommodation for any language differences. This could reduce both the time and costs needed to develop these materials. Overall costs could also be reduced due to synergies between resources and overhead costs, since only one project management and administration team would be needed for the entire project, as opposed to one for each EPC training development project. Integrated management of vendor training development and delivery could also help further reduce costs. In addition to delivering homogenous training materials, the approach can also provide an integrated framework for learning and competency management that allows for consistency in performance management and movement of personnel across multiple units. ©2016 ARC • 3 Allied Drive • Dedham, MA 02026 USA • 781-471-1000 • ARCweb.com
  • 6. ARC View, Page 6 When using an integrated training supplier, training materials are developed by training experts from the same company using a common set of training objectives and competencies, providing a standard and consistent approach across all job profiles. A properly designed and implemented training program can also include learning tools normally not used in traditional training provided by EPC or MAC suppliers. These tools can include multimedia, games, and role playing to help enrich and improve learning experience. An integrated training supplier could also help improve the quality of the training, and provide better utilization of training material. For example, instead of using an OTS solely at the end of the training as normally done when it is supplied by the MAC, it could be used throughout the training process to reinforce learning objectives and improve retention rates. Incorporating these tools in the mainstream training program could improve process understanding and provide better prepared workers who would make fewer errors. Conclusion Companies that provide EPC and MAC services are generally not training specialists and therefore may not be in the best position to develop and evaluate the skills and competencies needed to perform each job. They may also employ different training approaches, resulting in inconsistent sets of competencies. Coordinating the training effort of different suppliers for each plant requires a great deal of effort and does not guarantee a common and unified approach. When using an integrated training supplier, however, training materials are developed by training experts from the same company using a common set of training objectives and competencies, providing a standard and consistent approach across all job profiles. The supplier provides essential knowledge when it comes to instructional design and can provide an integrated framework for learning and competency management, as well as a single source of responsibility for all phases of training over the lifecycle of an asset, from initial operational readiness to eventual decommissioning. For further information or to provide feedback on this article, please contact your account manager or the author at jabel@arcweb.com. ARC Views are published and copyrighted by ARC Advisory Group. The information is proprietary to ARC and no part of it may be reproduced without prior permission from ARC. ©2016 ARC • 3 Allied Drive • Dedham, MA 02026 USA • 781-471-1000 • ARCweb.com
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