Our team had their first virtual project kickoff back in April. Over the past few months, they’ve been carrying out virtual workshops with one of our nuclear power generation customers. The current workshops are around the topic of their Corrective Action Process (CAP). After gaining a deep understanding of their current process and goals, the Cohesive Solutions team is walking them through the enhancement of Corrective Action processes using IBM Maximo, a leading Enterprise Asset Management solution.
We sat down with Jack Clark, one of the business process consultants on the project, to learn more about how this organization is transforming their CAP processes with Maximo.
Q: Tell me what the current goals of the CAP workshops are?
A: We started out by gaining a full understanding of how they ran their CAP today – what systems were used, what processes were in place, and what their challenges were. Now, we are working with the customer’s team to architect what the new CAP process will look like as its run in Maximo. We spoke with both the nuclear folks who live and breathe CAP, and the non-nuclear folks who will use the associated Condition Report to initiate work and root cause analysis.
A big piece of this is to come away with a full understanding of what is working and not working, and what improvements can be made so we can offer the best combined solution of system and process.
Q: What did they use for the CAP before this?
A: The client is migrating from multiple antiquated legacy systems that support their Corrective Action and Work Management programs. Each of these systems rely upon overly complex integrations to communicate with one another.
They also have internally developed application software to augment the existing asset management software. Though the client had a single point of entry, they used multiple systems for tracking and execution. This complicated the process, making it hard to track progress. Because of this, they lacked a complete understanding and visibility of the response and system.
A lot of their corrective action processes were manual which provides its own challenges such as consistency, user error and lack of tracking. One of the biggest issues nuclear organizations are seeing now is an aging workforce. Manual process created and maintained by people vs. systems rely on experienced personnel and are not sustainable amid personnel transition.
Enabling the customer to use one system for their CAP that provides both single point of entry and single point for execution and tracking will create a simplified, streamlined and repeatable process. Many of the manual forms are being converted to actionable data fields to improve tracking and reporting.
This simplicity will reduce error and improve efficiency of the process.
Q: What types of challenges are being uncovered within their CAP processes as you go through these workshops?
A: Single point of execution vs. the multiple systems they have now will be one of the biggest enhancements to their CAP process.
The lack of automation currently used in their processes also poses a challenge to process efficiency, action management and documentation.
The customer relied on manual processes for their review process. That means they had to spend time managing and monitoring this process to see it through completion. The data associated with this process was also kept offline in attachments.
With Maximo, the entire process is automated and associated data fields are created in the system to keep both actions and captured information in one streamlined system. The client is able to leverage push notifications that automatically keep the process of action and review moving. Capturing the data in Maximo will allow them to report on trends and cue automated actions based on the data itself as well. This enhancement will ensure process and data integrity for the plant.
The automation of the workflow engine in Maximo will save them time and ensure all parts of the process are documented and triaged as needed. The ease and efficiency of these new processes are a welcomed surprise to our client.
I can tell they are excited about how quickly this will make their jobs easier and more efficient. It’s why we do what we do!
Q: The nuclear industry is critical and heavily regulated. What is the biggest surprise to you as you have walked through this project so far?
A: The phrase: “if it aint broke, don’t fix it,” sums up how the nuclear power industry looks at updating their maintenance systems and processes. Because of the heavy regulations, change can be daunting, and no one wants to be first. It’s understandable, but dangerous.
There are key drivers for the need for change. Cost pressures are causing the industry to re-evaluate changes in order to deliver on the Nuclear Promise. The simplification and streamlined processes that can be built with Maximo are key to this.
Another driver here is the industry demographics. Many times, the knowledge and experience to run the plant effectively is embedded in the people. As the workforce begins to retire, the knowledge retires with it. It’s critical for these organizations to begin institutionalizing the knowledge to not only sustain but improve with time.
I’ll say this… you never know what greener pastures look like if you can’t see them on the horizon. Though change can be daunting, these streamlined processes make their jobs easier, reduce administrative burden in order to shift focus towards operations, and ensure regulatory compliance is maintained.
The Cohesive team on the project brings forward ample industry experience and helped the core customer team make informed decisions. Our subject matter experts on the project have over 100 years of collective nuclear expertise. It makes it a great advisory board for the nuclear leaders we are working with to lean on and manifest the change.
At Cohesive, we are committed to the Nuclear Promise. Our team brings years of experience implementing work management, corrective action, configuration management, and clearance and tagging systems for some of the nation’s largest names in the nuclear industry. Learn more about how we help nuclear power plants streamline their operations with world class solutions and industry best practices.