Action Tracking in Wood PLC – ‘Pisys was our first choice’

Background

Wood is the largest provider of brownfield services to the
oil and gas industry, specialising in process, safety and environment; instrument and controls, electrical, structural, civil, and mechanical and piping. The company had a well-defined process for HAZOPs already but came across action tracking Issues when they took on a new oilfield development project for a large operator.

When companies decide to adopt it, action tracking is invariably a “need to do”, rather than a “nice to have”. Especially when safety and legislative drivers are in play.

In Wood’s case, the imperative was HAZOP tracking.
Mike Forrest, Wood’s UK Head of Process and Safety Engineering, explains: “With HAZOP and HAZID actions, you need to close the loop, you need the actions to be visible to multiple people, and you need to see where you are with all the actions. Reducing risk is what underpins it, because where there are high hazard risks – as with Piper Alpha – you could lose the whole platform”.

Pete Henderson, the Pisys Director responsible for the Wood relationship, comments: “Wood already had a well-defined process for HAZOP tracking. But there were all sorts of local systems around the Group. In many situations, people were attempting to track actions using a spreadsheet or even individual emails. As there was no means for central reporting, no-one could see everything to do with actions in one place. And inevitably there was a general lack of accountability”.

 

Action Tracking Challenges

HAZOP action tracking was done via spreadsheet or even
individual emails. There was:

  • No means for central reporting
  • No central place to save actions and view their
    status
  • A lack of accountability.

The company needed a system where:

  • Actions were closed out consistently and in a
    timely manner
  • Actions were visible to all personnel involved
  • The status of an action was clearly visible.

Why Pisys?

Solution

Wood adopted Pisys Action Tracking for HAZOPs.

Pisys customized the system to provide:

  • Added capability for handling multi-level approvals
  • Consolidated reporting across multiple contracts
  • A strategic response function, giving project engineers early insight into potential design changes so they could consider the implications in terms of cost and schedule

The action tracker was rolled out first in the UK, then
worldwide

“The trigger point for Wood was when we took over an oilfield development project for a large operator. We quickly found HAZOP tracking issues, and I knew straight away that we needed a system. The company’s ongoing ability to operate its fleet depends critically on the company’s tracking and recording of incidents and accidents” said Mike.

Mike acted quickly: “Two weeks later, we installed Pisys
ATMS Action Tracking System. I’d seen it in action with another Oil & Gas Major a few years previously. I’d been sufficiently impressed that we just went straight to Pisys when we realised that things were in a muddle”.

Configuration and Global Rollout

According to Mike Forrest, the action tracker’s subsequent success was not a foregone conclusion: “We invited commercial tenders a couple of months later, and evaluated one other system as well as ATMS. The other system was highly flexible, but ultimately our preference was for a more straightforward
system. And we knew Pisys ATMS would do the job.

Added to that, Pisys were able to demonstrate how to set
up a HAZOP very easily”.

  • The project, conceived from the outset as a global rollout,
    commenced in late 2013 with a 2-month configuration phase in which Pisys made modifications to meet Wood’s requirements –notably:
  • Adding capability for handling supplementary approvals,
    sign-offs and signatures;
  • Enabling ATMS to provide consolidated reporting across
    multiple contracts;
  • Incorporating a strategic response function, which gives project engineers early insight into potential design changes, to understand the implications in terms of cost and schedule.

Over the course of 2014, ATMS was rolled out across the UK, and then around the world.

Pete Henderson comments:  “The first ATMS installation for
Wood was for BP’s Andrew Area Development Project, which at that time was the largest project in Aberdeen.

Now we have 700 users across 30 different Wood projects. In the UK alone, ATMS is now used in Wood’s contracts with BP, CNR, Enquest, Total, Taqa, Talisman and BG  It is also deployed where Wood is acting as dutyholder – notably for Centrica, Ithaca and Dana”.

Mike Forrest interjects: “The system has been taken up in both Australia and Kazakhstan, and there are several thousand more users who could potentially come onto the system in other regions of the world.

The system has been hosted by Pisys all through the rollout, and it’ll remain that way because that’s what’s most convenient for Wood”.

Action Tracking - Fit for Purpose

Mike’s confidence in ATMS is evident from the fact that he went straight to Pisys as soon as he had a critical need on his hands. But is there real evidence that ATMS fits the bill?

Mike believes so: “Well, I can tell you that the Pisys system is pretty good for what we want it for.

I can also tell you that it’s robust, it’s efficient, and it makes the whole business of tracking actions more visible than it could ever be in spreadsheets.

On top of that, I get the sense that it is very well structured. And from many years of procuring and using software, I know that strong structure in software means it’s likely to be easier to maintain as well as more robust”.

He continues: “But my opinion counts for nothing unless the system actually does its job. Which it does. We don’t have to force our engineers to use ATMS, because it is obviously beneficial to them. People can see a response to an action, and they can see that actions are being worked on.

In addition, managers can see both the numbers of outstanding actions and also the overdue actions. That gives them assurance oversight”

A system that fits the way we work

How would Mike advise a colleague in another company who is considering a system for action tracking?

“I’d suggest that they think twice before going for a big system with limitless flexibility. Because flexibility usually means complexity. And no-one wants to struggle with IT complexities instead of getting on with the job!

Other systems dictate that users do things that just aren’t convenient – like having to prepare and submit responses all in one batch. But ATMS is the other way round. Our users love it, because it fits the way they work”.

Support Performance from Pisys

Another common wisdom in the world of IT is that any software system is only as reliable as the underlying support.

Is Mike’s confidence in ATMS matched by his belief in its backup team?

“Pisys are very responsive. Their support is inclusive in the fee, and the way they react is spot on. Especially in comparison to some other companies, they are very good indeed”.

Mike is keen to emphasise the reliability of Pisys support, irrespective of the origin of  the problem: “Daily use of a system like this means that mistakes will happen – like putting actions in the wrong way. Because of ATMS’s audit trail and lock-down functionality, certain types of error can’t be undone by users. That’s quite deliberate, and it even applies to Wood’s ultimate system administrator – me. But that’s never a problem, because Pisys will always apply a fix within a day–even for bulk errors”.

Beyond the Global Rollout

Asked how they see the relationship between Wood and Pisys developing in the future, both Mike and Pete refer to the ongoing global rollout – Pete in terms of additional users, and Mike in terms of further countries.

Pete also refers to other systems that Wood have asked Pisys to develop, such as a strategic maintenance management tool.

Mike picks up the theme: “People have seen how Pisys go about their work, and they’ve been impressed enough to ask what else they can do. And we now have other areas of Wood looking at ATMS for completely different operations whose existing action tracking systems are just not as good as ATMS. Such as commercial and business functions.

“Take, for example, ATMS’s automatic emailing of approvals and reminders to the relevant individuals. Anyone who’s used that facility will tell you it’s indispensable – it’s
one of the main things that ensures that things get done. But it’s just not there in other systems. That’s why we’re now looking at extending the Pisys system to grade and monitor business risks: moving towards tracking everything under one umbrella.”

It Takes Two

One thing that’s very clear from the way Mike Forrest
talks is that successful software deployment isn’t just about software.

The quality of the service provider – and of the relationship between the client and supplier teams –is also key:

“One of ATMS’s strengths is how easily our users can configure and manage it. Its set-up is directly influenced by Wood engineers, and we’ve been able to work with Pisys to get the changes that the engineers asked for. That’s how we reached the happy position where they’ve got the system they want”.

Pete Henderson is quick to highlight Wood’s contribution to the relationship’s success: “Yes – we work well together. But the best service provider in the world will struggle to sustain a good client/supplier relationship if the customer’s behaviour doesn’t favour a successful project. We have regular communication with the Wood team, and we find them proactive and involved. To give an example, they email Pisys regularly on aspects of the usability of the system. They’re always constructive, and it’s invariably in the spirit of working together towards common goals”.

The Pisys Action Tracker

Pisys ATMS is designed to track actions relating to a given project or organisation. It essentially enables actions to be recorded, managed and reported upon, and it is particularly strong in situations where:

  • Multiple people are involved in review and
    sign-off of actions
  • Close-out of actions is critical
  • Having an audit trail is mandatory (e.g. for
    projects involving HAZOP, technical assurance or project delivery assurance)

Companies gaining particular benefit from this type of system include those employing large teams of people, or deploying teams on large projects. With a global base of around 3,600 users, ATMS is especially strong in:

  • Situations involving multiple organisations and locations
  • Complex projects generating large numbers of
    actions requiring active management.

ATMS provides a very quick overview of action status regardless of the size or complexity of the project.

Risk Management on Pipeline construction project

Gas Pipeline

Case Study: This customer leads the construction of a new natural gas pipeline spanning 1850 km from Azerbaijan to Europe. Multiple international stakeholders are involved. The company chose Pisys 360 as their Risk Management Tool and now benefits from unified risk management across the whole construction project, regardless of location, cross-country legislation, project phase, stakeholder company and different contractors' internal management systems.

Risk Management - too many spreadsheets

Due to the large number of people working on the project and its wide geographical area, it became apparent that risk and associated actions needed to be managed centrally, so that everyone could access all relevant information from anywhere, at any time.

To add more complexity, many of the stakeholders and partner companies had their own company management systems already, some of which included their own way of managing risk.
These internal systems were not accessible to people outside of that organisation, making collaboration difficult, and often introducing additional hurdles to the safe working of all.

A unified system for Risk Management had to be found, which:

  • worked for all stakeholder companies across all project phases, locations and company management systems
  • was accessible from anywhere
  • The project started to use spreadsheets to manage risks, but soon found out that this was too large a task:

  • Multiple copies of spreadsheets were created, often with discrepancies between them. Management and personnel could not be certain that they were working to the latest information. Decision making, and co-ordinating work were difficult.
  • Spreadsheets were not accessible from all project locations.
  • Workflow was difficult to implement and track using spreadsheets.
  • Risk Matrix used for Risk Management

    Solution - Action Tracker configured for Risk Management

    A number of project personnel had already used Pisys Action Tracking System, and they approached Pisys for help.

    The system was introduced in all project locations and stakeholder companies, giving everyone a common system to work with.

    Pisys configured the ‘risk matrix’ functionality into the action tracker, which allows users to set up custom matrices to suit their needs. Many engineers were already familiar with risk matrices, and. did not have to learn a new approach - this saved on training times and associated costs.

    Pisys assisted with migrating actions from existing spreadsheets into the Action Tracking system and provided training so that personnel were quickly able to use the system independently.

  • The Action Tracker is cloud-based, and all information is centrally held and accessible from anywhere.
  • All project stages and actions are saved electronically in a central location and are accessible from anywhere.
  • The Action Tracker allows the creation and tracking of actions to mitigate risks across the whole project, to structure actions, projects and sub-projects, and manage the workflow all the way to closure.
  • The system automatically keeps a record of all changes to an action, making sure that all people involved are kept informed.
  • The Risk Matrix feature allows users to create and customise risk matrices to their own methods, terminology and colour coding.
  • Query Management in a busy Project Interface team

    Subsea equipment and ROVs on seabed

    This Pisys customer is a world-leading seabed-to-surface engineering, construction and services contractor, providing project services to clients worldwide. Projects are typically organised around a prime contractor and various subcontractor companies working together to deliver a solution to a client so Query Management is critical to project success.

    Query Management Challenges facing the Project Interface team

    The company’s dedicated project interface team used a variety of tools, mainly based around spreadsheets and email, to manage communications with all stakeholders.

    Project-related, often quite detailed, discussions took place verbally between some of the project personnel or contractor companies. These conversations were not always recorded. As a result:

    • some project team members were working to – and basing decisions on – outdated information.
    • valuable information was lost when personnel left the project.

    The flow of information had to be recorded and tracked better, and information shared amongst stakeholders more effectively.

    Spreadsheet/email were not able to do the job. Information silos and  multiple copies of information caused confusion and added unnecessary overhead to the many conversations which were vital to project success.

    Solution

    The company’s spreadsheet/email-based system was replaced by Pisys ATMS Action Tracking System to:

    • set out projects in multi-level project/subproject structure
    • capture conversations and share automatically via email
    • control and track the flow of information through the system
    • indicate completion of a task or project stage
    • create and share custom reports

    The ATMS Action Tracker was configured to represent the form types required for interface queries, and the built-in workflow manager was used to ensure that the correct stakeholders were notified at all required stages in the query lifecycle.

     

     

    Results

    • More effective, centrally managed communications
    • Key people are informed and involved in conversations
    • Valuable information is preserved
    • Easy access to project information anywhere
    • Time savings for project interface team

    North Star Shipping use ATMS for Incident Management

    Picture of ships off the coast of Aberdeen

    Case study: This UK shipping company created their own system for accident and incident management using Pisys360 Action Tracking.

    The company, which owns and operates the largest wholly UK-owned fleet engaged in the UK’s offshore industry in the North Sea, faces regular inspections and audits by external regulatory bodies. The company had to be able to show regulatory compliance at all times, included being able to prove that all incidents and accidents were properly investigated and followed up.

    The company’s ongoing ability to operate its fleet depends critically on the company’s tracking and recording of incidents and accidents.

    In addition to regulatory compliances, the company faces regular audits of various types – such as class inspections and client audits – and by a range of organisations including MCA (Maritime & Coastguard Agency) and LRQA (Lloyds Register Quality Assurance).

    The existing incident management system multiple linked spreadsheets to allow the recording, sharing and reporting of incident data across the company’s operations and vessel fleet.

    Effective up to a point, the system met the need to maintain tracking logs for all its vessels, and enabled incident related actions to be determined.  There was, however, no mechanism for tracking progress and closing-out of actions.  For the company this is a vital function whose absence, in the words of Paul Craig, the company’s Safety Manager, “…left us with an open loop”.

    He continues: “We had three basic needs that were not being met adequately: traceability, accountability and visibility.  Because we didn’t have those with the old system, the task of continuously showing compliance with all the relevant regulatory and audit requirements was much more arduous than it need have been”.

    A fresh system was required… …but, crucially, a fresh system that fitted with how the company operated, and NOT vice versa.  The company’s Business Systems Analyst Graeme Phillips explains: “We’d taken the previous system to its limits, and we couldn’t take it any further.  But it was important that the new system blended in with what the staff were used to – right down to making the screens look like they did before”.

    Challenges

    The existing system had reached its limits. There was:

    • no mechanism for tracking progress and closing-out of actions resulting from accidents and incidents.
    • only limited traceability, accountability and visibility within the system.

    Pisys worked with the Graeme Phillips and QHSE Team to develop a full Incident & Accident Management System, using the simple configuration functionality of the Action Tracker.

    Solution - Pisys Action Tracking system

    Pisys set about configuring their Action Tracking system to handle the required data. The outcome was a full incident & accident management system meeting all requirements.

    Pete Henderson, Pisys Director, comments: “Most incident reviews and most audits result in actions, and so a system with action tracking at its core provides a natural solution to incident tracking and management. The advantage with our system is that it built around the idea of a high governance workflow, so you already have a strong sign off and audit mechanism built in - the incidents details are entered on the easily customised forms within the system"

    Do our customers feel that their Pisys system bears this out? The company’s safety manager responds: “There’s not a thing I’ve asked for that the Pisys teams haven’t managed to deliver.  They’ve made the system do everything we needed – such as tracking actions that must be carried out right across our vessel fleet. They’ve also made it look and feel like what we’ve used in the past. That’s been excellent, because a system like this is only going to be fully effective if people are comfortable using it”.

    Graeme agrees: “Pisys’s turnaround  was excellent.  Having used many IT companies through the years to develop and deliver software, I’ve had the full range of experiences – from easy to difficult. I’d give Pisys 10 out of 10”.

     

    Delivering in spite of challenges

    For Pisys, the project was not without its challenges. “We threw some tough requirements at them”, comments Graeme, “A good example is how they got to grips with the incident severity matrix system that we’ve honed and developed through the years. Superficially it looks simple, based on a green/yellow/red ‘traffic light’ system, with the outcome determining what type of follow-on investigation should be carried out. But the outer simplicity masks the very clever way that Pisys built our severity matrix system into their reporting facilities”.

    It is well known that, following delivery and installation, every IT system will have glitches and gremlins that must be ironed out. In this respect also, Management is pleased with Pisys’s performance: “Technically, any issues they’ve dealt with where help tickets were raised – we’ve always had a reply within an hour”.

    Benefits

    Asked how the company has benefited from its new incident management system, John Blaikie the company’s Quality Manager replies: “Because the front end mirrors our old information forms, we’ve been able to get up and running quickly.  And that’s been tremendous.  It also means that we can run reports simply when we need new things – such as: ‘How many hours had the guys in the team been working before this incident arose’.”

    Paul Craig adds his own illustration: “Two months ago we had a safety investigation after a near miss. To avoid recurrences, we set up a system of alerts in the Pisys system. Just this morning the action came up and I sent out an alert on this topic to all ships. In the old system the incident would have been deemed closed.

    But with the Pisys system we can set up measures that will directly help reduce accidents and incidents in the future – potentially saving lives”.

    “The bottom line is that Pisys have been consistently brilliant. And the system we’ve taken from them is very effective and simple to use”.

    He adds as his final words: “…and to say that this is an extremely important system for our company is an understatement, as it encompasses all of our QHSE records.  It works, and we trust it to work”.

    Engineering Change Requests with ATMS

    High complexity results in large number of Engineering Change Requests

    Petrochemical Plant - image used for Pisys Case Study on  engineering change management by Oilfiled Operator

    This joint-venture oilfield operator streamlined their engineering change requests management, defined project deliverables and fostered collaboration between English and Russian speakers - all by using Pisys 360 Action Tracker (ATMS)

    The company’s project engineers are regularly asked to carry out significant and often safety-critical engineering changes to the company’s facilities. These include an oil& gas separation plant. The complexity of the plant involved generates many Engineering Change requests

    Initially, project teams attempted to manage all change requests using spreadsheets, but found that the complexity of the tasks required a more structured approach.

    Pisys ATMS allowed the company to build a robust system to support their processes.

    The system that helps move engineering change requests through all stages of the planning process. 'Job packs' contain detailed instructions of how the engineering work must be carried out.

    The system supports dual-language entry with Cyrillic and English characters. This helps engineers from Russian and English speaking backgrounds work together effectively.

    The Action Tracker allowed the company to create a system to:
    • move change requests through a workflow, and ensure approvals at various stages
    • produce job packs with detailed instructions on how to perform the job
    • structure and plan entire projects
    • create actions and track them to closeout to give complete auditability.

    Result

    • A structured Change Management Process, including multi-stage approvals at defined points in the project.
    • Defined project deliverables: engineers create detailed job packs containing instructions and other information necessary to perform the change. These packs are created as part of the change management process and are sent out to relevant people.
    • Better collaboration across teams, joint venture companies and across the English/Russian language barrier.
    • Improved safety: H & S professionals give their input at key stages of the project, and this becomes an integral part of change management and project planning.
    • Efficiency: change requests move through the workflow at the optimum level, as key people are notified when an action is required of them.
    • Better governance of change requests
    • Improved tracking, integrity, auditability and peace of mind. The most up-to-date and relevant information is available to all key personnel in one location, accessible from anywhere.