Supporting Human Procedures in the Digital Age

Human procedures remain a critical part of daily operations across most industries. Yet maximum productivity, efficiency and safety are rarely achieved because staff are poorly equipped to manage and record procedures like inspections and other daily operations tasks 

Paper-based forms, macro-heavy spreadsheets, word processor documents, legacy notes applications and other outdated tools are still incredibly common. Although they may work, these tools are disconnected, increase operational risk, reduce collaboration and limit productivity and opportunities for growth. 

More than just a productivity issue
Productivity and efficiency are just one victim of these outdated procedures. Rightly, the safety risk to workers and the general public is of most concern – Hexagon research of industrial accident investigation reports found that inadequate management of human procedures had contributed to 405 fatalities across 101 incidents between 1983 and 2018. These same incidents also resulted in a further 2,163 injuries and over $150 billion (USD) in financial losses. 

Although vital to operations, human procedures represent a significant risk – when improperly managed. Working in partnership with OSIsoft, Hexagon has helped several customers who have realized that digital solutions provide an opportunity to reduce their operational risk. 

Powerfully combining human procedures with real-time data
The AGL Energy Loy Yang Mine in Victoria, Australia excavates 4,000 tons of coal every hour to fuel their power stationsEvery shift is set a production and quality target to ensure that the local power stations receive the volumes of coal required to meet expected fuel demands.  

As part of the shift handover process, incoming managers receive a report detailing production from the previous shift, highlighting shortfalls that need to be addressed in order to reach the daily production targets. They are also appraised of the status and availability of the mining and transport equipment. Similarly, an end of shift report is forwarded to senior management to confirm whether objectives were met, comparing expected production tonnage against actual tonnage. 

j5 Operations Management Solutions from Hexagon have helped to digitize these reports, making them easier to collate and disseminate. With the assistance of the OSIsoft PI System™j5 Operations Management Solutions expose planning data to a wider audience, ensuring that the operations workflow is not only optimized, but that workers are aware of new health and safety issues as they occur. 

Combining PI System data with human processes ensures that decision-making is more effective due to increased situational awarenessThis also ensures that personnel are better informed site-wide, helping to reduce the risk of a health and safety incident.  

You can read the full AGL Energy Loy Yang Mine Case Study here. 

Digitizing operations to increase efficiency and reduce risk
Based in Arizona, Salt River Project is the third largest public power utility in the USA. But despite the size and complexity of operations, the business was still fully reliant on an old generic notes-based application for capturing process alarms and event logging. 

This outdated notes-based process created several problems. Maintenance issues could not be monitored using their limited functionality. Also, manual processes were unnecessarily difficult and there was less accuracy of alarms, which was lowering situational awareness.  

By implementing the j5 Operations Management Solutions platform, Salt River Project was able to replace the legacy notes application and centralize data related to human business processes and proceduresDigitization is helping to reduce manual processes, improve responses to alerts and increase the accuracy of captured data.  

Importantly, j5 Operations Management Solutions simplifies the process of sharing human procedure data, adding an additional layer of context for decision making at all levels, from shift managers allocating tasks to C-suite strategists defining future corporate activities. Using j5 Operations Management Solutions and the PI System also allows their internal IT resources to be utilized elsewhere. 

You can read the whole Salt River Project Case Study here. 

Human procedures key role in meeting regulatory compliance
In the moments following the Deepwater Horizon oil rig disaster, the initial response teams were unable to effectively troubleshoot the Blowout Preventer (BOP) due to a lack of understanding of the final state of the control system. This lack of knowledge greatly hindered the teams from acting in the most critical moments. On April 19, 2019, the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE) mandated that any oil rigs drilling in the Gulf of Mexico must actively monitor the subsea BOP and control system in real-time. 

In addition, the new regulations require that all companies must track, trend and report on equipment failures, abnormalities and overall system health. By utilizing the PI System and various solutions from the OSIsoft Partner EcoSphere – including HxGN SDx® Operations and j5 Operations Management Solutions – Deepwater Subsea LLC has developed the Janus24 real-time monitoring platform, an industry first solution that combines real-time data, compliance verification inspections and asset lifecycle management in a data ecosystem that allows oil and gas companies and drilling contractors to operate safely and in compliance with federal regulations. 

You can read the detailed Janus24 Real-time Monitoring Platform Case Study here. 

A safety-critical piece of the digitization puzzle
Despite advances in robotics and automation, human procedures remain unavoidable in most industrial settings. However, these activities generate extremely important data that has a bearing on efficiency, performance and safety. 

Replacing legacy systems and paper-based forms will improve collection and accuracy of data and make it immediately available for use across the business. Production teams are better prepared for each shift, while decision makers have an additional layer of insights that help them design and deliver strategic growth. 

If your company is currently using outdated technology for human procedures, please contemplate this. In daily life, digital technology is being embraced at an exponential rate. According to the Q2 2020 Update of the Ericsson Mobility Report, there are about 6 billion unique mobile subscribers globally, and 74% of these subscriptions are now associated with smartphones.  

So, at your company, are valuable operators – who are continually carrying out procedures at dangerous facilities – provided with digital tools to help them reduce operational risk, meet compliance and manage and record these more efficiently?

To learn more about j5 Operations Management Solutions  and how it can help streamline and maximize your human business processes and procedures, please watch the Hexagon and OSIsoft “Essential Elements of an Operations Digital Twin” webinar series. 


Gordon Duthie
After graduating in 2010 with an MSc with Merit in International Marketing Management at Robert Gordon University, Gordon is part of the Hexagon PPM division Global Marketing Team in the role of Senior Program Manager focusing on Operations & Maintenance (O&M) solutions. He is based in the Aberdeen office in Scotland.


  • Never Miss an Update