The examination is mentioned when the business has questions with non-obvious answers, and internal resources or competencies are not enough to answer them. Examination is also necessary when a business faces an insoluble problem. Then only an expert will be able to understand the situation and decompose it into "simple" tasks. And it also happens that the task is clear, and the decision is kind of obvious, and the competent resources are allocated, but the result is unsatisfactory. And in this case, examination is the most effective way to make a qualitative step in the right direction.
For an effective examination it is not enough to identify the source of the problem. It is not enough even to decompose it into components. The expert is expected to give clear, reasonable and economically justified solutions. Obviously, for expertise of this level, both profound knowledge of the subject area and practical experience in solving similar problems are needed.
ND company has specialized in expertise in the field of oil and gas business automation for more than 15 years. Without going into the complex details of the methods of conducting various examinations, we will describe the practical aspects of this service
Questions to be answered by ND comprehensive examination
QUESTION 1. What is the amount of investment needed to build a greenfield business automation system
Examination answers the main question of the owner: how much investment is optimal in order to provide business with an effective tool for the process control.
The European oil and gas business is regulated by a set of standards covering the whole range of business processes. The norms for the operation and technical testing of equipment, the rules for product metering, the criteria and methods for oil product quality assessment, etc. have been determined. This simplifies the solution of the automation task from a technological point of view. However, it does not give an answer to the question of its effectiveness, reliability and durability.
In case of absence of generally accepted norms and rules, the automated metering system is built on the basis of personal intuition, general erudition and fragmentary knowledge obtained from industry players. It is a long, risky and, as a rule, very expensive way of trial and error.
QUESTION 2. What business automation system can be built on the basis of existing equipment
Examination determines the operational capabilities and service needs of existing equipment, its current cost and, in the medium term, the degree of efficiency of the system built on its basis.
A comprehensive answer to this question contains an assessment of effectiveness of the equipment, its compliance with current business needs. For example, an examination can reveal the lack of necessary functionality or the presence of errors in the software of a technical tool.
The main aspect of the examination is the assessment of the potential for automation on the basis of the existing technology park. Outmoded equipment can exponentially reduce the effectiveness of an automated control system. In the process of examination, sources of a potential problem are localized.
Evaluation of technical obsolescence will allow predicting the value of these assets of the business in the medium term.
Often, in the framework of the examination, it is required to develop protocol and estimate the costs of equipment maintenance. These results allow you to plan the costs for maintenance of the equipment in working condition, to ensure the reliability and continuity of its operation.
QUESTION 3. What human resources will be needed to effectively operate the automation system
Examination forms a scheme for effective automated system management by personnel.
The system automatically collects and analyzes data, draws conclusions, transmit them to operator automated working stations and decision centers. In case of an emergency, it is able to output an alarm signal to the screens. But the functions of control and decision-making are performed by a person. Competencies of such people are subject to special requirements, it is obligatory for them to be on the company staff.
The examination determines whether the organizational structure of the enterprise is sufficient for the introduction of the automation system. Analyzing the current scheme of business processes and the functional responsibilities of managers at various levels, the expert gives recommendations for improving the management structure.
Scalability of examination
1. Examination initiators
Comprehensive examination, which is usually initiated by the owner, can be narrowed down to a format for solving local problems of one or more interested units.
Comprehensive examination covers various aspects of business processes. This includes the audit of the company technical facilities, the construction of a consolidating document flow structure between various oil and gas facilities, the formation of a hierarchical decision-making system, and the identification of fraud schemes.
The company not always needs comprehensive examination. It can also be aimed at local problems solving. In this case, the structural divisions of the company interested in finding a solution can initiate the examination.
Internal security service
Control and audit department
Commercial and financial departments
Corporate customer service department
2. Subjects of the examination
Skillful combination of approaches — differentiation and complexity — allows to carry out examination for business of almost any scale: from a company with three remote facilities to transnational oil and gas corporations.
The methods of carrying out examinations have been developed for all components of oil and gas complex. Each component can be considered separately or in combination with others.
Wells, petroleum storages and gas storage depot
Filling stations (filling stations, automobile gas-filling and compressor stations)
The centers of automated management of filling station networks, petroleum storages and gas storage depots:
Connection of examination results to ND technologies
The ND solution is a software package, independent of third-party developers, platforms and protocols.
In general, an automated ND system is a software and hardware system, the hardware part of which is based on equipment, both of its own production and of business partners. At the same time, our specialists are certified by all manufacturers of measuring equipment. We have qualified personnel for correct implementation of cash register equipment of most well-known brands in the automated system.
However, an integrated approach to building an automation system, which ND offers the client, assumes responsibility for its normal operation, reliability and efficiency. It is according to these criteria the manufacturers of equipment with world-wide names were selected, for the quality of whose products ND can respond to the client in full.
As for the software, the ND solution is a software product that is independent of other platforms and developers. For the consumer, this means a lower cost compared to the cost of licenses from market leaders. And in addition, warranty and post-warranty support throughout the period of operation, in contrast to platform developers who are not responsible for operability of the final solution.
Cost of examination
The cost of the examination is the subject of discussion in each particular case, since it is an intellectual service that is provided by specialists of various profiles and highest qualification.
The cost of examination can be assessed only according to the economic and image effect of the implementation.
If in the course of the examination the technical maintenance schedule is introduced, the service life is extended, the probability of an emergency failure is minimized, and direct and indirect losses from idle time are reduced to zero (because there are no more idle times).
When the examination reveals the mechanisms of fraud, the profitability of the business increases due to the elimination of such schemes.
When the processes of logistics, turnover and document flow are optimized they become effective and controlled.
When examination consolidates the management system, labor discipline and the quality of provided services grow, the reputation of the company improves, the client base expands.
In some cases, examination is a component of the design phase.
At the same time, examination is an integral part of an automation system formation, as only it gives answers to questions of expediency, efficiency, and optimality.