Four workplace strategies for unlocking the value of integrated operations

By Thessy Moodley | December 5, 2018

Better integrating people, processes, information, and organizations requires cultural, operational, and technological shifts in thinking. But the rewards are worth the effort.

Integrated operations (IO) strategies offer a way to transition into a more collaborative, data-centric and digital-enabled workplace. One that makes smarter decisions with greater insights, and attracts and retains top talent.

I’ve witnessed the success of the following four workplace strategies with clients across a broad range of industries:

1. Centralizing control rooms

The majority of industrial operations’ area control rooms are isolated from one another and the rest of the business. They often have different standards and processes, out-of-synch operations, and are inefficiently staffed.

Consolidating control rooms into one central operations hub eliminates costly siloes, increasing visibility and control across the business. Such hubs are designed to function remotely so they can be located either close to the production zone or in urban centers where it’s easier to attract and retain top talent.

2. Creating centers of excellence

Siloes don’t just exist geographically but tactically. Integrating common strategic areas that support the value chain can help unite talent and resources for more consistent performance.

One collaborative strategy is to create centers of excellence to drive consistency on best practices and processes. This lets your organization leverage subject matter expertise across different geographical locations where particularly strong pockets of skills exist. You can create centers of excellence for many value-driving areas, such as planning and scheduling, asset management, process optimization, or analytics.

3. Collaborating with external partners

Analyzing increasingly large amounts of data is becoming more difficult and more critical for gaining and maintaining competitive advantage than ever before. It requires the application of advanced data science and technology as well as multidisciplinary industry expertise.

Establishing external partnerships to collaborate and harness skills across multiple organizations can help unlock valuable insights and efficiencies that extend beyond any one company’s internal capabilities.

4. Digitizing services

The emergence of digital platforms has ushered in a new working model that uses performance and innovation hubs to share knowledge and provide services related to equipment, processes and systems.

These digital hubs can be accessed remotely by a wide range of people and departments. They give greater visibility into the value chain and save time and money through a better distribution of talent and resources. They also open up opportunities for new service models with external partners.

The right approach depends on the particular bottlenecks in the value chain, but all organizations should take steps towards integrating their people, processes, and information. These workplace strategies offer a high-level view into the gains in efficiency and effectiveness organizations can achieve with integrated operations.