Software Designed to Guide Operators Through Operating Procedures

GE Intelligent Platforms has released its new Proficy Water Operations, which is designed to capture and digitize expert knowledge — ensuring that best practices become standard operating procedures and minimizing the effect of “brain drain” that many infrastructure industries will face when their expert operators retire.

May 1st, 2012

GE Intelligent Platforms has released its new Proficy Water Operations, which is designed to capture and digitize expert knowledge — ensuring that best practices become standard operating procedures and minimizing the effect of "brain drain" that many infrastructure industries will face when their expert operators soon retire.

The system builds on the company's Proficy Workflow system. By guiding operators through procedures, WPM reduces risk and costs, improves quality and eases compliance by minimizing operator errors and tracking responses.

The new software "will provide a tool for utilities to leverage their knowledge base from their workers and create standard operating procedures," said Terry Biederman, GE's new Global Industry Manager for the Water & Wastewater sector. Biederman joined GE earlier this year. He gained first-hand knowledge of the Proficy system while serving as Director of Public Works for the Township of Waterford, Michigan. The Waterford utility served as a test bed for the new software and continues to use it in daily operations.

With Proficy Water Operations, utilities can document processes, transfer institutional knowledge and drive critical consistency and predictability into the plant. The system allows digitization of manual and automated processes with one tool across the entire facility – from plant operators and maintenance teams to field crews and leadership.

Documented processes and electronic Standard Operating Procedures (eSOPs) provide step-by-step instructions guiding the right actions.

"Optimizing operations requires a work process management system to define, model and coordinate each utility's workflows and resources," said Matt Wells, General Manager, Work Process Management Solutions. "A WPM system digitizes procedures to guide operators, track actions for reporting, and align plant processes for rapid response to normal and unusual events."

The system can also help provide real-time, condition-based asset management. When an out-of-spec event takes place in the SCADA, Water Operations can trigger a work process to interface with the Computerized Maintenance Management System (CMMS), secure a work order number, send specific instructions including GIS location information to an operator, and facilitate the corrective action to remediate a problem.

Water Operations can then close out the work order with the CMMS, whether plant or GIS centric, and record the actions taken for historical records. This reduces the need for operators making scheduled rounds and device readings – and automates the process of moving from condition detected to creating work requests and the right corrective action.

Furthermore, utilities around the world can benefit from GE's growing library of Water/Wastewater eSOPs – which speeds digitization and implementation. The library includes digitized eSOPs such as turbidity, filter operation, security, caustic chemical feed, and more.

"Proficy Workflow allows us to make every operator an expert with interactive, step-by-step instructions," said Frank Fisher, DPW Information Systems Administrator for Waterford Township. "In turn, we can decrease downtime, maintenance and costs across operations, reduce troubleshooting time and risk, and capture knowledge of our best operators before they retire. We can also record and track work processes for compliance."

For more information, visit www.ge-ip.com/workflow.

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