Find, track the right metrics

Performance monitoring is not new. The concept of regular reporting has been around for as long as manufacturing operations have been in place. However, the pursuit of real-time performance management (RPM) requires managers to actively consider which metrics effectively track key processes and enable process improvements.


Performance monitoring is not new. The concept of regular reporting has been around for as long as manufacturing operations have been in place. However, the pursuit of real-time performance management (RPM) requires managers to actively consider which metrics effectively track key processes and enable process improvements. They should identify which processes can and should be measured in order to ensure ongoing optimal performance.


They must further consider how to adjust targets impacted by changing business or operational conditions in real time. Finally, managers must implement business processes which enable problem recognition and then drive immediate and long-term corrective actions.


Optimizing benefits

To ensure process stability and enable optimization requires knowledge of how the process is behaving in real time. Monitoring advanced control processes in real time through carefully selected key performance indicators and metrics exposes controller performance, helping managers identify performance improvement opportunities.


Monitoring KPIs and metrics derived from advanced process control systems can help increase process performance by:


  • Continually checking for optimality

  • Rapidly identifying and resolving process problems

  • Tracking to ensure advanced process control benefits are achieved.

    • Reviewing and exposing advanced process control performance with an enterprise view to a broader community enables appropriate coordination of goals with other parts of the business.

      Implementing RPM solutions

      A successful RPM implementation requires measurement, analysis and correction. At least these three elements are required for a performance management system. Diagnostic/analytic signals %%MDASSML%% or metrics %%MDASSML%% must be defined to determine if and when a problem exists. KPIs associated with those problems provide quantitative measures of business value. Once measured and compared to the target, any necessary corrective actions must be identified and executed %%MDASSML%% replacing a faulty sensor or retuning a controller, for example.

      Organizations should start defining and establishing KPIs and metrics during the advanced process control implementation process. They should measure and document their current state prior to implementation of the controller. This will help provide validation of the benefits to be obtained by the use of advanced control.

      KPI, metrics considerations

      KPIs and metrics should monitor and manage economic performance, capturing details such as:

      • The current level of economic performance of the processing unit

      • How economic performance changes with improvements and modifications

      • The major factors impacting economic performance

      • How economic performance targets should be set and updated in real time

      • Performance targets for operations that support meeting the financial targets.

        • KPIs and metrics should monitor and manage reliability capturing details such as:

          • The operating reliability of the processing unit

          • How reliability changes with improvements and modifications

          • The major factors impacting reliability.

            • KPIs and metrics should monitor for and manage new benefits opportunities. They should identify the potential opportunities for improving the economic and reliability performance of the unit. They also should identify the major factors impacting the ability to capture new benefits.

              Since there are similarities in controllers and their operating objectives and challenges, standardization of KPIs and metrics is possible. This can expedite the implementation process.

              Defining KPI, metrics owners

              Once established, KPIs and metrics should have defined owners who are accountable and empowered to take corrective actions as required. When introducing selected KPIs and metrics to process owners:

              • Introduce only a small number of them at a time

              • Allow time for evaluation of KPIs and metrics; give them time to demonstrate that they work

              • Allow for modification of metrics as necessary

              • Develop diagnostic advisement leveraging the best operators

              • If no one is consuming it, stop producing it.

                • Performance management workflow

                  Defining the appropriate KPIs and metrics is critical to performance management. However, the supporting business processes must be defined as well. Identification of the necessary workflow that owners of the KPIs and metrics must follow to sustain and improve unit economic performance is essential. This workflow must enable process owners to recognize the results that will indicate and justify additional action assist in problem solving and then establish pathways for transforming problem recognition and problem solving into remediation.

                  Once KPIs and metrics are selected, they can be presented in a diagnostic workflow format with color coding to indicate when an action is required. Diagnostic trees and flow charts provide workflow guidance to process owners to facilitate troubleshooting and ensure that corrective actions are taken and benefits are achieved.

                  To assist with early problem recognition and guide the diagnostic process, available software solutions can display role-based dashboards that provide an overview of the controller performance with the ability to drill down into details.

                  Best practices

                  Well-designed real-time performance management solutions are increasingly used to enable effective monitoring, maintenance and optimization of installed advanced process control applications. Tools that provide at least part of the solution “out-of-the-box” are simplifying the development of KPIs and metrics, as well as the performance management supporting workflows.

                  By leveraging these tools, and observing troubleshooting best practices, engineers and operators can ensure maximum economic value from advanced process controls implementations.

                  Proactive performance management enables better decisions to be made and acted upon sooner. The objective of performance management is to benefit from the value achieved by shortening response time, which requires that the right information and the correct targets are visible to the right person immediately when deviation occurs.


                  <table cellpadding="2" cellspacing="0" border="0" id="id379736-0-table" width="100%"><tbody id="id380387-0-tbody"><tr id="id380389-0-tr"><td style="BACKGROUND-COLOR: #eeeeee" id="id380391-0-td" class="table">Author Information </td></tr><tr id="id380400-3-tr"><td id="id380402-3-td" class="table">Catherine Jablonsky is director of business consulting %%MDASSML%% advanced process control at AspenTech. She has a Masters degree in chemical engineering and is a Six Sigma Master Black Belt. Her background includes extensive experience in the design and implementation of daily management and performance management systems for manufacturing. </td></tr></tbody></table>

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