The globalization of the world economy is driven by free-market ideology and is possible because of advances in communication and transportation technology. At the same time it also has consequences for supply chains and the related logistic infrastructure requirements. The supply chains for oil, gas and water are no exception. Examples of consequences are:
- Closer to real-time business decision making that requires the availability of actual statuses and capabilities to feed the decisions back to the operations side;
- Reducing margins for which possible solution directions are higher volumes and/or cost reductions enabled by savings on logistics;
- (Forced) Open competition with related shared use of logistic infrastructure (pipeline systems, storage facilities, etc.);
- Focus on growing in the area of core competencies and related emergence of logistic service providers;
- Open communication systems with related (IT) security risks that can possibly endanger the actual control system used for operations.
Automation is an enabler for the solution direction to the challenges posed by these consequences. As a provider of automation solutions Yokogawa has been long time involved in automation projects for logistic infrastructure. A common challenge with this kind of projects is the cooperation between and the integration of the business and operation domains. This challenge has not only a technical aspect to it. The organizational aspects play more and more an important role as well as the changing demographics of the working force.
The paper will provide information about Yokogawa’s experiences, solution directions and lessons learned. Both technical and organizational subjects will be discussed.