Implementing an industrial wireless network
A global energy company collaborated with Accenture to implement an industrial pervasive wireless network to monitor and analyze work patterns.
To improve its ability to negotiate fixed-price contracts, a global energy company needed to develop a more precise understanding of the amount of work various disciplines were contributing to maintenance activities. To do so, the client looked to use mobile solutions that could track workers at one of its production facilities.
The client engaged Accenture to build a wireless network infrastructure at the facility, as well as distribute RFID tags to workers, manage associated business readiness activities, and manually analyze data for daily reporting—a choice based on Accenture’s track record of implementing technology in hazardous operational environments, and its experience in using analytics to drive operational improvements.
Accenture created an outdoor pervasive wireless network at the client’s facility, installing 50 rugged, intrinsically safe access points designed to operate in hazardous areas. Accenture also equipped some 1,100 workers with wearable RFID tags and implemented desktop-based MobileView software to gather data coming from the field and monitor workers’ locations.
Accenture drew on its vendor relationships to deliver on the accelerated timelines and complete the project in less than 90 days. With the network in place, Accenture worked with the client to monitor worker activity and apply analytics to identify movement trends and operational bottlenecks, and better understand demobilization processes. As an example, monitoring revealed that the tendency of workers to follow similar work patterns was resulting in the mobilization times of different contracting companies converging, even if they contractually had different start, end, and break times.
Intrinsically safe access point
Workers with wearable RFID Tags
During the implementation, Accenture worked closely with the client’s productivity team to help the company develop the expertise and skills needed to keep operating the solution on its own—giving the client an important tool for ongoing improvement. In addition, Accenture conducted three hours of training, as well as providing guidance during the turnaround event, to embed essential skills and knowledge.
With the new solution, the client was able to develop insights that boosted productivity, increasing the amount of time workers spend in productive zones by one half hour per-person per-day. At the same time, the system has given the client a solid, data-driven foundation for planning and estimating maintenance work, and for negotiating vendor contracts for such work.
The wireless network—which the client also recently used to test an advanced manufacturing initiative pilot that required cloud connectivity—gives the company a foundation for future advanced manufacturing initiatives. Furthermore, it supports the company’s overall plans to extend its enterprise network into the field and enable the increased use of digital technology in its operations.