Fiatech: Bridging Silos will Boost productivity

FIATECH: Bridging Silos will Boost Productivity

by REG HUNTER, Senior Program Director, Fiatech | March 13, 2016

Setting and meeting expectations continually challenges all facets of the capital projects industry. But, in spite of our industry being surrounded by a broad spectrum of extremely powerful and compelling technologies, performance improvement remains stagnant.

So why has our productivity not changed?

Why aren’t we harvesting dramatic benefits?

At Fiatech, an industry consortium of capital facilities stakeholders, we have been asking ourselves this question in recent months, and we have concluded the problem is that our increased specialization in design, construction and operations and maintenance has reinforced silos to the point that silos have grown to become more like self-contained worlds.

New systems and technologies often are used to enhance performance in each of the worlds, but unfortunately, not for the overall project.


our increased specialization... has reinforced silos to the point that silos have grown to become more like self-contained worlds


Working encapsulated within a world among worlds erodes vision, purpose and project-oriented passion. It insulates stakeholders from each other and presents a major barrier to realizing productivity improvement.

We also concluded that owners are the only ones who can break down those boundaries and realign efforts to deliver projects more effectively, but owners absolutely cannot do it in isolation. The challenges are far too complex. We all need to converge our perspectives and expertise and focus on driving sustained productivity advancement in our industry.

In response to the challenge, Fiatech, in concert with University of Kansas and Arizona State University, has developed assessment tools to gauge an organization’s readiness for lasting innovation, and we have also established productivity advancement targets (PATs) to unify efforts and measure the results.

They are developed and accepted by subject matter experts and are designed to provide the framework for attaining the target. To cultivate and streamline the attainment of PATs, Fiatech has established Leadership Initiative areas for industry owners and operators, project management, design, materials management, construction, lifecycle information management, handover to operations and emerging systems and technologies. Under these initiatives, 12 Productivity Advancement Targets have been created, all of which are driven by owners with extensive industry engagement and support.

  • Research from ASU and KU shows that even when a compelling innovative solution is implemented, there is a 70% likelihood that by the time a fifth project is executed, the innovation will have been forgotten and practices will revert to the prior status quo

We believe the Fiatech PATs, if fully delivered, could save the industry $334 million in cost avoidance for every $1 billion of investment, plus deliver a 10% reduction in project cycle time. Independent research by owners within their organizations support this cost avoidance potential.

PATs establish performance improvement expectations that are driven by cost-avoidance potential. They are developed and accepted by subject matter experts and are designed to provide the framework for realizing the target, including advice on organization practices and behaviors conducive to success, which are expressed as “PAT Indicators.”

PAT Indicators assist PAT Teams in developing strategies to effectively achieve the target. PAT Teams are groups actively led by industry owners with extensive subject matter expert support to develop strategies, set priorities and drive the advancements needed. Fiatech members are helping to capture current industry practices to refine the PAT Team strategies.

The tools are being developed that include leadership and advancement attributes that are key to solidifying innovation adoption and achieving sustained performance advancement as well as the specific practices that have led to success in the past. These practices are gathered, combined and refined to enable holistic solution adoption.

Currently, more than 275 indicators and 75 engagement touch points have been identified.

Indicators highlight practices already being performed by organizations that position them to move more effectively toward achieving the PAT. Such behaviors are spread across the industry, but no one organization has them all. Engagement touch points identified with respect to successful adoption of any specific tool, or practice flag areas, likely need focused attention.

An example is the use of ripple cost estimating modeling tools to capture the full impact of a change order. The indicators applied to such an adoption would help define an environment in which such a tool might be successfully adopted and maintained, while the engagement touch points would highlight areas likely to need tactical attention. This results in a robust practice where whole cost impact of a change can be more fully understood and actions taken.

April in Austin: Shell, Dow, Ford, Fluor, Bechtel among speakers. 

April in Austin: Shell, Dow, Ford, Fluor, Bechtel among speakers. 

The PATs are living documents undergoing continual review and revisions in a conversation that will continue during a general session at the Fiatech Annual Technology Conference & Showcase, April 4-6 in Austin, TX. There, we will host an Owner Panel to discuss the PATs and how owners can rethink process flows to motivate productivity improvements.

Owners will identify likely core causes, describe a new consolidated framework to provide focus that is driven by economic purpose, and will describe how owner organizations are rethinking their internal practices to facilitate and stimulate performance improvement.

Can't make it to Austin?  The easiest way to access and explore the PATs is to click here

NOTE: Neither membership nor conference registration is needed to access the PAT details.

The author is senior program director at Fiatech and a recognized industry change agent with more than 30 patents to his name. Last June, Hunter spoke at the Mechanical Contractors Association of America's Annual Technology Conference in Oak Brook IL. His topic? "Dude, Where's my Pipe Wrench? How RFID is Driving the Future".


A version of this article appeared earlier this month in ENR

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