As process manufacturing and production projects continue to grow in scale and complexity, more and more companies have to ask: What happens when best practices aren’t good enough?

Jim Nyquist.jpgEmerson’s Jim Nyquist (right) joined fellow senior executives from owner organizations to share insights on “Beyond Best Practice: The Latest Thinking in Doing Things Differently” at the Petrochemical Engineering and Construction conference on June 7 in New Orleans. The panel focused on new thinking to tackle core projects issues and implementation strategies to better improve project outcomes.

Project complexity has only increased with global teams, locations and supplies, Nyquist said—but current best practices were never designed to address these factors. Companies like Emerson have worked diligently in recent years to find new solutions. Emerging technologies, such as virtualization, have enabled companies to address issues earlier in the project to reduce risks from back-loaded activities.

Companies must rely on an integrated project management team to lead through the technical and commercial aspects as well as the multiple interfaces required in a project.

Change management skills are a must, Nyquist said. Specifications have remained constant while technology has rapidly advanced. Take printers, for instance. Installing a new printer used to require knowledge of computer ports and settings, but now, computers automatically recognize and welcome printers seamlessly. These are technologies that exist within control systems, but specifications have not necessarily kept pace to take advantage of these faster methods.

Emerson’s Project Certainty initiative has been a recent solution to the rapidly shifting work approaches. A mix of transformational technologies combined with current best practices, Project Certainty addresses project issues in a comprehensive way. Wireless instruments are a great example. Now, typically 40 percent of a plant’s measurement devices are for indication or monitoring only—yet wireless devices can save 80 percent off the typical costs of engineering, documentation, wiring and labor when compared with wired devices. For Petrochemical plants, this savings may be in the millions.

Want to learn more? View Jim Nyquist’s video on Project Certainty here or read more perspective from Nyquist at Emerson Process Experts.