In this episode, Brian Moura, Global Portfolio Marketing Programs Manager – Operations & Maintenance from Hexagon’s Asset Lifecycle Intelligence division, sits down with Carrie Knight, Digital Asset Twins Product Owner at Cargill, and Sharon Wildey, SDx Deployment Delivery Lead at ReVisionz, to discuss global HxGN SDx enterprise-wide deployment successes and challenges.
BK: Hello and welcome to today’s podcast, A Global HxGN SDx Deployment Journey, from Hexagon. Thank you so much for joining us. I’m your host, Brian, and today we’ll be discussing real-life examples from a global Hexagon SDx implementation.
Guest hosting today’s episode is Brian Moura, from Hexagon’s Asset Lifecycle Intelligence division.
BM: Good day, everybody. I’m Brian Moura, the Global Marketing Manager for Operations and Maintenance at Hexagon. I’m here today with Sharon Wildey from Revisionz and Carrie Knight from Cargill. How are you ladies today?
CK: Just peachy.
SW: Doing well, thank you.
I’d like to ask you a couple questions and I’ll open it up, and either one can take the question and go first. But the first question I’d like to ask you is, what locations has Cargill deployed SDx at?
CK: We are doing a global deployment of SDx. So far we have already put North America, South America, Europe, and Asia Pacific in SDx. We’ve got 42 deployments in the works in some form. So it might be that we have just P&IDs and tags. We might have laser scans, P&IDs, tags. Or it might be all of our plant documentation with tags and laser scans. Or it might be just documents and no laser scans. So, depending on what need we’re seeing at the plant is what we’re working on. But 42 sites so far in about a year and a half.
BM: That’s impressive.
Sharon, from your perspective, what would you like to say about that?
SW: One of the things that we have experienced with Cargill is that there’s a lot of different sites and they’re small sites, so these are very rapid deployments. So, it’s one plant and then move on to the next one, to the next one, to the next one. And so that’s been quite an interesting challenge to the complexity. It’s not one big plant over time built up. But it’s get in, get into SDx what the plant needs, and move on to the next one.
CK: Our company is very old. We’re a 100 and some odd years in business. We’ve had a lot of acquisitions, so not too many of our facilities are greenfield built. So, lots of acquisitions, lots of different engineering contractors working with us. So, there’s no real standard with all of our plants. So, when we’re doing these rapid deployments, every plant’s going to essentially be different. And getting them into SDx, sometimes we have things all in a row and it’s easy, and sometimes we’re in the basement going through boxes trying to find the right documents.
BM: Can you ladies give the listeners an idea of the variety of implementation and time and duration for these challenging projects that you’re working on?
CK: So, the goal is to rock up to a plant and get them into SDx in about two months. Has not been achieved yet. We’re getting there. I think about three and a half months is what it’s taking because we are having to find the information, in some cases.
BM: All right.
Let’s move on to our second question. What is something that has gone well? Give us a little background on that.
SW: Well, one of the things that we’ve tried to implement is continuous improvement processes. Even though there’s a lot of diversity among the plants and the plant data, trying to capture some things that are consistent, consistent processes, consistent tools for doing the analysis of the documents and the tags and building in as much automation as we can. We’re looking at even moving forward into the AIML functionality and trying to see if that can help us improve the quality as we proceed through these plants.
It’s really been a concerted effort between Carrie and myself to make sure that we do try to capture as much as we can as we go through them and then implement it on the next one. Like she said, we’re trying to get faster and faster, and the goal is two months. So that’s a pretty short time to implement a tool that’s as configurable and complex as SDx.
CK: We started with checklists, getting more of those in place, more reporting and metrics on things because we didn’t really know. So, trying to come up with that and training material that’s specific to the way that we’ve configured SDx versus some of the training material out of Hexagon that’s very generic or looks slightly different than the way that we’ve implemented it. We call them job aids. It’s click by click, here’s how you go find your information in our SDx system. I think our plants have a way of doing things with their network drives or SharePoints and all the different places where they squirrel away their information. So, getting everything to them in one stop shop consistent with all of our plants. We are not making anything plant specific. It is a Cargill deployment. It is not, “Well, this plant, you can have it this way; this plant, you can do it that way.” So, consistency has helped us.
BM: You mentioned something here, and I like this idea of a job aid. Are you able to talk about that a little bit more? Like what brought you to develop that and then implement that throughout your plants? Because that seems like a very, very efficient tool that you are using there.
SW: I think it was kind of a lessons learnt from our previous work together. Carrie and I have been fortunate enough to work together at previous companies. So SDx, you can do the same thing many different ways. So, with those click by click job aids, it really helps keep the users focused on doing it in the process that you know is the easiest and most efficient way. They don’t have to wonder, poke around.
And one of the things that Cargill also has is diversity of employees. They have some that have been with Cargill for forever and will retire there, and then they have young people that are coming up. They have different languages that the plants speak, native speakers or non-English native speakers. So, it helps them, if they don’t have a real strong English knowledge at the plant to know, to be able to just follow along.
CK: I like to call SDx Department of Redundancy Department because there are so many different ways that you can get to the same information. So, the job aids I present, okay, what are you trying to do? Here’s 14 different ways you can do that. You pick which way works best for you. So, you want to find a tag on a P&ID. Do you want to start with the P&ID, or do you want to start with the tag number? And I walk them through the various different ways that they can find their information.
BM: Yeah. Different roles want to access data in different manners. So, it sounds like this partnership that you’ve developed is working and it’s growing and it’s evolving.
CW: And it really plays well into SDx because that really is one of the beauties of SDx, is that it allows the data to be presented to whatever role you have in whatever manner that you want to see it. Do I want to start with a data sheet and then go to the tag and then go to the model? Do I want to start at the P&ID and go to the tag and go to the data sheet? It allows you to traverse back and forth, and it’s a very powerful tool. And these job aids just help tailor the training to the specific user base.
BM: All right. Thank you.
We’ll move on to our third question. Now, you mentioned also, you did have a goal of deployment implementation for two months, but it was going on the three and a half month mark. Other than that, what are the things that maybe did not go well or maybe have surprised you?
SW: I would say one of the things that surprised me the most was the foreign language keyboards, or non-English keyboards, because they make characters that if you’re in Excel, you have to be careful of. So much of the loading that we do is Excel based, CSV based, so you have to really be careful because Microsoft has built in some character translation into the back end of their software, and sometimes it’ll translate it for you when you don’t want it to. And I say translate meaning just change the way the character looks, and the software is very literal. The software is, and it says, “Oh, this character that I have in the file name doesn’t look like the character that’s in the file name,” so it’ll say it doesn’t exist. So that was kind of a learning curve for us. So that was kind of one of those things that you really do kind of have to be very careful when you’re working in non-English file sets and things like that.
BM: Thank you. Carrie?
CK: From a non-technical perspective, I expected some resistance to change. So, we’re telling the plants, “Hey, we’re going to use SDx.” They seem to understand the objective and benefits of SDx, but the amount of pushback has been surprising. People are inherently averse to change, so get that. But to hold on to things like your folder structure that you have on your network drive and just trying to explain to people that’s a classification. You had some sort of hierarchy to how you built your network drive, and that’s all just metadata that we load into SDx. It’s just a mental mind shift on how you’re going to go find your stuff. And what we can do now is have a nugget of information and lead you anywhere. You can spider monkey all over the place, and it’s just like showing people you can do it one way. So, the good old sock, sock, shoe, shoe; or sock, shoe, sock, shoe.
BM: All right. Thank you for that insight.
We’ll move on to our last question. So, what are some keys to success that you’d like to share with the listeners?
SW: Well, as always, people are the key. As Carrie said, getting them into the change mindset and finding a champion, a local champion, is super helpful. To me, that’s almost critical to making the deployment a success is to have a local champion who can be there to answer questions or help out or redirect, be sort of our eyes and ears as well. Feedback, user feedback is critical for that, for the deployment to be successful and well received and used.
So, I think, just like Carrie said, helping to expand people’s minds to that there are options to do the same thing, and look, this relates to that. You used to have it in a folder called data sheet. Now you have a document classification called data sheet. You used to go find that data sheet underneath that folder that had that tag’s name. Well, now you can go find that tag and, look, there’s that data sheet. So really to have people to understand them and to help them understand that and help direct them and to see it differently I think is really critical.
CK: I don’t know that I would call it a key to success, but it’s a success story that I would like to share. So, I was at one of our plants that was a little bit resistant of getting into SDx. I was doing training sessions. About an hour after a session, somebody came up to me, she had a big smile on her face and was like, “Thank you, thank you, thank you.” And I was like, “Oh, for what?” She’s like, “Well, I’ve been here for six months, and in the last 30 minutes using SDx and the laser scans, I found more information than I did in the previous six months.” She said, “I didn’t have to ask somebody to go out into the plant with me, hold my hand and show me things. I searched for the tag, it linked to the laser scan, and I saw it. Now I know where I need to go in the actual plant.” She said she was able to get up on top of one of our grain silos. She hadn’t been able to do that because weather had been bad, but with utilising SDx and the laser scans, she got up there, saw what she needed to see, and then could make a decision.
So, sharing stories like that, like Sharon mentioned earlier, we have a lot of Cargill lifers. They’ve been there for a long time and they take for granted the amount of knowledge that they have in their head. And so, showing them, “Look, here’s a new person. She does not have that knowledge that you have, and this is why this tool is invaluable because she can download that information herself now.”
BM: Yeah. That’s a productivity increase by X factor over all of these employees across all these plants, so that’s amazing. Thank you.
Would you like to share any other thoughts or comments before we close out our session today?
SW: I was just going to add that I really like the direction that Hexagon is going with the digital reality, the incorporating the laser scanning along with the models and the integrations of the other tools. I think it’s the right approach. I think it’s going to really help businesses like Cargill and others that have a lot of Brownville work, have a lot of old data, don’t have a lot of 3D models because 3D models didn’t exist when that pump was built. So, I think it’s really going to be a game changer for the future, and I’m really excited about seeing where the Hexagon software’s going to go.
CK: Our schedule is very fast. We’re trying to do rapid deployments, and the only reason we’re going to be successful at this is because we have a strong relationship and partnership with both Hexagon and Revisionz. And without their expertise, we would not be able to do as much as we’ve been doing.
BM: I want to thank both of you ladies for your time today. Very insightful. I enjoyed talking with you about this global HxGN SDx deployment journey that both of you have taken together. Thank you very much.
CK: Thank you for the opportunity.
SW: Yeah, thank you.
BK: Thank you so much, Brian, Carrie, and Sharon. We really appreciate you taking the time today.
Brian Moura from Hexagon’s Asset Lifecycle Intelligence division, Sharon Wildey, SDx Deployment Delivery Lead at ReVisionz, and Carrie Knight, Digital Asset Twins Product Owner from Cargill. Thank you very much for joining us and for listening, we appreciate it so much. For more information, head on over to hexagon.com, and have a great day.