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Empowering the Workforce in a Digitally Transformed Refinery

by | Feb 16, 2021 | Downstream Hydrocarbons, Industrial IoT

Peter Zornio

Peter Zornio

Chief Technology Officer

How refiners can empower a digitally transformed workforceIt’s no secret that the refining business has a people problem. Like manufacturers in other industries who rely heavily on technology to stay competitive, refiners understand the need to transform their operations by extending the Industrial Internet of Things and other digital innovations across a wider range of possibilities. What many managers struggle with is how to integrate these changes into their workforce while considering the impacts they will have on their broader organizations over time.

While challenges certainly exist, the truth is that only when refiners link their technology and personnel strategies to their business objectives, embed expertise into their work processes, and optimize their operations in every way they can using real-time data does achieving Top Quartile performance become possible.

This article, How refiners can empower a digitally transformed workforce, focuses on strategies and technologies available to enable refiners to better manage the skills shortage—primarily due to increasingly complex operations and a generation of seasoned experts retiring—and will include the following essential competencies that are critical to helping workers achieve digital transformation:

  • Automate workflows by eliminating repetitive tasks and streamlining standard operations.
  • Improve decision support by leveraging analytics and embedded expertise.
  • Increase mobility by ensuring secure, on-demand access to information and expertise.
  • Implement change management by accelerating the adoption of operational best practices.
  • Upskill the workforce by enabling workers to acquire knowledge and experience faster.

To help refiners on a path forward to meet the challenges of transforming into a next-generation digital workforce, it’s also important to attract tomorrow’s leaders. There are currently millions of tech-savvy men and women preparing to join the workforce, but too few of them see refining as a desirable career path.

To ensure that it has access to a stream of qualified, motivated staff now and in the future, the downstream industry must shed its age-old reputation and promote the exciting high-tech aspects of the job effectively. The industry is on the cutting edge in many ways, but it simply isn’t engaging with recruits to show them how their engineering or programming abilities can be translated into a rewarding career. A step toward that goal is to become committed to partnering with higher education institutions to build an employment pipeline that will cultivate the industry.

By transforming the workforce, refiners can also maximize the return on investments—now and for generations to come.

Read the article and download the full Refiner’s Guide to Digital Transformation and Top Quartile Performance. Visit the Downstream Hydrocarbons section on Emerson.com for more on the technologies and solutions which enable you to realize a higher level of performance and agility, while ensuring that your operation is safe, reliable, and compliant at all times.

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The opinions expressed here are the personal opinions of the authors. Content published here is not read or approved by Emerson before it is posted and does not necessarily represent the views and opinions of Emerson.