By Josh Girvin, O3 Solutions CEO
O3 recently hosted its first-ever AWP xChange conference, dedicated to the discussion of AWP technology and how AWP can be a part of a company’s digital transformation. I’ve attended numerous excellent AWP conferences that were focused primarily on process and practices over the years. While these are educational and have helped share some great success stories, there weren’t a lot of topics dedicated to how technology can play a big part in an AWP strategy. We decided it was long past due for a technology-focused AWP discussion and we wanted to lead the charge. O3 was excited to host the AWP xChange on May 4th and saw participants attend from all over the world. This clearly solidified the notion that AWP is a growing area of focus, not just in the petrochemical industry, but for several other industries that are only now gaining exposure to the benefits of AWP.
To start, we asked the participants to tell us where they are on their AWP journey. The results were very diverse, showing a really interesting spread of answers about where people are:
· 32% said that they are just getting started
· 25% have used workface planning before in construction
· 25% have experience implementing full AWP
· 12% for whom AWP is a corporate best practice
With that broad-spectrum in mind, we then introduced three case studies from leading Owners & EPCs that covered very different topics, and each showed differences in their approaches for their implementation of AWP.
· Shell focused on a crawl/walk/run approach to AWP to make it fit-for-purpose for their portfolio of projects in the Gulf of Mexico. This included understanding the available technology and building an organization to deliver AWP (people, process, technology).
· Suncor discussed the need to get started early in the engineering stages and the enablement of the digital journey, as well as challenges with aligning everyone on their definition of a “Digital Project”.
· Linde provided an insight into their AWP journey, which is already in its second decade, and the key learnings that they have discovered so far. Most fundamental of these was the need to stick to CII/COAA AWP principles and terminology, and not reinvent the wheel.
One very consistent theme, repeated multiple times throughout the day, was the need to understand AWP as a journey. Maturity in AWP execution will develop over time, and with repeated implementations. Project teams will always be lessons learned and processes can always be improved. Speaking of process, and keep in mind this was a technology-focused event, we looked at the limitations of the oft-repeated mantra of getting your AWP process finalized first, and then thinking about technology. By implementing two phases, you greatly extend the timeframe for organizational change, and you
run the risk that your process and technology will be at odds with each other. Using modern, purpose-built software to support AWP means that technology can meet you where you are, and help (rather than the limit) your process development. You can leverage the lessons and best practices that are baked into the technology, and take advantage of all the feedback and improvements from those who have already blazed this trail with AWP implementation.
We were also very pleased to roll out O3’s new ONField mobile application to revolutionize the digitization of WorkFace Planning in the field. The construction industry as a whole has lagged behind many advances in technology and is firmly rooted in paper drawings and mark-ups in pen. The drive toward field mobility and digitization aims to make WorkFace Planning accessible to all projects and bring information closer to the point where it is needed most.
Another exciting aspect of the day was a focus on AWP mobility expansion opportunities, where we sought feedback from the audience on a series of possible developments in mobile applications that would cover every phase of the project and impact everyone involved.
In the afternoon session, we switched gears to a workshop format and challenged everyone participating in the event to list challenges associated with the application of technology within AWP. Having such a diverse group of participants with different backgrounds and experiences helped us capture a wide range of challenges across all project life areas. Rounding out the workshop, we worked as a collaborative group to identify potential solutions to the largest challenges and present a roadmap for future endeavors.
The key highlights of the day for me were:
· AWP is quickly becoming a global phenomenon and is gathering momentum in many new areas – industry sectors, project types, and geographical locations. With that comes new ideas and new challenges and the critical need for a common purpose, understanding, and application.
· Everyone is at a different point in their journey, and no two organizations have identical journeys to AWP maturity. Importantly, many Owners and Contractors are recognizing that the only way to tackle the journey is to start now, and not to get left behind by their competitors.
· Technology, now more than ever, can and will play a vital role in AWP. Finding technology that can work for your organization in the short term, as well as supporting that long-term journey to AWP maturity, will simplify the change management process and speed up your organizational evolution.
We look forward to planning our next AWP xChange and hope to see you all there. To catch up on what you missed check out our full recap here.