BI and Ending The Milk Run

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Making BI as easy as going for milk
Making BI as easy as going for milk

“Drive-time” can be down-time spent listening to the radio, making phone calls or cursing at traffic.  Thanks to business intelligence (BI) — teamed with remote monitoring and reporting — there may be fewer miles on the road, more time on real work.
Every day, people drive around inspecting things: power lines, pipelines, industrial machines.  When things look normal, they keep driving – unaware of what happened before they arrived or the moment after they leave.

Jim Ferrero of Global Logix in Houston calls this ‘the milk run’ – people driving for hours just to pass by equipment and eyeball it.  About 70 percent of the oil and gas industry in the U.S. still uses this visual inspection model, he says.  The other 30 percent of companies use business intelligence, analytics and remote telemetry to report on operating conditions.  No one likes unpleasant surprises, when any disruption in production costs sales AND raises costs for repair.  In a column for Remote Site & Equipment Management, Ferrero says these snapshots offer no cause or effect information to identify other troublespots, no way to prepare for failures and emergencies. It’s just the way companies have done things for years.

Using BI to lower costs, reduce delays in repairs, monitor assets and ensure smooth operations are just some of the reasons companies use telemetry and other remote sensors. But making them tell the story through a visualization tool, dashboard or set of action stage-gates is what separates Knowledge from plain ol’ Data. It can also mean faster turnaround when things do break down. That’s why energy companies, utilities and companies with high-value infrastructure investments count on BI.

David Wallace
Spotfire Blogging Team