Management System

Management System – Background

All production facilities seek to continuously improve their operation particularly in the areas of Safety, Health, Environmental, Reliability, and Profitability. The staffs at these facilities commit tremendous time, effort and capital trying to improve policies, processes and procedures to gain a competitive advantage.

But are you working on the right things? What areas are best to concentrate on? Where is your facility weak? Where is it strong? What are the best in class performers doing? How can you get there?

This process allows Management a unique opportunity to gauge their site performance versus industry Best Practices. It will provide invaluable feedback to aid in focusing continuous improvement effort in areas where the greatest impact can be made.

The gap analysis can deliver the following results:

  • Employees understand what abnormal situations are, how often they arise, and why,
  • Processes effectively minimize the impact of abnormal situations,
  • Management’s communications of goals, processes, and status is effective and comprehensive,
  • Employees’ knowledge and skills are continuously and appropriately enhanced,
  • Employees work in a supportive culture, and in an appropriate and safe environment,
  • Management finds opportunities to innovate and apply technologies to continuously improve, and
  • The change that results from continuous improvement is well managed.

Service Description

User Centered Design Services is an associate member of the Abnormal Situation Management Consortium®; Ian Nimmo was previously the Program Director for the Consortium and led all of the benchmarking studies for the consortium. Through his involvement in numerous cross-industry site studies at Power Plants, Refineries, Petro Chemical and Iron and Steel manufacturing plants, he was instrumental in setting a standard for industry and in providing the Consortium with an Effective Practices Guideline. UCDS senior consultants David Lee and Rusty Fleming have extensive process plant and instrumentation experience with a practical background in operations leadership. We can bring this experience to your site in the form of a Management System Gap Analysis. For this analysis we’ll visit your site, talk to your personnel and compare how existing site policies are intended to work, how those policies actually work in the trenches, and how they compare to industry Best Practice.

The ASM Consortium Effective Practices Guidelines are organized under seven practice categories:

  1. Abnormal Situation Understanding
  2. Management Structure and Policy
  3. Training and Skill Development
  4. Communications
  5. Procedures
  6. Control Building Environment
  7. Process Monitoring, Control and Support Applications


The Management System Gap Analysis performs an in-depth review of the following management systems:

  • Organization & Culture
  • Safety Policy & Risk Assessments
  • Procedures
  • Incident Investigation
  • Staffing
  • Operator Expectations
  • Training & skill development
  • Shift working practices & rotation
  • LOTO
  • MOC
  • HazOp/PHA
  • Management of Organizational Change (MOOC)
  • Alarm Management
  • Human Interface Design
  • Communications Practices
  • Human Factors & Control Building Work Space Design

The typical process for performing a Management System Gap Analysis starts with a few preliminary conversations to determine the particulars of the study. We can apply this methodology to a single facility or all facilities throughout a Client’s system.

We schedule a site visit to perform the Management System Gap Analysis. Typically two representatives from UCDS visit the site. During this process UCDS performs interviews with multiple representatives from the following areas: Senior Management, Department Management, Instrument Engineers, Instrument Supervisors and Technicians, Process Engineers, Training Supervisors, Trainers, Procedure Writers, Control System Engineers and Technicians, Operations Supervision (all levels), Field and Console Operators, Health and Safety, Process Safety Management, and Business Planning. These interviews are typically an hour long. We prefer to interview Operators at their duty stations during morning and evening shifts. This puts the operators more at ease, and minimizes scheduling issues and overtime costs for the Client. The Client should plan on a significant number of personnel being interviewed during the visit, and budget the internal cost appropriately.

After the site visit, UCDS requires a short period to analyze the data and generate a report. This report contains a full analysis of the completeness of the current site policies, how those policies are implemented on site, and how those policies compare to Best Practice. If desired, UCDS can return to the site to present finding to Management.

For additional information or to book a gap analysis please Email us at:

© 2013 User Centered Design Services


UCDS has in-depth experience in designing control rooms and modifying existing field shelters. Our process is compliant with the ISO 11064 Ergonomic Design Standard for Control Buildings. We interview management, supervision and a significant group of the operators to understand functional requirements, what works well in the existing environment, and identification and correction of problems with the existing design. To learn more Click Here


Situation Awareness

Abnormal situations encompass a range of events outside the “normal” plant operating modes, e.g. trips, fires, explosions, toxic releases or just not reaching planned targets. In the past incidents such as Piper Alpha, Milford Haven, Flixborough, Texas City and the 2003 northeast electrical blackout have all been attributed, at least in part, to a fundamental lack of good situational awareness. Early work of the Abnormal Situation Management Consortium® included a survey of the US petrochemical industry. Based on their research the consortium estimates industry losses of around $20 billion per year from abnormal situations, approximately equal to the total annual profits of that industry. Furthermore these studies indicate that companies achieving Best Practices in operations can improve productivity by 5-12%. To learn more Click Here


Fatigue Alertness Management

We have many customers looking to enhance their shift handover procedures and follow some of the Recommended Practices identified in the API documents; others are focusing attention on fatigue and fatigue countermeasures. We have great solutions for both these topics. For more details please contact Steve Maddox. To learn more Click Here



User Centered Design Services promotes Behavior – Based Safety which is a process that helps employees identify and choose safe behavior over an unsafe one. Safety in the workplace is a combination of three measurable components – the person their environment, and their behavior. To learn more Click Here

About the Control Room Operator Performance Group

The purpose of this group is to share ideas and solutions that contribute to improving the performance of the control room operator. Abnormal situations can be managed safely and effectively if we provide our operators with the right training, workload, environment, and interfaces.