Today someone asked me how PAS is different from our competitors. The premise of the question was that the other guys obviously make acceptable products or they wouldn’t be in business. So what if we have some features and functions that they don’t? What really makes PAS a better supplier and partner? Excellent question, I said.
Frankly, I had to pause for a moment and collect my thoughts before answering, since this is a fundamental question any client would asks before selecting a strategic technology partner.
Here is my answer in summary:
PAS’ roots are in the control room. More than eighty percent of our engineers come from end-user companies. We have a number of former operators on our team. Eddie and I both spent many years training process operators, developing and commissioning control systems and spending our fair share of time in various industrial control rooms. We live and breathe operations. It is who we are. It’s in our blood.
So why does that make us a better supplier and partner? What does that have to do with the quality of our products, or the relevance of our offerings? Everything!
Our plant operations experience gives us genuine context and more importantly, empathy for our customers. We really have “walked a mile in their moccasins." Years ago, I was in a control room when the cat cracker went into reversal. If you don’t know what that means, trust me, it’s a very bad thing. I didn’t know if I would be alive 10 seconds from now or not. The term “process safety” now has a very different meaning for me than it did before that day. It’s not an abstraction. Only experience can teach that kind of lesson. Many of us at PAS have had our lives changed forever by in-plant experiences like that.
These experiences have changed the way we think. They have caused us to take a fundamentally different approach to our applications than our competitors who come from an IT background.
We focus on safety and production first, and then on systems and data. To some, this may not sound important. But when you put it in context, then it becomes not only important, but also critical.
Take for example dynamic alarming. This is serious business, impacting the operator’s vigilance during the most critical operating periods – process transitions and upsets – and directly impacting plant reliability and personnel safety.
Recognizing that no alarm management solution is complete without the dynamic alarming, who would you trust with your alarm management strategy? The guys with extensive plant operations experience or the IT guys?