Integrated Planning and Logistics

Integrated Planning and Logistics

This is a topic page to show an overview of a sub field of Integrated operations, describing the knowledge developed by the IO Center

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Integrated Planning (IPL) is defined as holistic, cross-domain planning for optimal resource allocation and activity prioritization across disciplines, departments, and organizations. IPL provides a live, holistic planning picture combined with improved planning processes for cross-domain coordination. We call these practices Integrated Planning Practices. IPL involves integration of production plans, logistic plans, project plans, maintenance plans, drilling plans. etc.

Challenges in planning

The oil and gas industry is characterized by a plethora of different actors, organizations and domains. On the Norwegian continental shelf, the operators typically outsource large parts of the operations, such as drilling, maintenance and modifications making a range of vendors and sub-vendors involved in the day-to-day operations in addition to the different domains in the oil and gas company. Each of these participants engages in their own activity planning and they produces plans in different and often incompatible planning tools. The lack of coordination across domains and organizations is a major challenge in today’s planning, resulting in sub-optimal prioritization and scheduling of activities and unnecessary down-time. This complicates any effort to achieve a holistic picture of the operations, both on a short term and long term basis.


Planning of activities in this setting is also characterized by a high degree of uncertainty. A central challenge is the ability to manage the operational plan in the execution phase where deviations will occur. Limited resources, system failures, unscheduled maintenance, unpredictable weather, or even subsurface surprises causing interruptions to drilling, are some of the factors that make it difficult to complete work according to predefined plans. Often the consequences of such changes are not entirely clear, and while managing to postpone activities and adjust the plan accordingly, the companies are rarely able to exploit changes by mobilizing alternative activities where another had to be put on hold.


In addition to uncertainties and the technical obstacles in today’s planning situation, there are a number of human and organizational factors influencing the coordination of planned activities. |Issues such as unclear roles and responsibilities, unfamiliar work processes, lack of information sharing, lack of commitment to plan processes, and lack of ownership are all well-known challenges for the operators. Integrated planning in this setting means that activities planned by different disciplines that are affecting others, is integrated and prioritized in advance to avoid having to make these decisions during operation. Team work is required to prioritize and step out of own discipline and prioritize based on what is most optimal for the installation as a whole. The making and using of contingency plans when changes do occur, is also an important part of integrated planning.


The Integrated Planning Framework

Findings from the industry pilots have led to the development of the Integrated Planning Framework, supporting analysis, implementation and continuously improving of IPL in the industry. This framework includes a platform of enabling capabilities and core capabilities. The three enabling capabilities that need a particular focus when implementing and improving IPL are: ICT tools, roles & processes, and arenas for plan coordination. In addition, to succeed in implementing integrated planning practices, human and organizational core capabilities need to be cultivated: competence, commitment, collaboration, and continuous learning as illustrated in Figure 1.


Figure 1. The Integrated Planning framework




The latter serves a particular purpose in securing the organization's ability to incorporate operational experiences into the planning domain, while also having an enforcing effect on competence, commitment, and collaboration. Devoting time and resources to improve performance provides the companies with a better understanding of operations and how to make them more efficient. In turn this supports the development of closer relationships between domains and across organizations, while also focusing on how employees work together. 


The core capabilities are human and organizational features that need to be stimulated and motivated through continuous focus and leadership. An IPL practice involves breaking down boundaries and establishing a renewed and focused sense of "we", across organizational domains and including organizational partners and contractors.


Management plays a key role in both implementing the enabling conditions and fostering a strong integrated culture. As the individual company will have different areas that need focus, and will have reached different levels of maturity in terms of implementing IPL, the first step will be to assess the particular challenges of the organization and decide on a road map for the continued development of IPL. Table 2 shows the relevant topics to be addressed for the enabling and core capabilities.


Table 2. The IPL enabling and core capabilities



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