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Berthing Pains – APT invests in SEABERTH

August 24, 2010

APT (Associated Petroleum Terminals) is a company jointly owned by ConocoPhillips and TOTAL, established to operate the Port of Immingham terminals that serve Total and ConocoPhillips’ Humber refineries. Until the introduction of SEABERTH, managers had handled the complex and constantly changing operation manually, using spreadsheets. Experience and best assumptions made effective planning possible but only within a narrow window and the process was slow with the result that scheduling could not be fully optimised.

The greatest challenge faced by Bob Law Oil Movements Controller at APT, in establishing a technology-based system was fear of change. His advice is to introduce colleagues to a new system gently, encouraging them initially to see it as an additional tool, rather than a replacement for the existing system. He is opposed to formal training sessions at the outset but prefers instead to convert people by allowing them to test out a trial model in the safety and security of their own PC.

“It’s potentially a big mistake to make managers feel forced to adopt a new system,” he says. “People need to gain confidence in the product for themselves and, if they are switching to an IT system for the first time, to learn that they won’t break it just because they hit the wrong key. If you allow people to feel that they themselves are making the decision to change, they can be weaned off the old system and then, at this stage, you may want to accelerate the process with some training.”