Business Process Modeling of Quality System in a Petroleum Industry Company

John Krogstie, Merethe Heggset, Harald Wesenberg

Situation faced: The petroleum industry is characterized by increased focus on safety and compliance with regulations, in addition to efficient operations. Earlier quality systems were represented in large binders of textual documents, which made important governing documentation difficult to access and unusable for operational personnel who wished to gain an overview.

Action taken: Based on the existing quality system, a new way of structuring and accessing the material was developed as a collection of 2000 process models with navigational support through an intranet solution whose use was mandatory in the workplace.

Results achieved: Improved compliance with regulations and reduction in the number of accidents were observed. This improvement is not attributable only to the restructuring and presentation of the quality system through process models, but the process models are a visible sign of the organization’s focus on safety and compliance, and it has made it easier for workers to find relevant regulations and requirements when dangerous work is to be undertaken.

Lessons learned: Although good results have been achieved, there is room for improvement in this large-scale example of the use of process models to structure a company’s quality system. Ensuring that all employees can find all the models they need and that the models are kept up to date based on practice are important challenges. In addition, handling the trade-offs among goals for safety, efficiency, and compliance is a challenge. Modeling practices that were regarded favorably at an earlier stage might come to be seen as insufficient for the future needs. Therefore, professional long-term use of models must be conscientiously pursued over time.

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