From time to time we will be introducing members of the SAM GUARD team who will share their unique perspectives on the industry.
Maya Rubin is a process specialist at Precognize. Her unique role is to introduce the SAM GUARD solution to each client, helping the employees at every plant to access the greatest value from the solution. Maya joined Precognize in this role in September 2019, becoming part of the delivery team, responsible for working closely with each client and evangelizing about SAM GUARD. If a client needs technical support or process-oriented support, Maya is there.
What is your main goal as a process specialist?
My primary goal is to help clients tap into the full value of the SAM GUARD solution, because it is part of a revolution in the industry.
A traditional control system relies on establishing limits to processes, but you can only achieve that once you know that you have a problem or a known limitation. Today, the industry mindset is changing. Industry 4.0 and digital transformation is moving plants to a new concept of finding issues while they are still small and taking care of them before they develop into major problems, instead of putting out fires. But you can only catch these issues in time if you check the alerts every day.
Process engineers are extremely busy people. They constantly have urgent items on their to-do list, so it’s rare for the process engineer to have enough time to check and investigate alerts every day. I review events and bring them filtered problems to make it easy for them to investigate them further. You could say I’m there to turn it into a habit for plant teams to check and respond to SAM GUARD alerts.
What is your professional background?
I studied chemical engineering for my undergraduate degree and then completed an MBA. While I was still a student, I started working at Haifa Chemicals. I continued there as a process engineer and energy coordinator, altogether for seven years. I then worked at Kimberly-Clark in similar roles and also as an environmental leader for five years. After that, I came to Precognize.
My background as a process engineer is a must in my new role. I work with process engineers every day, and they see that I speak their language, that I understand their challenges because I’ve experienced them myself. It helps me gain trust. Equally, my MBA gave me a better understanding of the customer’s viewpoint, correct management, and marketing. Both of my degrees together with my professional experience taught me the skills that I need now in my role.
What does a typical day look like for you?
I work with a number of different clients, and the process is similar for each of them. At the very beginning of the project, I work together with the process engineers and P&IDs to model the entire plant.
At my main and veteran client, Bazan, I am responsible for the Analytical Monitoring Center (AMC) and am an integral part of the plant team. Ohad Nahari, who was the first process engineer to work with SAM GUARD in Bazan and today serves as operational manager, genuinely wants to understand the root cause of every alert and move the plant towards operational excellence. Through our joint work we realized that we need to deliver a holistic solution that demonstrates the value of SAM GUARD in addition to delivering the software.
We discussed how best to achieve this, and decided to create the AMC where I can work together with Bazan’s process engineers to make the solution more accessible to the team.
On a typical day, I come into the plant and check the shift book to see if anything has come up that I should investigate. I review plant events every day in the AMC, to save time for the process engineers. Then, we have a morning meeting together with the maintenance team, operational manager, shift manager, and the safety team, as well as all the process engineers. We discuss any interesting findings that I discovered.
Later on, I look through plant events and filter out the ones that are the most interesting. I’ll meet with one of the process engineers or the shift manager to review events further until we find the root cause. I create action items, assign them to different plant workers, and follow up, making sure that an entry has been created in the SAP system so that nothing slips through the cracks. I also create action items whenever something new arises, such as if we spot a need for another tag as a result of recent events.
Additionally, I bring feedback from the client back to SAM GUARD so that we can improve our solution further.
At the end of each day, I update the operational manager of the plant about the day’s findings. If I’m working remotely that day, I still overview events and talk to the plant team about anything interesting. I can already see the fruits of my efforts, since if they don’t hear from me for a few hours, the team at the plant gets on the phone to ask why I’ve been so quiet today!
What do you find most challenging about your work?
I have two main challenges. The first is going into a new plant and becoming part of the team. I need to gain their trust and cooperation, because I am an unknown quantity. I really appreciate the teams that I work with for being so professional and open-minded. I can only succeed when the team is willing to adopt this new mindset of finding a fire before it becomes a full blaze.
The second is to demonstrate the immense value of SAM GUARD’s solution. It’s a new concept, like I said, so they need to understand that it needs to be added into their workflow as part of their daily routine. When you check the software every day and use it on time, in the right way, you uncover real value. I need to introduce this new mindset of using AI to reach operational excellence.
What do you like best about your role?
I really enjoy the combination of chemical engineering, working with people, and the technology. It’s the perfect blend for me. Plus, when you’re a process engineer, you usually get to know just one industry, but in my job, I learn about a lot of different industries, which is very interesting.
I love being part of the world of AI and playing a role in spearheading the digital transformation revolution. I feel like I’m at the cutting edge. I believe that in a few years, AI will be a standard part of plant control systems, so it’s very exciting to help introduce it and show the value of our solution.
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