Friday happenings…a rude awakening

June 11, 2011 at 09:32 | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Determined to make today a productive day, I thought through all that have happened over the past 3 weeks and came up with a list of targeted questions for the users.

The main objective was to address the problem of data error coming from the measurement of oil in storage tanks. What the people at production would do is a process called tank sounding to measure the volume of oil. Then they would measure the temperature. Using this 2 data, they would perform some calculation to determine the tonnage of oil in tank.

I thought that since errors are coming from data collection, perhaps it could be the manual calculation and entering of data that could possibly go wrong…and the solution would be to build the formula into the system to do the calculation.
Turn out that it was already being done, with the exception of 3 tanks without calibration data in place… so for that, the user will still have to perform manual calculation.

In conclusion, there wasn’t a real problem.

Towards the end of the day, my pseudo-supervisor came into the office and asked me what I’ve done.
Happily, I reported the above and she retorted rudely ” so what have you done? what are you going to do about it?”
“Could you come up with an Excel chart to help the user do away with manual calculation?”
I was too shocked to formulate a reply… so I simply kept quiet.

Sure I can… the Excel formula would be simple: Mass = Density x Volume
But does it help solve the problem?
…and most likely it would be wrong, because the data is with reference to a calibration data for the tank, and the density table for the particular oil concerned… i.e. I will have to make assumption that the oil tank is a perfect cylinder and the oil expands linearly with temperature increase…
…and I could do all these since I’m so free, but would it be “busy work”?

Must change be necessary?

Must “something” visible need to be done?

Perhaps this is my rude awakening… people out there wants to see something tangible (an Excel chart, a report, etc) done & would not accept the recommendation for things to remain status quo…
Imagine if a company hires a consultant, and the consultant simply diagnose that nothing is wrong with the company, it should remain as it is, would the client be able to accept it?
It would be like a patient who is down with a minor infection going to a doctor… the doctor, with the right diagnosis, simply tell the patient to go home and rest, drink more water etc., without prescribing any medication, would the patient accept it?

Hmm, some food for thought for me…

…and for a funny link very applicable to me, uncanny resemblance of a lifeguard part-time job:


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