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Blog Series: Best Practices for Your Petroleum Supply Chain

Check out our blog series, "Best Practices for Your Petroleum Supply Chain" and learn from industry experts how to incorporate best practices to improve your planning and scheduling processes.

December 20, 2016 by Patrick Garrett / 0 Comment
Patrick Garrett

Achieving Work/Life Balance: How the Right Tools Can Help

Samy Garrett, helping with the chores, 10 days old


Work/life balance may be the most important factor in achieving and maintaining happiness and success as an employee. I know that this concept is true for myself, most of my friends, and my colleagues. It is vital to enjoy your personal time, whether you’re leaving work to play some basketball with your buddies or heading home to play with your newborn son. In my case, it used to be the former, but now it’s the latter!


Technology often plays a vital role in achieving work/life balance. I will never forget the time, early in my career, when I was using a very slow computer—and I mean glacial! When I asked our department manager about an upgrade, he responded, “Why should I pay money to upgrade your computer when you’re on salary?” I bet you can imagine how unappreciated that made me feel, the point I’m really trying to make is that having the right tools to do your job effectively makes a genuine difference!


When it comes to making one’s job easier, technology can either help or be a hindrance. As a chemical engineer, I have used my fair share of clunky software, including models that don’t converge or programs frequently crashing. However, during this past year, while working with PIMS-AO, I have heard from many customers who are very happy with its speed and stability. 


On average, customers reduce solve time by about 75%. In many cases, like the one described in this case study of PIMS-AO used at the largest refinery in the world, 95% solve time reduction is achievable. In this case, it literally saved the planner about 12 hours a week because he was able to return feedstock evaluation recommendations to the trader in two hours instead of 36! I wonder if that planner has a son at home, and if he gets to spend more time with him?

 Not only does PIMS-AO reduce solve time dramatically, the optimization engine is also very stable. In the same case study cited above, they eliminated local optima – those irritating false-positive solutions that cost millions. In the past, planners would manually build large case sets (usually called “parametric case runs”) to verify their final answer. Now, PIMS-AO does that for you and solves those cases even faster!


I just hope that you have the benefit of using the right technology to get the right answer - AND get home at a reasonable time tonight.



  • Allison McNulty
    September 21, 2016 by Allison McNulty / 0 Comment

    Goldilocks and Refinery Planning and Scheduling

    Okay, I confess – in addition to the various news sources I peruse daily, I also learn from “Captivate.” You know, the ingenious screens at the top of the elevator that flash snippets of news to stare at so you can avoid eye contact instead of (gasp!) actually talking to your fellow passengers …

  • Ruben Ramirez
    November 30, 2016 by Ruben Ramirez / 0 Comment

    It’s Time to Stop Herding Cats – and Spreadsheets

    One of the phrases we sometimes use in our office when assembling global, multi-discipline teams for a project is that it’s just like herding cats. We are in Houston, Texas, so the images of a cowboy, cattle and corral are easy to imagine. The skill demonstrated when herding cattle is impressive, but cats being, well cats, they could make any cowhand hang up his lasso …

  • Patrick Garrett
    October 14, 2016 by Patrick Garrett / 0 Comment

    Weather the Storm With These Refinery and Olefins Planning Best Practices

    Weather is a lot like the energy industry—globally interconnected, hard to predict, ever-changing and cyclic. In different places around the world, weather varies but there are many similarities, just like the energy industry. In summer, Europe is warm and relaxing but in India, it is roasting hot and dry with everyone eagerly awaiting the first monsoon…