The Silicon Review
Asset performance management (APM) systems are used to improve the availability and reliability of an organization’s physical assets. This, in turn, reduces the operating costs and risks. The APM functions include predictive maintenance, condition monitoring, reliability-centered maintenance, asset integrity management, and technologies that assist in the collection, analytics, and visualization of asset health data. APM involves application integration and information sharing to provide a comprehensive view of asset performance, production, and product quality. The organization’s objectives and goals can be clearly communicated with APM; furthermore, it extends into technology, organizational structure, and business processes.
Investing in APM can reduce unplanned downtime, and a firm known as T.A. Cook specializes in providing excellent APMS for enterprises. In December of 1994, Frank Hess and his partner Thomas Cook founded T.A. Cook with a vision of working within capital intensive industries to develop and implement sustainable APM improvements that encourage long term client profitability. From the start T.A. Cook established a unique consulting approach by stepping away from wall-to-wall offerings and instead becoming specialists in maintenance, reliability, and shutdown & turnaround management. Today T.A. Cook serves multinational companies, mostly in the chemical, petrochemical, and energy supply industries, and employs a growing team of 180 experts in offices in Berlin, the United Kingdom, Rio de Janeiro, Paris, and Houston.
T.A. Cook is an internationally recognized agency in APM. In 2019 the North American ALM Vanguard report ranked T.A. Cook as a top leader in APM with high marks in client impact, depth of consulting capabilities, needs assessments, and management systems. Also, in 2019, The Scientific Society for Management and Consulting in Germany recognized T.A. Cook as a Hidden Champion.
In conversation with Frank U. Hess, Co-Founder and Chairman of T.A. Cook
Q. How does T.A. Cook measure performance?
T.A. Cook measures the success and performance of projects through three primary indicators. The first is the “more work” indicator. “More work” refers to a client’s decision to continue with a new project. As of today, 90% of T.A. Cook clients choose more work following the completion of the first project. The second primary indicator of success is performance-based contracts with the installation of tangible financial benefits. This kind of performance ranking is measured numerically, making it extremely transparent. In most cases, T.A. Cook clients experience no “out-of-pocket” expenses because of the newly installed financial benefits. The third primary indicator is a net promoter score, which measures how likely professionals are to recommend T.A. Cook to someone in need of our services.
Q. How does T.A. Cook help clients in developing an effective and efficient operational strategy?
Asset failures can impose severe financial, safety, and environmental risks to the organization. Maintenance, reliability, and shutdown/turnaround projects, when executed effectively, drive profits, safety, environmental performance, and business sustainability. Each project’s core focus, independent of a specific scope, is always to work with the client to develop an asset management strategy that addresses ineffective or inefficient business practices that lead to asset failures and high cost. This long-term vision for asset management is a subset of the operations strategy. The process begins by determining which assets are most critical, which guides the decision about where to start implementing improvements. The bottom line is that improving asset reliability improves the plant’s profitability, safety, and environmental performance.
Q. How does T.A. Cook ensure that clients are getting the most from limited available resources, people, equipment or facilities?
Clients are always resource-constrained. The project potential (i.e., financial results) determines what resources are required for the project. Most T.A. Cook projects deliver annual financial performance improvements of $25 - $100 million per client. These improvements directly hit the organization’s earnings before interest and tax (EBIT/EBITDA). The majority of T.A. Cook’s client engagements are multinational initiatives.
Q. Extra operations like rework and unnecessary handling due to defects, overproduction, or shortage are the common yet complex challenges in warehouse management. What is T.A. Cook’s approach in bringing a more agile management plan?
T.A. Cook’s service offerings are focused on asset management effectiveness. All of these topics are fair game and targets for improvement as T.A. Cook guides clients in their pursuit of operational excellence. Rework due to poor workmanship, degradation of parts and materials due to poor storage and handling, stock out situations, etc., all erode asset reliability and performance, which adversely affects overall asset performance. Over the past 25 years, T.A. Cook has operated from the approach that real change occurs on the plant floor. While the board rooms provide support, the consultants take action to drive change on the plant floor, where it counts.
Q. What are T.A. Cook’s plans for the future?
Over the last 25 years, T.A. Cook has specialized in asset management consulting, which has resulted in incredible growth in knowledge, resources, and expertise. While T.A. Cook does consider potential opportunities to expand its consulting scope, the company has decided to remain focused on asset performance management, the core competency. T.A. Cook is currently developing specific apps within their service models that will establish a new category of performance software and bring asset management to a new level of excellence. T.A. Cook expects its business to double over the next three years.
Meet the leader behind the success of T.A. Cook
Frank U. Hess is Chairman and Co-Founder at T.A. Cook Consultants. After completing his master’s degree at the University Zwickau for Engineering and Economics in Germany he worked for an international software company as a maintenance technologist. In 1994 he co-founded T.A. Cook, a management consulting boutique for maintenance and asset performance management (APM). After working more than 30 years in this field Frank Hess has become an internationally recognized expert for APM excellence.