woensdag 4 juli 2018

Chaos & the Butterfly Effect

Chaos & the Butterfly Effect.
When one observes the entropic, disorderly world around us, we often call it chaotic, coming from the word chaos, which from Greek, actually means emptiness or nothingness of the universe, from which the Gods emerged. When we use entropy, meaning disorder we arrive automatically at the expression to describe our world as being in chaos which we all can watch in the daily news. Author James Gleick, who wrote a mind altering book named Chaos, the third scientific revolution,  described Chaos Theory as a way to understand that our world is not as predictable nor as controllable as mechanistic, empirical, so called linear sciences, determine. In fact, it is the opposite of linearity which is non-linearity which I wanted to mention in this column. Our businesses, industries or organisations are often created as linear systems based on linear cause and effect expectations only. They are built along mathematical and modelling or Newtonian laws of physics. When something happens, we actually believe that when we just write more regulations, our system can be controllable again. But this is a false idea. We do have to realise that non-linearity could be causing unexpected and non-controllable effects. Now, to understand this, wed have to understand that so-called dynamic living systems, such as our organisations, can always be affected by tiny fluctuations which can lead to enormous consequences. Have you heard of the Butterfly Effect? When a butterfly flaps its wings in China, a thunderstorm in America can be the result. When Edward Lorenz, a mathematician by learning and a meteorologist by passion tried to use deterministic computer modelling to predict the weather in a linear fashion, he was surprised that the outcomes of his research looked very different then what his computer had attempted to compute. Predictions according to universal laws of physics gave very different results, namely that tiny errors in calculations led to enormous errors. The experiment proved that any cause, direct or indirect, would interfere with reality. The assumption that small influences could be ignored ended. Systems Theory confirmed that everything is related with everything else.
Now, apply this insight to your organisation or company. When you see a truck driver park in the wrong manner to load a cargo, or you watch an operator doing the wrong thing, or understand that you did not sleep too much or that the food in the cafeteria is inedible or that the heating coils of shore tank number 3 are not working properly, but that you are pumping it out anyway because a customer demands it. You will now have to think about the Butterfly Effect and accept that it is real and that ignoring it could lead to entropy and chaos.  You may now ask: But how can we control it then? Well, you cant. But what you can do is to use Cybernetics, with which you can build maximum resilience and variety into your system. Stephen Hawkins was trying all his life to create a Theory of Everything. He understood why.                             

maandag 11 juni 2018

HSEQ Success comes from Within

HSEQ SUCCESS COMES FROM WITHIN In a new column, Arend van Campen, manager at Tank Terminal Training, examines the current focus on HSEQ and compliance

This article is published in the June 2018 edition of Tank Storage Magazine
When I started my career in the storage and tanker transport world
40 years ago, I worked on a tanker barge in the Netherlands and
sailed the Rhine all the way to Basel, Switzerland.
We were transporting carcinogen cargoes such as benzene, but also
heavy fuel oil or petrol. I remember that in the summer, we worked on
deck in just our shorts and walked on flip-flops. I also recall that our chief
mate used toluene to clean our fuel oil stained coveralls with a broom, laid
out flat on deck.
After they were cleaned, we wore them again without any awareness
or information that the toxic fumes could harm us. As a 16-year-old boy,
I was given a bucket and a paint brush and told to open one of the tank
hatches and fill the bucket with benzene directly from the cargo tank.
After that, the mate ordered me to degrease the bollards with this hazardous
chemical because it worked wonders as a solvent. Once, a barge
captain threw a burning cigarette stub into an open cargo tank filled with
fuel oil during bunkering operations of a sea-going vessel. He laughed and
said to me: ‘Look Arend, nothing can happen, it won’t ignite.’ Those were
the days!
Today, I observe that health, safety and environment (HSE) have
become top priorities but why? Thousands of studies, articles, video’s,
training modules, conferences, safety fairs, or PPE’s have been produced
to protect people, assets and the environment. From virtually non-existence
or non-awareness of HSE we now observe that the tank storage and
tank transport industries are flooded by a myriad of rules and regulations
that are enforced through corporate and governmental compliance.
In 2013, I wrote a book on HSE & CSR called: ‘Safety of Ethics’ in
which I ask a simple question: ‘What is the true intention of HSE?’ I
wrote this conclusion on the back cover: ‘Enforcement of HSE rules when
not based on true and right intentions (to protect life and the environment),
but with the ulterior motivation of saving money by protecting
vested interests, is counterproductive. The true intent of HSE should be
to protect life: human and non-human.’ I tried to answer these three
questions based on several incident case studies:
1. Are HSE and CSR policies first priority? Answer found; no.
2. Are companies prioritising liability limitation by extreme HSE standards?
Answer found; yes.
3. Do companies sometimes mistake doing business legally with doing
business ethically? Answer found; yes
Research shows and confirms that what currently seems to be the way
to control and prevent ‘risks’ in HSE is being enforced from the ‘outside’.
The tendency to focus on compliance through standardisation, rules and
regulations, which are becoming stricter each day, is almost suffocating
normal practical and logical ‘human’ achievement. This is known as
‘impairing functionality’, meaning ‘losing strength’. Immanuel Kant wrote
about this in 1788, which was written long before I started sailing:
‘Rules and regulations would simply result in hypocrisy, and that
the law (re: rules or regulations) would be hated or at least despised.
The law would only be followed for the sake of one’s own advantage.
Legality would be found in the letter of actions, but not in the spirit of
minds, without troubling oneself with motives for doing it.’
What to do with the many books and papers on HSE, guidelines,
regulations, which only seem to increase complexity? Who has read the
thousands of publications, possibly contradicting each other, now filling
a HSE and compliance manager’s office? Who has the time?
To prove the validity of two principles: ‘the right intention and morality
before legality’ we researched and use ‘new’ so called ‘non-linear’ sciences
which are adding value to the limited empirical or reductionist way of scientific
analysis on which our current HSE/CSR regulations are based.
They are listed here:
Noetic science confirms to man that the human mind is a powerful tool
to steer reality, because he is a part of it. The power of intention, choice
and motivation is real. Awareness that this reality exists, would assist
decision makers to make them cautiously. This would mean that business
leaders or corporations should be careful of what their real intentions
are. Ulterior motivation can be understood as an impure intention.
The power of pure intention has to be considered as one of the factors
upon which a sustainable decision should be made. (Dean Radin)
Systems science: confirms Noetic Science – everything is connected,
interrelated and interdependent (the observer effect = consciousness).
Impact on objective reality by subjective (your) thoughts and actions.
We are not ‘outsiders’ looking in. Sustained life or living systems are
emergent properties or in other words the resulting qualitative improvement
of a combined interdependence and cooperation of all information
carriers. (Fritjof Capra, Pier Luigi Luisi, Arend van Campen)
Deontology: The science of duty or obligation. The knowledge what
is right and proper. Current HSE risk management systems are often
based on the opposite of deontology which is consequentialism. HSE is
a moral obligation first. Rules become guidelines.
Relativity theory: Eliminated the Newtonian Illusion of absolutes. (Albert
Quantum mechanics: Eliminated the dream of a controllable measurement
process. Mechanistic or deterministic thought had been playing tricks to the human mind. It gave people the illusion that they were
objective and in control (looking in from the outside), but subjectivity
(the observer effect) is confirmed by quantum mechanics and quantum
consciousness. (John Hagelin, Amit Goswami)
Chaos theory: Eliminates the fantasy of deterministic predictability, but
found that order from chaos is a natural phenomenon. (James Gleick)
Butterfly effect: Had to be included in science to understand chaos
and complexity theory as unpredictability (non-linear effects). (Edward
Theory of cognition: Life is autopoietic, which means that it creates,
maintains and sustains itself through communication (cognition) with
the environment. (Humberto Maturana, Francisco Varela)
Cybernetics: Science of effective organisation. Learning and information
enables control and steering of energy and matter of organisations
(viable systems modelling) by the human mind and his actions. (Norbert
Wiener, Stafford Beer)
Law of requisite variety: ‘The variety of a regulator has to match the
variety generated by the system which has to be regulated.’ Variety is
about the capabilities of a system to regulate itself (by as much information,
knowledge, tools, and capabilities as possible).’ Organisations
that apply this law can build an adaptive HSE system, which is based
on maximum information – all of it – and is able to learn and adapt
constantly. Current HSE publications such as ISGOTT or PGS 29 are
non-adaptive HSE systems because they usually are updated after a
certain time has passed and/or new risks are experienced, which may
be years later. An effective HSE system needs to be able to absorb
changes (variety). (Ross Ashby)
When we understand organisations, such as storage terminals and refineries,
as autopoietic (self -maintaining), living, social systems of communication,
we intuitively understand that incidents and accidents can be
prevented by learning; sharing positive – and negative feedback (all information).
HSE risks can be ‘governed’ by information. (Niklas Luhmann)
This goes way beyond compliance and regulations from the outside,
which are usually too late and are often implemented only after something
bad has happened.
Tank Terminal Training works with information feedback loops to
create syntheses (observing and measurement of all interdependent
relationships – all stakeholders) and use the results to draw maps.
These so-called feedback loops maps directly show and predict HSE or
CSR risks before they could become incidents or accidents.
Rather than enforced compliance demanded from the outside in mechanistic
(outdated) fashion, we found scientific proof and created tools to
build enough variety and HSE resilience within organisations by using
information as energy to influence matter (assets, relationships and
people: human factors). No matter how many rules or regulations are
enforced from the outside, they will never produce morality of character
(Immanuel Kant). HSE has to come from within us, by the right intention.
It is an innate feature which allows us to survive.
HSE risks are controllable and governable by Information but need to
be managed within boundaries of functionality. (‘Realimiteit’ or within
limits of reality). This steering or control capacity needs to come from
within us, people, and cannot succeed by regulations alone.
We train organisations to understand the science behind this method
and how to use the tool as an alarm system.
This is done in two phases:
1. Operational observation, understanding and drawing all ‘feedback
2. Building ‘requisite variety’ in a HSE/CSR system.

woensdag 11 april 2018

Predicting HSE risk and vulnerabilities by the TTT mapping method.

At the Rotterdam Stoc Expo in March 2018 conference speakers introduced several methods to control and prevent HSE and operational risks. One spoke about the latest version of PGS 29 which was updated, because new risks were encountered and had to be included. Impressive charts in Excel showed how health, safety and compliance managers had been able to improve safety standards, but they had to admit that ‘Human Factors’, which cause 80% of incidents, were not easy to influence or change.
During the last years, TTT experimented with testing, not only human factors such as psychological biases or character flaws, but the manner people interact, communicate and share information. We started to learn about the value of information. We mimicked nature and looked at the way all living systems communicate and replicated this method to create our unique measurement and mapping tool. The measurement method was developed in cooperation with the Creazene Institute in Switzerland. It was invented with the purpose to predict and map vulnerabilities in corporations, organisations or institutions which are in fact ‘living systems of communication.’ Using the tool we look at day to day operational risks and HSE management and are now able to predict and therefore prevent incidents.
By a combination of scientific tools, cybernetics and systems sciences, we created this capability which exactly shows potential risks and vulnerabilities of organisations.
This goes way beyond compliance and regulations from the outside, which are usually too late and are implemented only after something bad has happened. It is a well known fact that enforcement of regulations, rules or compliance impair an organization’ functioning.
It is about how an organisation, company, storage terminal or refinery or any other organisation, even political, communicates. We work with information feedback loops to create syntheses (observing and measurement of all interdependent relationships) of operations and management systems and use the results to draw maps. These so-called feedback loops maps directly expose, show and predict risks before they could become incidents or accidents. 
When the maps show communicative connectedness with all stakeholders, the organisation’s operations are considered stable, balanced and manageable. If they do not show communicative connectedness, the organisation is at risk. Potential risks or vulnerabilities will become evident and we train organisations how to eliminate these by teaching about the sciences behind the tool. It works incredibly well. It could even become scary when one looks at such maps and directly understands where and what vulnerabilities are present. It works as an alarm system and enhances operational excellence.

We offer to synthesize your operations and management systems.
That is done in 2 phases:
1. Operational observation 
2. Verification of  ‘stakeholder' communication systems (internal and external)
We offer a comprehensive training program about this capability. The first public courses are planned for August 16-17, 2018 in Kuala Lumpur and September 13-14, 2018 in Zurich. The course is also offered as an in-house training program anywhere in the world.

woensdag 4 april 2018

Stoc Expo Rotterdam 2018

Drinking Water to Fuel our Future Economy.
Next week the Stoc Expo Conference and Exhibition will be organised in Rotterdam, Holland. An impressive number of internationally operating companies, organisations and people related to the Bulk Liquid Storage industry will attend this important yearly event. What I wrote two years ago on the future of bulk liquid storage business, Id like to share with you today. I developed a method to research future trends, predictions on longevity or continuity of industrial sectors and wrote and presented these trends as I do believe we have arrived at a tipping point. Bulk Liquid Storage is a part of- and dependent on- a hydrocarbon based economy consuming non renewable fossil fuels. When I am asking the question; does this industry harm the environment, social cohesion or human and non human life, I cannot say no. Sure, the products we all use made from these fuels and chemicals improve our luxurious lifestyles, but are they sustainable? You can answer this rhetorical question  yourself.
When we cooperate and endeavour to phase out products and industries that are harmful or as we called them negatively interdependent (benefiting some at the cost of others) and replace them with non-harmful ones, we can create a sustainable range of products that are so-called positively interdependent (they benefit everyone). I can therefore see a future energy storage industry storing harvested solar, wind, water, hydrogen or geothermal energy, but also, perhaps even more importantly, to store, ship and distribute (tank farms and pipeline networks) drinking  water. Investment in guaranteed drinking water supply chains will benefit the continuity of daily, global business. Drinking water should not be made into a commodity, because the value of availability of drinking water for every one on this planet would reduce revolts, risks or conflict. Prevention of such costs, would pay amply for needed investments. According the WHO the yield in drinking water supply investments would be between 10 % and 3000%!  I foresee a function for existing oil or chemical storage companies to also become drinking water storage and supply terminals with dedicated pipelines, pumps, jetties and storage tanks for water. Such an initiative will not be coming from politics, but can be organised by the industry itself. When one acts as a systems thinker, all you have to do is use ALL information to build a resilient storage industry which is able to stand the test of time. Perhaps we should change the current definition of sustainability into standing the test of time. What we now can observe, not only in the Storage Industry, but in all industries, political and economic linear systems, is that they often overlook the need of future generations. This modus operandi wont stand the test of time. We would have phase out our harmful business models and adjust them into new, non harmful, sustainable ways. The awareness, knowledge and skills are here. Lets use them in cooperation and lets share the profits equally.

woensdag 28 maart 2018

Methods of Training

I am writing this column in Mombasa, Kenya. I’m here to teach and train two groups of loading masters who work for a national energy distribution company.
Now that major energy companies are divesting and withdrawing from downstream and midstream exposure by selling their physical assets like oil terminals and petrol stations, joint ventures are being formed with investors such as trading firms that refurbish, rebuild and, in some cases, operate them. This needs an assessment of the quality, not only of the hardware, but more importantly of the ‘software’ i.e. the people who work there.
And that is where TankTerminalTraining comes in. We take a look at the competency levels of the people by using the OCIMF guidelines and our global operational experience to assess awareness, knowledge and skills. This can be done in limited time. With that tool in hand, we are able to create ‘made to order’ training programs that focus on possible gaps of knowledge. By doing that in this manner, people can be upgraded in no time to the levels of professionalism required.
I usually work as follows: At the beginning of the course a number of questions are asked in the form of a ‘pre-test’. From the answers I can analyse the current level of competence and then during the ongoing assessment a competency profile can be made of each person. The training program is adjusted accordingly in order to not ‘lose’ the person by too much technical or operational details at once.
Our Loading Master program works approximately the same, but is not a class for beginners. Controlling and managing the ship/shore interface requires experience and advanced awareness, knowledge and skills. Again, systems science and cybernetics are used to train the candidates, because information is what it’s all about. The students are requested firstly to learn how to pre-plan and prepare before any tanker comes alongside. This pre-arrival, pre-berthing and pre-load or discharge protocol is very important. They are required to obtain a maximum amount of information.
According to cybernetical principles there is a law which I explained in an earlier column: ‘information reduces uncertainty’. When you take a closer look, that makes sense. People can be shown how, when, or where to get this information from. But of course, they first need to be able to ask the proper questions, which means that they must be taught all the details and aspects of how to manage the ship/shore interface.
What we use is a reference, or if you will, leverage. We look at what a Chief Officer of a tanker had to learn before he was allowed to be in charge of cargo operations. He or she had to go to maritime college for four years and then needed to build sea-time and understand everything about loading and discharging, which is a complex operation. So, we apply systems theory to teach a new way of thinking to our students in order to realise that information gathering through learning reduces complexity. This new level of competence gives them maximum control and reduces HSE risk.
This is the latest in a series of articles by Arend van Campen, founder of TankTerminalTraining. More information on the company’s activities can be found at www.tankterminaltraining.com. Those interested in responding personally can contact him directly at arendvc@tankterminaltraining.com.

donderdag 7 december 2017


In the first of a new regular column, Arend van Campen of TankTerminalTraining emphasises the importance of teamwork
When a football team wants to win the championship it will spend a lot of time, many hours per week, preparing for the next game. This is what training is. The team needs to form a strong connection, unity and cohesion to operate as a machine; in systems thinking terms, this would be a system that constantly improves itself.
The training programmes use feedback as a method of controlling a system by re-inserting into it the results of past performance, which in fact is called learning. The team then functions as a living system, adjusting to opponents, adapting to circumstance and always learning from its environment in order to stay flexible, resourceful and finally victorious.
TankTerminalTraining (TTT) incorporates a similar line of thinking in its training programmes and this improves the overall results dramatically. In order to understand how systems operate and survive in real life we always ask this question: how would you behave if you were stranded alone on an island?’ This usually starts up a new way of self-reflection and from that starting point TTT focuses on commitment, awareness, knowledge, skill and – ultimately –  wisdom. There is a saying: ‘a wise person comes prepared’ and from that idea onward training towards a winning team proves its value in making people better at what they do.
In management terms it is important to remember that “rules and regulations impair an organisation’s functioning”.  What this means is that unthinking compliance to rules or regulations can jeopardise the individual’s powers of reason, with compliance just becoming a matter of ticking off a checklist. But people do have reason, as well as their self-esteem, their caution and their prudence as natural survival mechanisms. All they have to realise is that they are actually on that island where they have no other means but to train themselves by saying aloud: S.T.O.P!  S: Stop! Where am I? T: Think! Who am I and what can I do? O: Observe! What is available? P: Plan! Step 1, Step 2, Step 3 to survive!
Learning and using these four simple words would prevent many incident or accidents, but people need to be taught first to understand themselves. TTT is not just training and educating people on technical or operational matters, because as you are probably aware 80 per cent of incidents and accidents happen due to human factors. TTT understands that a winning team can only be created by training them physically and mentally.
The metaphor we like to use is to form a tank terminal orchestra where melody and harmony can only be produced by the cooperation of all the musicians. These musicians need their personal motivation to learn how to play their instruments well. TTT has noticed that management does not always emphasise individual responsibility. Sometimes, when TTT asks the question “Are you in control, really in control?” the answer is not convincing; “Don’t ask me. I just work here!”
When this is the case, the operation of the terminal may be vulnerable despite the growing mass of rules, regulations and checklists. People are the terminal! Behaviour and information decide the sustainability of the business model, so have people learn all the time and win!

This is the first in a new series of articles by Arend van Campen, founder of TankTerminalTraining. More information on the company’s activities can be found at www.tankterminaltraining.com.