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Best Practice 3 - Design Operating Manuals to Contain Three Types of Knowledge

Going into projects, VPS has found information in memos, operational notes, personal notebooks, and training materials that should have been integrated into the Operating Manuals. At the same time, VPS has always stressed that the Operating Manuals should not include any training content such as training guidelines or exercises.

Design Requirements

To facilitate the objective of meeting Design Requirements, the Operating Manuals must be designed to have a logical place for each type of information. A starting point for this design is to ensure that the Operating Manuals will accomodate the three categories of operational knowledge.

Three Categories of Operational Knowledge

Declarative Knowledge

This is how-it-works knowledge. This includes a basic description of flow through the process, and the basic function of all equipment and controls.

Procedural Knowledge

This is how-to-do-it knowledge. This knowledge can be provided in the form of standard operating procedures and work aids. It includes step-by-step instructions on how to perform tasks.

Conceptual Knowledge

This is what-to-do, why-do-it, and when-to-do-it knowledge. The critical content includes technical details on chemistry, relationships among key parameters and strategies for all control systems. Operators with this expert knowledge are good troubleshooters and optimizers. They can systematically analyze symptoms and quickly identify root causes when problems occur. They can also mentally simulate optimization approach and determine which will yield the best results.

Sample Implementation

The figure below illustrates a sample Operating Manual design that is consistent with this Best Practice.

Operating Manuals Containing Three Types of Operational Knowledge.

You can learn more on this topic by contacting us for the following VPS References:

  • "The 3 R's Model for Effective Knowledge Management"
  • "Introduction to Process Description Manual"
  • "Introduction to Standard Operating Procedures Manual"

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