Setting and meeting expectations continually challenges all facets of the capital projects industry. But, in spite of our industry being surrounded by a broad spectrum of extremely powerful and compelling technologies, performance improvement remains stagnate.

So why has our productivity not changed?

Why aren’t we harvesting dramatic benefits?

At Fiatech, an industry consortium of capital facilities stakeholders, we have been asking ourselves this question in recent months and we have concluded the problem is that our increased specialization in design, construction and operations and maintenance has reinforced silos to the point that silos have grown to become more like self-contained worlds.

New systems and technologies often are used to enhance performance in each of the worlds, but unfortunately, not the overall project. 

Working encapsulated within a world among worlds erodes vision, purpose and project-oriented passion. It insulates stakeholders from each other and presents a major barrier to realizing productivity improvement.

We also conclude that owners are the only ones who can break down those boundaries and realign efforts to deliver projects more effectively, but owners absolutely cannot do it in isolation. The challenges are far too complex. We all need to converge our perspectives and expertise and focus on driving sustained productivity advancement in our industry. 

In response to the challenge, Fiatech, in concert with University of Kansas and Arizona State University, has developed assessment tools to gauge an organization’s readiness for lasting innovation, and we have also established productivity advancement targets, or PATs, to unify efforts and measure the results.

They are developed and accepted by subject matter experts and are designed to provide the framework for attaining the target. To cultivate and streamline the attainment of PATs, Fiatech has established Leadership Initiative areas for industry owners and operators, project management, design, materials management, construction, lifecycle information management, handover to operations and emerging systems and technologies. Under these initiatives, 12 Productivity Advancement Targets have been created, all of which are driven by owners with extensive industry engagement and support.

We believe the Fiatech Productivity Advancement Targets, if fully delivered, could save the industry $334 million in cost avoidance for every $1 billion of investment, plus deliver a 10% reduction in project cycle time. Independent research by owners within their organizations support this cost avoidance potential.

The Performance Advancement Targets establish performance improvement expectations that are driven by cost avoidance potential. They are developed and accepted by subject matter experts and are designed to provide the framework for realizing the target, including advice on organization practices and behaviors conducive to success, which are expressed as “PAT Indicators.”

PAT Indicators assist PAT Teams in developing strategies to effectively achieve the target. PAT Teams are groups actively led by industry owners with extensive subject matter expert support to develop strategies, set priorities and drive the advancements needed to realize the PATs. Fiatech members are helping to capture current industry practices to refine the PAT Team strategies.

The tools are being developed that include leadership and advancement attributes that are key to solidifying innovation adoption and achieving sustained performance advancement as well as the specific practices that have led to success in the past. These practices are gathered, combined and refined to enable holistic solution adoption. 

Currently, more than 275 indicators and 75 engagement touch points have been identified. Indicators highlight practices already being performed by organizations that position them to move more effectively toward achieving the PAT. Such behaviors are spread across the industry, but no one organization has them all. Engagement touch points identified with respect to successful adoption of any specific tool or practice flag areas likely to need focused attention.

An example is the use of ripple cost estimating modeling tools to capture the full impact of a change order. The indicators applied to such an adoption would help define an environment in which such a tool might be successfully adopted and maintained, while the engagement touch points would highlight areas likely to need tactical attention. This results in a robust practice where whole cost impact of a change can be more fully understood and actions taken.

The Performance Advancement Targets are living documents undergoing continual review and revisions in a conversation that will continue during a general session at the Fiatech Annual Technology Conference & ShowcaseApril 4-6 in Austin, Texas.

There will be an Owner Panel discussion of the PATs and how owner organizations are rethinking their process flows to motivate productivity improvements.

Owners will identify likely core causes, describe a new consolidated framework to provide focus that is driven by economic purpose, and will describe how owner organizations are rethinking their internal practices to facilitate and stimulate performance improvement.  

The easiest way to access and explore the Fiatech Productivity Advancement Targets is to click on the PAT logo on the right hand side of the page at http://www.fiatech.organd register with the site. Neither membership nor conference registration is required to access the Performance Advancement Targets initiative details. Check them out for yourself, and consider attending the conference in Austin on April 4-6.

Reg Hunter (, is senior program director at Fiatech ( and a recognized industry change agent. He has hands-on engineering and business expertise, has been granted more than 30 patents, and a proven track record in developing innovative solutions to complex problems.