"This article presents a different way to view refineries and petrochemical plants as part of the supply chain and a way to design for data integration of any application to any other application via COTS software products---configurable/adaptable/integratable-offthe-shelf software products. The resulting nimble refiner or petrochemical plant is likely to be the lowest-cost and highest-quality leader in the market. Being nimble is a result of users adapting the system to their current needs upon demand. Toyota implements 19 suggestions per employee per year---they believe that this yields significant competitive advantage. COTS systems will do the same for refiners and petrochemical plants.
In summary, configurable/adaptable/integratable-off-the-shelf software products can provide a way for refinery and petrochemical plant personnel to adapt to an everchanging environment. The challenge is to do it in such a way that the personnel using the systems do the changing, adapting and integrating on a daily basis and are rewarded for so doing. That way, the business entity is substantially increasing the probability that they will survive and prosper. The old model of one vendor supplying all
your applications limits you to the products and functionality that they choose to provide and when they provide it. A COTS implementation as described herein would be several generations down the road before the monolithic vendor processes your formal request for change"