Shutting down a plant for inspection and repair work is a necessary evil. However, as every plant manager is well aware, every hour out of production represents a cessation of income. The key to an efficient shutdown is in the planning. The following 8-point guide details the crucial aspects that make or break a successful turnaround performance.
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- Plan far enough ahead: It might sound obvious, but a failure to begin the planning stage early enough is a recipe for disaster. The best-executed shutdown and turnaround planning begins almost immediately after the last one ends. Information from the data gathered can begin to create the foundations of what will be needed next time.
- Create a detailed project plan: This should include the inspections to be performed, known maintenance tasks, those that are expected and a wide enough buffer to encompass the unexpected. Budget planning should be completed during this phase and incorporate costs for inspection and repair equipment, contractor and subcontractor fees, and the loss of revenue that will be impacted by the time the plant is offline.
- Apply strict scope management: The plan should be intimately assessed when approving scope. The final project plan shouldn’t be signed off until all related departments have been allowed input. Only the most vital of tasks should make the final cut, and consideration must be given to those that could be performed outside of the planned shutdown period.
- Communication and integration: A common cause of holdups is lack of communication between the client, contractors and subcontractors. Preparing robust methods well before the shutdown occurs is vital. Technology plays a big part, and the use of cloud-based solutions and database software allows seamless sharing of data and information.
- Effectively manage KPIs: Putting key performance indicators in place with a responsible party to monitor that these are met will provide an early warning system that something’s not going to plan. There are many different parties involved in a shutdown, and an impartial overview can spot issues far faster than waiting for the impact to be felt at ground level.
- Take full advantage of all historical data: Past experiences provide valuable insight into costs, adherence to budgets and likely unexpected maintenance work. However, even if there is little to go by, planning can be meticulously estimated as long as you know the initial work planned, have calculated the basic man-hours and know accurate rates of labour.
- Use a whole-budget approach: Each asset should be considered in its complete lifecycle, and include expenses for its operation, maintenance, capital projects and shutdowns. This allows true optimisation of the complete capital investment, rather than compartmentalising it into separate phases.
- Go digital: A failure to take advantage of up-to-date technology in every aspect of the shutdown immediately puts the turnaround at a disadvantage. Simulation software tools, apps, communications, robotic inspection tools, remote operation… There are multiple methods that not only save man-hours but can increase the health and safety aspect of the whole inspection and maintenance process.
With the latter point in mind, it’s important to collaborate with a technology advisor and equipment provider that works with your outcomes in mind and offers dynamic solutions that are as flexible as the plant’s needs. Perth-based Nexxis provides a unique model that does just this on a global scale, providing innovate and highly cost-effective equipment procurement on a rental, lease and sales basis across their Australian, Singapore and Houston offices.
Discover how such a bespoke approach can positively impact your bottom line – contact us today.