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Achieving turnaround success

Large maintenance overhaul projects are complex, expensive processes, often

with unpredictable challenges that call for best practice techniques

T.A. Cook Consultants

anaging a turnaround is challenges within the petro- management procedures were
a complex challenge. leum refining industry. Each aligned with industry best
The many individual case study highlights individ- practice. To support sustaina-
activities and their respective ual problems a site may face in bility, managers identified and
resources need to be coordi- addition to the typical difficul- analysed the span of control
nated in such a way that the ties of planning, scheduling, and addressed the issue of
overall duration of the plant communication and scope resource bottlenecks. To
downtime is minimised as management. Although it promote proactive management
much as possible so that reve- requires experience and exper- behaviours in the field, compli-
nue losses do not mount when tise to recognise potential ance to the new procedures and
the refinery is not running. As a pitfalls, every obstacle has a sustainable solutions, all
result, most plants are prepared solution and in these examples managers participated in
to properly invest significant the ways in which sites were behavioural based training and
financial resources if start up eventually able to carry out a on-the-job coaching.
can be achieved sooner. successful turnaround are Massive turnaround projects
However, the sheer volume highlighted. must excel in many different
of work required during a areas in order to have a favour-
turnaround means that all Case study 1: able outcome. In this case, the
refineries face difficulties when cross-site consistency 10-Box model for turnaround
organising, managing and In the first example, a North excellence (see Figure 1) was
executing turnarounds and American multi-site company used to analyse the various
shutdowns to completion. A wanted to implement stand- aspects of a turnaround. Tools
large turnaround can include ardised turnaround cross-site such as this are helpful to
up to 150 000 individual activi- consistency for 20 turnaround assess the effectiveness of inte-
ties. With this level of events it was planning over a gration of the key components
complexity, approximately half five-year period. Although the of large projects.
of all shutdown projects are company had implemented a Through a rigorous review
delayed by more than 20% and variety of best practice process with a focus on each
80% go over budget by more improvement processes, the individual aspect of the turna-
than 10%. Frequently, the work scope and resulting schedule round, the company was able
scope increases unexpectedly continued to exceed the desired to achieve consistency in its
by up to 50%. objectives. turnaround execution. In the
With the help of a series of By implementing new work end, it was able to generate
case study examples, this arti- processes, the capex process 15-25% budget reduction
cle will explore turnaround was better integrated and savings over a five year period.

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skill deficiencies for turna-
round planning long term.
Scope TA Contracts/ Planning/ Specialised training topics were
management organisation procurement scheduling developed to close the identi-
fied gaps and increase the
overall level of competency. By
TA TA Projects
and ops coaching supervisors in active
process performance
integration management techniques, the
company enabled the supervi-
TA risk Reporting and Logistics/ Execution/ sors to manage planner
management benchmarking infrastructure productivity productivity better. As a result,
by addressing the productivity
issue, the firm was able to
recover to schedule without
Figure 1 The turnaround 10-Box model spending an additional CAD$1
Case study 2: poor planner utilisation and
planning procedures bring it back on track, the team Case study 3:
In the second case study, a developed a new focus on their communication and scope
Canadian refining facility was planning management The next case study explored
preparing for an upcoming processes. Supervisors worked in this article highlights a large
turnaround. Unfortunately, as to establish exactly what goals European refinery that suffered
the turnaround was quickly should be achieved and when. from ineffective communica-
approaching, it became clear Then these milestones were tion and transparency during
that it was not going to meet used to create daily and weekly preparation for turnaround,
the initial forecasts. A expectation schedules, which which in turn led to difficulties
one-week assessment was supervisors could use to track in identifying actual scope. An
carried out to identify gaps in planners’ productivity, commu- analysis and external audit was
the preparation and subse- nicate responsibilities, graph conducted to identify specific
quent improvements to the progress accurately and deficiencies.
execution process. The evalua- improve the ability to forecast The analysis showed incon-
tion used data analysis and completion. Managing the sistent compliance to the
interviews with key personnel details of planning preparation defined process of scope prepa-
to establish exactly what was for turnaround gave stakehold- ration. The organisation had
delaying planning activities ers the ability to stick to poorly defined roles and
and how those factors could be deadlines and provided more responsibilities, resulting in
improved. transparency in the preparation. certain roles, functions and
The assessment shed light on Availability of a skilled responsibilities not being filled
two key issues in the process. workforce is a problem many with skilled workers who
First, only 55% of the planners’ firms face, especially in could competently perform the
time was actually spent on Canada, due to the remote job. Good meeting practices
planning. Second, skilled turn- locations in which many were disregarded, with several
around planners within the companies operate. The compa- key players choosing not to
facility were in short supply, ny’s managers and supervisors attend meetings or arriving late
which led to reduced planner identified the level of skills the and unprepared. Management
motivation due to overwork planners possessed, including did not have a reliable plan
and made supervisors reluctant their expert knowledge, the based on accurate work esti-
to carry out active management software available to them and mates or work list execution to
for fear of losing key planners their ability to use it. This define and freeze actual work
at a time when no replace- emphasised the exact gaps in scope properly. Additionally,
ments could be easily found. planners’ abilities and helped contractor management was
To address the problem of managers address manpower/ weak, and key performance

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indicators (KPI) and bench- the company’s planned turna- mates by 15%. As part of the
marks were poorly defined. round expenditure had long-term optimisation
A formal, structured scope exceeded $1 billion and cost program, the site implemented
definition and management reductions were needed. An an 18-month partnership with
methodology was developed objective assessment of existing a specialist turnaround consul-
and introduced, which helped tools, techniques, processes tancy, which helped implement
increase scope accuracy. The and methodologies was under- better practice behaviour and
budgeting process was revised taken to identify and quantify develop projects for continuous
to increase accuracy and opportunities to reduce costs improvement site-wide. In the
frequency of information being and improve performance. long term, the turnaround
available to improve timeliness Over the course of five organisation was completely
of decisions. By redesigning weeks, an analysis was restructured. By better clarify-
meeting cadence, supporting conducted on the current turn- ing roles and responsibilities
meeting terms of reference, and around preparation and during the preparation and
introducing new KPIs, the refin- execution practices. After thor- execution phases and encour-
ery better utilised relevant ough data collection, it became aging support from other
management operating systems, apparent that there were vari- functional groups during turn-
improving turnaround govern- ous opportunities for cost arounds, resource utilisation
ance, interface management and reduction and process was optimised.
contractor coordination. improvement. In fact, referring For this refinery, scope opti-
To improve data accuracy back to the 10-Box model in misation offered the greatest
and timeliness, management Figure 1, the company had cost-saving potential. In order
increased reviewing their KPI multiple deficiencies. The to properly optimise the project
reports and dashboard to a organisational design, and scope, turnaround and opera-
weekly basis to validate facts planning and scheduling prac- tions personnel implemented
and figures consistently for real tices needed updating. The standardised tools and estab-
time decision making. The contractor strategy, work logis- lished more effective and
resulting turnaround execution tics and productivity were consistent evaluation methods
strategy paper was more poor. The analysis identified for scope definition and
complete and reflected owner- significant potential for turna- management. All work which
ship of all key stakeholders. round cost reduction in a did not meet an established
The turnaround preparation variety of ways. The refinery level of cost-benefit ratio was
team and key stakeholders could minimise material, classified as unfavourable and
within the company better equipment and contractor either eliminated or scheduled
understood and complied with labour costs by developing to be done outside of the turn-
their roles and responsibilities. more favourable commercial around. This alone reduced
Regular preparation, execution contract terms and focusing on scope by 17% to 35%.
and review meetings became increasing productivity. To optimise contractor usage
more effective and provided New and improved short- and efficiency, more formal,
better defined turnaround term and long-term plans were competitive bidding was
objectives and scope. then created to reduce turna- adopted. Existing and future
round costs. A short impact contracts were re-evaluated
Case study 4: programme (SIP) focused on based on risk. A new contrac-
on schedule and within budget contractor productivity: by tor strategy included a variety
In the next case study, a refin- making logistical improve- of tools to help effectively
ery had a history of poor ments, such as improved tent track, document, evaluate and
turnaround preparation and positions, site bussing and manage contractor perfor-
execution practices across the parking, significant lost time mance, resulting in an average
board. For over eight years, all was recovered, resulting in cost saving of 15%. Logistics
turnarounds and shutdowns higher productivity. The analy- and productivity were given
had failed to meet schedule or sis also found potential for new importance, which
budget. For the past five years, reducing contractor work esti- resulted in a work output

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increase by one hour per day work toward significant 20-30% of the original turna-
for over 2000 contractors and a improvement within a five- round budget. Even though the
saving of over $2 million in year timeframe, they would project was only six weeks
labour costs. need to update their turna- from execution, there were
Formal management control round work processes and many steps to take that could
and reporting systems (MCRS) competences. Additionally, the potentially make an impact on
were used to combat a lack of site had planned a three-asset, the final turnaround. As a
useful key performance indica- $70 million turnaround just a result, the site began to work
tors. Once KPIs were clarified few months ahead. on a variety of improved
and better understood within An analysis helped detail behaviour techniques.
the site’s leadership team, specific improvement plans for Management reorganised shift
performance management was the short, medium and long crew logistics, improved
greatly improved, decision term. Although a compa- worker transportation and
making became timelier and ny-wide turnaround process better communicated working
benchmarking more accurate. was in place, there was no hour expectations to staff.
These reporting systems company-wide understanding Planners worked to optimise
improved turnaround execu- or compliance. Work lists and scheduling, have more accurate
tion in a variety of ways, contracts tended to be poorly contingency assumptions, and
including planning productiv- managed. Even though the correct scope discrepancies.
ity, scheduling accuracy, turnaround budget was a With a more accurate plan with
milestone compliance and significant portion of the stronger ownership, decision
utilising short interval control company’s overall budget, the makers were better able to
to manage critical due dates. turnaround process was create a more structured risk
Working closely with the regarded by many departments management plan. To further
in-house leadership, new as low priority and other work improve productivity, all
processes and procedures were was frequently considered necessary permits were
implemented, resulting in more important. prepared beforehand.
sustainable improvements The analysis discovered that Once the site’s staff agreed
being achieved and, for the inter-departmental risk on process and behavioural
first time in eight years, the site management was not estab- improvements, observational
was able to stay true to the lished. There were not clearly information was gathered by
original turnaround schedule defined expectations, roles or the consultants during two
and budget. responsibilities among many weeks of the execution phase
groups of staff and contractors. by observing supervisors and
Case study 5: performance Despite the site’s tendency to contractor crews to gather
In the next case study, a large use external personnel in most information. The consultants
refinery had an historically maintenance and turnaround focused on recording and
below average record of turna- projects, contractor manage- analysing timesheet data,
round performance and safety. ment was sub-par and establishing accurate progress
The site attempted to improve estimates and schedules were updates and deciding the best
its turnaround results by regularly inflated by more than way to improve and control
reviewing working procedures 25%. Execution resources were labour utilisation. A four-week
and allotting more time for hovering at about 40% produc- coaching session prior to
staff and contractors to identify tivity. The company aimed for execution starting helped chal-
and manage risk. While this all three individual turna- lenge the workforce to adopt
led to some improvement in rounds to be executed on time, proactive management behav-
turnaround performance, it for a 50-day mechanical cycle iours to drive field
proved to be an expensive and to save 12-15% off the productivity. The engaging
undertaking and the contrac- original estimate. style included technical, mana-
tor’s earned value continued to Evaluators identified short- gerial and pragmatic support
not meet expectations. Refinery and long-term optimisation with a cultural awareness. For
leadership decided that to opportunities worth around the first time in five years, all

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three turnarounds were Conclusion be corrected with comparable
completed on time, within As these examples show, best practice techniques. If a
budget and with an above massive turnaround projects refinery finds itself not
average safety record despite present a myriad of challenges. performing a turnaround to the
weather delays and unpre- Being able to conduct turna- best of its abilities, engaging
dicted growth in scope. rounds effectively and external consultants for an
There was a huge improve- efficiently is a key challenge for objective, unbiased view can
ment in the understanding and the petroleum refining indus- provide meaningful insights.
standardisation of the manage- try. From conceptualisation to With an in-depth analysis and
ment of planning, scheduling, execution and review, most a tailored plan to address iden-
scope management, proactive turnaround practices have the tified gaps in compliance and
work practices and contractors’ potential for improvement. performance, every turnaround
productivity. The company Tools such as data analysis and project can be a success.
was able to establish sustaina- improved management control
ble, effective management and reporting systems can be Jerry Wanichko is Director of Consulting
processes and accurate, timely employed to help managers Operations with T.A. Cook North America
KPIs. As a result, all future support their teams and with over 25 years of international
turnarounds will be able to achieve ideal productivity consulting experience.
follow an established standard- during execution. Continually
ised scope. Particularly auditing current performance
noteworthy was an immediate and noting possible develop- LINKS
decrease in the turnaround ments is absolutely necessary
budget by 10%, a cost reduc- for a producer to remain
More articles from the following
tion of 8-12%. Within five competitive in the industry. categories:
years, the refinery expects to Although every turnaround Revamps and Turnarounds
reduce its turnaround costs by will be different, many face Reliability and Asset Management
30%. similar problems and most can

www.digitalrefining.com/article/1001320 Revamps 2016 5