5 Strategies for Improving Industrial TurnaroundsJanuary 12, 2016
When it comes to the operational success of a petrochemical, refining, or industrial company, plant turnarounds are an imperative part of the equation. Since cleanup and maintenance drastically improves efficiency, the turnaround usually helps to reduce the incidence of machinery or processing failure before they happen. Turnarounds are a necessary, yet expensive endeavor, and it is not rare for the cost of a turnaround to exceed a plant’s yearly maintenance budget. STI Group knows how important turnarounds are for an industrial facility’s success and we are proud to offer industry-leading turnaround and industrial maintenance services. We also put together the following list of 5 strategies for improving industrial turnaround success.
An Emphasis on SafetySafety is crucial year round at industrial facilities, but it is especially important during turnarounds. That is because the turnaround is outside of employees’ day-to-day duties and there is an increased risk of error. Likewise, turnarounds are important and beneficial for the success of a facility, but they are also typically stressful for everyone involved. This extra stress can negatively affect safety. This makes it extremely important to establish good safety protocols and procedures, ensure that all workers are well trained, and to emphasize a culture of safety throughout the company.
Calculated Pre-PlanningThe success of a plant turnaround is also largely dependent on how well it is planned. Turnarounds are large-scale operations, and with a bit of proper and calculated planning, the risk for accidents and disasters greatly decreases. A major part of the planning process involves accurately estimating the potential costs, time constraints, and resources that will be required in order to carry out the turnaround. Employees at all levels must have an in-depth understanding of the turnaround plan prior to its implementation. A strong plan also helps establish benchmarks for progress and keeps the turnaround on track.
Clear CommunicationDirect and clear communication between all parties is a fundamental element of success for industrial turnarounds. It is common for the workforce present at a facility to more than double or triple during a turnaround as contractors, subcontractors, and temporary workers are brought in for the extra work involved in the turnaround. In addition to all these new faces, many regular employees may be working overtime. This can potentially lead to a very crowded, hectic environment on-site, and it makes effective, clear communication more important than ever to ensure that everyone understands their duties, is on the same, and is working as efficiently as possible. Beyond basic communication between workers, it is also imperative that project managers, division leaders, owners, and other key personnel be kept looped in on all significant developments. This will help ensure that different departments are working smoothly with each other and will help avoid misunderstandings and delays.
Effective BudgetingEffective budgeting ensures that adequate financial resources are in place for necessary expenses, while also limiting unnecessary expenses and establishing firm financial controls. Effective budgeting is of course important year round, but it is particularly important during turnarounds when more may be spent on maintenance in a few days or weeks than is spent during the rest of the year.
Hands-on ManagementA laid back approach to management may work during day-to-day operations at some facilities, but due to the complex nature of turnarounds an intensified hands-on approach is required. Key elements of hands-on management during industrial turnarounds include the following:
- Creating schedules
- Taking control of each project’s logistics and execution method
- Working directly with each department leader
- Personnel management
- Keeping track of expenditures and costs
- Recording activities