A KISS Approach for Turnaround Management

A turnaround (or shutdown or outage, depending on your industry) is a complex project that must be executed in a short period of time with a large number of people and equipment resources. Many people and short duration translates into a high cost in a short time. Significant cost savings are obtained by reducing time, number of resources and uncertainty (risk), and improving clarity, work scope, communication, change management. A successful turnaround has quality work delivered safely, ahead of schedule and under budget.

As complex as this type of project sounds, it is possible to be successful by following a few basic steps that ensure the right work is available to be done by the right people at the right time. Carefully managing the work process delivers the desired outcomes in the key aspects of the turnaround, like completing quality work safely at a reasonable cost and on schedule.

What follows is a simple, succinct process that you can use to manage your turnaround, shutdown or outage (TSO) project. As each plant, mill, refinery or facility has its own jargon and business practices, this process will be configured as required to suit the needs on the ground. This is simply a good foundation from which to build your standard process for your facility. The goal is to keep it simple and succinct (KISS).

Phases of a Turnaround, Shutdown or Outage (TSO) Project

Phase/Stage Basic Process Steps Discussion
Scope Development
Create work requests, screen work requests, and approve work requests A TSO project’s scope is typically generated in one of the following modes: CMMS (ex. Maximo); ERP system (ex. SAP); other work management system (ex. TeamWork Solutions) or spreadsheets. Plant personnel create a work request. Planners make a ballpark estimate of the costs and the timing for the work involved so that the correct scope of work will be developed. Planners send the request to stakeholders in Operations, Engineering, Inspection and Safety, etc. to make each of them aware of the work request and enable them to approve continued work on it.
Estimate /Budget Development
Estimate work orders, develop TSO project budget, establish change management baseline and process At the culmination of this screening process, the work request becomes a work order. The work order is created and provides the starting point for a detailed materials, labor, equipment and contracted cost-based estimate to be performed. A work package is auto-created in the plan to hold the execution plan for the work order. A budget baseline is developed and forms the basis for cost tracking and forecasting as well as management of scope changes and tracking of trends for using contingency, forecast management, etc. A work package is auto-created to hold the execution plan for the work order. The planning occurs in the next phase.
Plan Development
Develop work packages, develop work items in each work package, assign manpower and equipment resources to each work item, develop task lists as needed for each work item, Link work items logically, assign work items to appropriate turnaround periods (ex. Pre shutdown, Maintenance, etc.) The plan consists of work packages (one for each plant asset or equipment item or equipment type). Each work package has the tear-down, clean up, build-up and testing steps involved with maintaining an equipment item. Each work item has associated manpower and equipment resources. Safety requirements such as securing appropriate Safe Work Permits are an integral part of the plan for each work step.
Schedule Development
Assign milestone and constraint dates to the turnaround milestones and specific work items as needed, perform a daily update on the scheduled work so that the latest progress data is included in the schedule Each turnaround milestone may have a required date. This date should be entered into the system. Limiting the human and equipment resources used on each activity causes work to be delayed until the resources become available, thus resulting in obtaining achievable schedules within the date constraints and milestones that are defined for the turnaround. Progress data that is entered into the plan is used by the scheduling engine to calculate new and achievable dates for the remaining work. The scheduling process is based on business rules and runs automatically each hour, each shift, each day, or on demand. This requires no additional human input, as all data that has already been entered is leveraged in the scheduling process.
Contract Management
Develop contract packages, receive bids (tenders), award bids (tenders), resolve contractor questions, establish contract controls for tracking, establish change management process for contracts Contractors are a critical component of the turnaround workforce. They are used to supplement the facility’s normal crew. Preparing the contract packages, establishing the contract type (ex. lump sum or time and materials), securing bids for each contract, awarding the bid, establishing a contract budget and schedule baseline, and ensuring that these baselines are integrated into the project baselines so that data is entered once are important core processes in managing contracts and contracted work execution.
Materials Management
Prepare MRs (Material Requisitions) from the estimate, consolidate into POs (Purchase Orders), send POs to approved vendors, receive bids from vendors, award PO to vendor, merge committed dates into the schedule Timely delivery of correctly estimated materials items are critical to ensuring that turnarounds are not delayed. Be sure to create purchase orders that require that delivery dates are adhered to. Ensure that these dates are automatically assimilated into an integrated schedule so that the team is aware of potential delivery problems early enough that they can evolve a plan B—rather than delay the entire turnaround. The integration of PO delivery dates into the schedule should be accomplished as a function of managing the PO and not be an additional data maintenance chore.
Execution Management
Develop daily work schedules by crew, track progress for each crew, track actual hours spent (incurred) by crew Using the schedule as a live tool to produce shift and daily work lists ensures that the right work is done when resources are available. This work plan is automatically communicated to the Operations people that approve the system-generated Safe Work Permit requests. The shift-based collection of progress and actual hours and other incurred costs ensures that there is a timely computation of the critical measures that help the management team to direct the progress of the turnaround. Schedules and budget controls are automatically maintained, thus minimizing the need for additional repetitive data entry.
Provide shift, daily, and weekly reports showing cost and schedule performance and controls, including projected trends and forecasts. Controls reports and dashboards with drill-down ability help the management team to review progress and areas in need of additional attention. These are available based on being run automatically at preset times each day, or on demand without the need for additional work in setup and configuration. Performance measures are plotted against time to provide trends that can help management to fix problems early.
Conduct analyses of each aspect of the plan and compare to the dates and costs for actually doing the work, record lessons learned for each aspect of the TSO project, archive the data for the TSO project so that it is available for use and analysis, but may not be changed. If we do not learn from mistakes, we are doomed to keep repeating them. The post-audit process ensures that we do what we can to record – for each asset – the lessons learned in scoping, budgeting for, planning for and managing the work as well as in running the asset in operating conditions.

In a future blog, I’ll discuss how this standard turnaround process gets turned into a list of requirements, which then forms the basis for the configuration of the work-related data management tools from TeamWork Group.