What drives, or impedes, Readiness?

You have 2 years to your next planned outage or turnaround. We’ll review why the number of qualified people working on each of your stakeholder teams is your first opportunity to ensure success by ensuring your team is Ready for the turnaround’s Execution stage. And, we’ll also review how you can empower them with technology to accomplish this objective. John McLay’s handbook, Practical Management for Plant Turnarounds, spells out, in some detail, the pre-turnaround requirements, and the stakeholder groups responsible for each of these, in Chapter 4 Detailed Planning of the Support Plans. These include:

Operations Plan – by Operations staff – the ‘owner’ and operators of the equipment being turned around;

Quality Assurance (QA) Inspection Plan – by QA staff, inspectors and documenters of work done on each equipment;

Procurement Plan – by Procurement/Warehouse/Tool Room staff who manage acquiring of materials, tools, equipment and services;

Health, Safety and Environment (HSE) Plan – by HSE staff who ensure safe job sites, processes and outcomes;

Security Plan – by Security staff who ensure that contractor teams are vetted and screened;

Communications Plan – by TA Management team, documenting the key aspects of the turnaround;

Facilities Management Plan – done by Facilities Staff, ensuring comfortable work environment;

Administration Plan – done by Administration staff, keeping control of financial budgeting, inflows and outflows;

To help you to ensure that each of the requirements of each of these plans is included in your analysis, John has provided useful checklists in the Appendix of the handbook. Of course, your own lessons learned is the best source for checklists for your plant or site.

Resources Needed to Ensure Readiness

While reviewing these requirements as well as your own plant’s specific needs, it becomes clear that the actual work needed to be done by each of the turnaround stakeholder groups (Operations, HSE, QA, Security, Administration, Procurement, Facilities, etc.) is based their work needed on some or all of the following:

a. the required set of standard turnaround requirements, such as the plans mentioned in this article;

b. routine tasks that is done for each work order being evaluated for the turnaround;

c. specific tasks being done for each equipment that is included in the turnaround’s scope;

d. tasks for each planned work package – which is a combination of work orders that comprises a process system that is being worked on concurrently, using similar crews and scaffolding, etc.;

e. tasks being done by/for each contractor, including time recording and progress management;

f: tasks associated with each purchase order including commitment cost and dates, actual delivery dates, materials and tools kitting as needed, tool-room check-in and check-out of tools, etc.;

g: tasks associated with reporting each HSE Incident.

And there can be more. The tasks described are defined in your procedure documentation. For example, each work order is screened, risk assessed and has a rough order of magnitude (ROM) estimate. Only after these actions can the work order scope be given a ‘go/no go’ for inclusion in the turnaround scope. Reviewer comments, questions and answers on each work order are all a part of the record and should be available for review easily and quickly – without having to search emails or filing cabinets.

Turnaround work orders are large (ex. clean Tower) and small (ex. Remove, repair and replace relief valve) and be all sizes in between. Each of these work orders needs some attention from each of the stakeholders groups before the execution phase starts. Questions like: When does the QA team provide their input and feedback on equipment-based needs? When does the HSE team review the safe work aspects of the plan? When should the Procurement team initiate the materials acquisition process? Also, do each of the stakeholder groups (QA, HSE and Procurement in this case) have enough staff to complete this expected workload based on 1000s of turnaround work orders and equipment items in the turnaround’s scope? A reasonable plan and estimate of the expected work for each of the groups is a logical first step to determine whether each team has the right number of people, with the right skills ready to do this work and not impact the start of the Execution stage. This preparation work, also called Indirect work, as it occurs before execution and work does not involve Direct work in the field, is not well planned. Demands are made of the stakeholder groups, without the basis information being available, as it lies in so many different, stakeholder-specific ‘silos’. This pre-turnaround indirect work has value (time and money) that is based on the effort required to get each process step done. Measurement of the earned value of this indirect work, leads us to an evaluation of Readiness. All of this needs a plan and estimate basis for earning value during the pre-turnaround.

TeamWork Group’s knowledge and experience, in managing all turnaround data centrally, is now available to our clients at a dedicated, secure site. This can help your stakeholder teams to use your company standard business processes and your standard turnaround stages to easily create the time and cost baselines needed to accurately obtain the earned value that will drive your event’s Readiness calculations. Your team members can communicate with each other, in the Communications app, about specific work orders, equipment items, contractors, vendors, safety issues, quality; and have their communication threads be available to other team members – just like in LinkedIn. When stakeholders sign-off their work task upon completion, the system notifies the next person that their input or review is required; and earned value-based progress is accrued, which affects the pre-turnaround Readiness progress immediately.

Get Comfortable

An added advantage of using the system in the ‘slower’ pre-turnaround period, 2+ years prior to the turnaround, is that team members will become familiar with the system. This ensures their confidence and comfort with the integrated processes, as the pace of work quickens and rises to its peak during the Execution stage. Change management, headcount, daily progressing, tracking incurred costs, recording expended costs, are all fast track processes during this stage. Teamwork is enhanced when data re-handling is minimized, as it is in a dedicated turnaround management system. Decisions can be made more quickly, and using this seamless communication mode, progress can be achieved much quicker, and with fewer errors, and less stress, than is done currently with the multiple ‘silos’ that still permeate turnarounds.

Finally, when you are ready to button up the plant, in the Closure stage, following the Execution stage, you can use this same communication framework to ensure that as each blind and blank is pulled, each tag is removed, each lock is unlocked, the team is aware of progress in real time.

A turnaround brings together a complex mix of people, skills, companies, work objectives, safe-working requirements, procedures and logistical needs. A steady, all-in-one solution to help your complex team of stakeholders to be on the same page, to help you get to the finish line with each of your objectives met, is an invaluable asset. Incidentally, you don’t have to go ‘all-in’ to an all-in-one solution either. You can start with Readiness. Just knowing that your solution can grow to include additional ‘silos’, if you decide to do so, should be of some comfort.

Work done to get ready for a turnaround is easy to undervalue. It’s well in advance of the turnaround, so the pressure to get things right is not as strong. Do not let your guard down! This is exactly the time to go the extra mile and ensure that the details are attended to. You don;t want your stakeholders to be understaffed and take short-cuts and sign-off on items because they simply don’t have time. Incremental additional costs in staffing for the pre-turnaround period will help avoid more expensive, premium costs during the Execution stage.

Your People, following your Processes using your digitized Technology leads to repeatable successful outcomes. You know this is the right thing to do.