It is inevitable in that in some shape or form, all plant workers will at some stage be involved in the shutdown of a facility. Planning is essential to ensure that this shutdown is executed within both the time and budget constraints. In practice, the phases are divided between pre-shutdown and the shutdown itself.
In pre-shutdown, workshops and work scopes are the starting point in the cycle. Once scopes are identified, required resourcing as well as prescribed timings to execute the work are entered into an agreed upon shutdown plan. In this phase, a quality control methodology needs to be established of how the work will be checked and accepted by the relevant parties prior to restart. Budgets are also then created from vendor inputs to determine the realistic cost of executing the turnaround.
The first step to a successful shutdown is to determine as accurately as possible the scope of all field, rack and software requirements. Once derived, a SWOT workshop is conducted to determine the strengths of the team e.g. experience of staff, preciseness of work etc. Weaknesses could also present in the form of site databases not reflecting as built conditions, or potential procurement weaknesses. Opportunities could establish the need to assign expert contractors for certain deliverables. Threats could be late placement of orders on vendors, as well as using contractors not familiar with the relevant site implementation standards.
In the pre-shutdown phase it is essential to engage with suppliers timeously once work scopes have been reviewed and approved by the relevant parties. Shutdowns rely heavily on the assistance of suppliers to supply the correct equipment identified timeously to meet the critical path timelines. Once equipment is received, ensure upfront that it is all correctly identified for installation in the plant, and setup correctly with required ranges etc, where practically possible, in order to save time during the shutdown.
Engage with on-board field installation contractors some time beforehand, in order to ensure they are aware of the exact scope of the work to be performed, as well as in which areas, prior to the actual shutdown commencing. They can also start installing related infrastructure without affecting plant production prior to the shutdown, in both the rack room and the field, thus saving valuable time. Where practically possible, do off-line testing of software implementations to ensure they are vetted and accepted by plant representatives prior to implementation of the shutdown.
The shutdown and post-shutdown phases
During the shutdown, daily feedback is required from all the parties to ensure that the management team know exactly where they are, i.e. ahead or behind schedule, in order to allocate resources accordingly. Items to monitor during this phase include:
1.Ensure hold points are adhered to for work process flow.
2.Ensure contractors/field staff have the correct documentation packs – all too often this is ignored.
3.Ensure correct equipment (flow transmitters etc.) is identified and pre-configured for installation.
4.Interact with all disciplines (mechanical, electrical etc.) to ensure all relevant feedback is required to assess the scopes of work.
5.Ensure all QCP documentation has been filled in correctly prior to handover.
A shutdown post mortem is highly recommended to discover which tasks went well as well as identifying areas for improvement at the next shutdown. Discuss with suppliers positives and negatives, as well as with other disciplines were applicable.
Shutdowns of the future
Plants should have Wi-Fi installed throughout the facility to enable a connected workforce, which has all shutdown related work scopes in the palms of its hands e.g. loop and hook-up drawings etc. When the work is complete it automatically signals the associated supervisor for that area that work is ready for checking and automatically rolls up progress reports in the associated shutdown software.
This also allows management to determine the critical path of the shutdown, and where resources need to be allocated to ensure that things remain on track. This is all in real-time and reduces the requirement for multiple paper copies of the same report.
The shutdown data can then also be statistically referenced to determine resource loading and scoping for future shutdowns.
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