How are you cutting plant shutdown maintenance costs? Following suit with our shutdown, turnaround, and outage blog series, we got together and crowdsourced some of the best ways to cut those costs during one of the most stressful times of the year—shutdown, turnaround, or outage season. Have a read, lets us know what you think!
1. USE PROJECT MANAGEMENT SOFTWARE
Use project management software to streamline the planning and execution processes. If you’ve never relied on software to manage your shutdowns, turnarounds, or outages, it may seem like a big and unnecessary transition. But through research and speaking with professionals in the field, we’ve found major positive trade-offs for folks who made the change to relying on project management software. Many companies will offer a free trial:
- RoserConSys’s the Roser Software Suite for shutdowns, turnarounds, outages & maintenance helps with scope nomination and optimation, risk analysis, quality control, cost and estimations, and a range of other support.
- Bentley provides a variety of solutions built specifically for nuclear power plants. From asset performance management to advanced work packaging—their software can help you to get comfortable using project management tools and make the full transition during your next scheduled plant shutdown
- EcoSys has awesome software options catered toward energy, oil, gas, chemical, utilities, and construction industries. Their software is, appropriately, built for your industry, concerned primarily with better efficiency and general success of major projects like plant shutdowns. Check them out—you can manage project portfolios, control project costs, and improve general performance.
2. START PLANNING EARLY
Start planning your outage early on. This way, you can adjust the plan should maintenance task priority change, and adapt to these inevitable changes in the master plan. Nick Gaglia’s article in Electric Light & Power puts it well—plan your next outage carefully and your people and blood pressure will thank you.
“After defining the scope and identifying the pre-outage work, the client and contractor should firm up price and schedule. A work breakdown structure (WBS) makes this easier by enabling the team to break up a large project into smaller, more manageable tasks.”-Nick Gaglia
3. MINIMIZE PURCHASED EQUIPMENT
Order or rent only the bare minimum equipment needed to effectively complete the project. Equipment can sap your budget as fast as any other cost, so it’s a great place to be tight about what’s absolutely necessary to get the job done. Additionally, renting rather than purchasing equipment saves both time and money.
4. PRIORITIZE TASKS CORRECTLY
Work with an experienced contractor to oversee and validate the prioritization of maintenance tasks on your lists. You may be taking on too much for the amount of labor or capital you have at your disposal. Or your tasks may be prioritized incorrectly. You want to be sure you’re taking on the work that is absolutely necessary and will pay off. Some tasks will yield major productivity and reliability improvements, and you want to be sure your plan coincides with which this work that’s vital.
In addition, you and your team must be in agreeance about the scope of the project. Arash Shahi does an awesome job of understanding the importance of defining and sticking to the scope as a team—especially when executing STO (shutdown, turnaround, outage) projects.
“One of the most common causes for STO projects going over time and over budget is ‘scope creep’, driven primarily by multiple conflicting objectives. In order to minimize the risk from scope changes, the scope of an STO project needs to be agree upon well in advance…”-Arash Shahi
Putting off work of lesser urgency is an excellent way to free up the headspace and capital to focus on the highest priority tasks. Life Reliability and Reliable Plant both have excellent resources on calculating the priority of your maintenance tasks
5. UTILIZE A LABOR CONTRACTOR
Find the workers you need by using a labor contractor. Make sure whoever you get your labor through knows the skilled trades, and can promise a temporary workforce that is not only reliable but experienced in shutdown, turnaround, or outage work.
We don’t have to tell you—shutdowns can be, for lack of a better term, a big pain in the ass. Relying on a labor contractor is a great way to free up time, money, and ultimately energy to focus on successful planning and execution of the work that will benefit your plant for years to come. The last thing you want to be doing is scrambling last minute to find the welders, ironworkers, millwrights, and skilled workers you need to get the job done!
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