HAVING A STRATEGY FOR MANAGING YOUR SHUTDOWN, TURNAROUND, OR OUTAGE IS KEY TO A JOB-DONE-WELL. HERE ARE SOME TOOLS TO GET YOU STARTED.
Scheduled shutdowns, outages, and turnarounds are a big deal. There is a world of resources out there, however, with tips, insights, and management strategies for getting the job done right. So our team went out and gathered some of the best resources out there from experienced managers in the field. Check it out, let us know what you think, and lend us your two cents on how you plan and execute your plant shutdown, outage, or turnaround.
OPTIMIZING OUTAGES THROUGH EFFECTIVE TASK PLANNING
Life Cycle Engineering’s article from Tim Kister offers practical and applicable ways to make your outage more efficient all around. In his words, “Outages can only be successful when the outage work is planned effectively before the work is scheduled and/or started.” He covers everything from determining high-priority tasks and defining the scope to identifying hazards and estimating the necessary labor resources. His lends recommendations on how far out to identify work tasks while successfully adhering to the project timeline.
“Outage management is an effective tool for reducing costs and increasing plant productivity. When the decision is made to identify major outage work far in advance and then carefully plan the work for maximum ease of execution, the result will be lower costs.”
Kister recommends that the personnel planning the operation ask their team the following questions to ensure they have planned each facet of the project thoroughly:
- Is the scope of work clear, concise and easily understood?
- Have all aspects of the task have been evaluated and addressed?
- Have the job hazards, safety, permit requirements and potential obstacles been identified, addressed and communicated within the work order?
- Does the task sequence make sense, is the methodology defined, and does it include special instructions, specifications and testing/quality checks?
- Have all determinable material, parts, tools and equipment requirements been addressed and actions taken to provide the necessary items with delivery within the prescribed “need by” dates?
OUTAGE PLANNING OFF-THE-SHELF
Kevin Duffy—vice president of operational excellence for Kepner-Tregoe (KT) offers an in-depth look at outage management in his contribution to Reliable Plant. His team recognizes that shutdowns, turnarounds, and outages are not just engineering and maintenance projects—they command capital and operating budgets while attracting the attention of key stakeholders and boards of directors. Appropriately then, he calls shutdowns, turnarounds, and outages (STO’s) ‘whole business events’, not single-function operations. Duffy’s breakdown of the phases of activities integral to STO planning and execution include the following:
- Detailed planning and organization of the work involved
- Removal of assets from production
- Inspection and work execution, product changes, repairs, improvement activities or a combination of these
- Restart of the asset/unit/plant and restoration to “should” performance levels
“STOs are more complex than other project-based events. Quite simply, they involve both planned activities and unplanned work resulting from inspection of part of a machine or asset which is not accessible or visible during normal operations.”-Kevin Duffy
STRATEGIES TO OPTIMIZE SHUTDOWNS, TURNAROUNDS AND OUTAGES
Our team found Ghosh, McQueen, and Chambers’s contribution to Power Engineering to be an excellent, comprehensive breakdown of an outage—on defining program goals, the planning process, activities key throughout the planning and execution phases, and what to do in between outages. They recommend breaking down the outage planning process into four fundamental steps:
- Pre-outage work and preparation for an upcoming outage
- Outage execution and knowledge capture
- Post-outage analysis
- Reliability centered maintenance (RCM) activities between outages.
“Outage planning is a critical process aimed at ensuring that unanticipated maintenance or repair activities are avoided during an overhaul.”
Equipped with software and system recommendations for managing the operation, their article is a great place to start if you’re looking to have a more efficient outage season. Each contributor has extensive experience in operations, maintenance, and/or power industries—so they really know what they’re talking about.
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