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Shutdowns, Turnarounds and Outages: Part Two

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A Shutdown-Turnaround-Outage (STO) is unique in that it always involves a key asset being taken offline or out of service and is complete only when this item is returned to service and performing at the desired level. STOs are uniquely complex, involving not only planned repair and upgrade activities but also emergent /unplanned work as a result of inspection of plant and processes not accessible or visible during normal operations.

STO optimization requires a holistic approach to manage this unique STO process. At Kepner-Tregoe (KT), this approach begins with a clear framework for the efficient, aligned processes that will drive the flow of information and activities.

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Three primary phases, bound together by clear communications, exist within the KT STO model:

Definition ensures the identification of major sponsors and customers, and establishes organization-wide communication channels. The most suitable time frame for the STO is determined by gathering data on the operational process, customer requirements, equipment needs, resources and other constraints. With this information, decision-making activities around objectives and boundaries are defined including protocols for scope freeze and change control. Detailed processes are used to define work activities, work packages and resource requirements and to perform primary risk assessments. This includes the decommissioning and restart of the asset—a process when under-planned leads to poor production efficiency after the STO. This phase determines if the STO’s goals and objectives are attainable.

Planning organizes STO activity. Tasks are sequenced and scheduled to confirm that the resources are adequate within cost constraints. Planning focuses reviewing, updating, and aligning business processes to meet the heavy demands of the STO. Metric and measurement systems are developed to provide information for decision making, control, recognition and improvement. A final round of risk assessment on the interfaces between groups ensures that the plan integrates master schedules, resource leveling, resource conflict, responsibility assignments, communications, and issue escalation. This will pay dividends by keeping emergent work and modifications of the plan to a minimum. Finally all pre-STO work is checked for completion.

Implementation is dependent on Definition and Planning. It focuses on the mobilization and management of resources and the monitoring of activities to ensure STO results in a safe and proper manner. Vital to resumption of operations is the review, monitoring and reporting of decommissioning and restart activity. When the restart is complete, the team captures data to promote continuous improvement in subsequent shuts.

Communications bind the STO framework with information feedback loops among phases, that ensure the flow of information and facilitate closeout and review activities. Monitoring frameworks using dashboards to communicate metrics and measurement systems keep work on track, create visibility for all stakeholder groups, and promote active communication and discussion.

At closure, the objectives and deliverables for the STO are reviewed to determine whether performance and stakeholder expectations have been met. Lessons learned from all STO stakeholders, including contractors and vendors, are documented and codified for future reference.

For the full article, go to Reliable Plant: Strategies to optimize shutdowns, turnarounds and outages

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Shutdowns, Turnarounds and Outages: Part One
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