Shutdowns, Turnarounds, and Outages (STO): depending on your industry, you use one of these terms to represent the planned and controlled shutdown of assets for an extended period of time in order to expand or restore their capability. For the purposes of this post, let’s focus on the term “shutdowns” with the understanding that the principles apply to both turnarounds and outages as well.
These events represent one of the greatest composite risks to your organization, with the impact on your customers, expense, and capital allocated to these efforts, and the sheer number of people (both internal and external) who participate in these events.
Couple this with the fact that you are performing many tasks that, at best, are performed infrequently, or at worst once in a lifetime, and you have a tremendous opportunity to stave off some dire consequences.
The opportunity to avoid negative consequences is profound during a shutdown event, and can best be grouped into 3 categories:
The good news about shutdowns is that they are largely predictable. We generally know about them well in advance, and if we choose to use it wisely, we have the time to carefully prepare and analyze the risk we will face when the big event happens.
Sure, as we get close to the day of the shutdown, factors change: dates slip, adjustments (hopefully minor) are made to the scope, gaps in and the availability of needed materials begin to impact our readiness, etc. This does not change the fact that the months and months of effort we put in to prepare for this shutdown were well spent.
The elements we have put into place, and the risks we have considered and mitigated, still hold value even with the changes we will no doubt experience. It is important to remember that there are no heroes in the shutdown; the heroes put in the effort to get us to that day with careful and thoughtful preparation.
Given that preparation is key, a well-established process executed with a high degree of discipline and continual learning is the secret to success at shutdown management:
Of course, the secret to success is in the details: making sure that the entire team (operations, maintenance, engineering, capital projects, contractors) are working together in unison with a single collective plan. This does not mean just during the shutdown – it is equally important during the time we invest in preparing for the shutdown.
Allied Reliability’s production and asset management experts are committed to optimizing equipment and processes. Our experts work with you for best outcomes. Understanding how critical asset failures impact the environment, production, financials, and safety enables us to deliver the right monitoring, analytics, decision making, and maintenance plans. We bring unique asset management content along with best practices, advanced tools, and proven methodologies to help customers move forward in their Digital Transformation journey to deliver enhanced performance.