At DMS Mechanical, we have learned key ways to ensure a successful shut down, turnaround or planned outage. Watch our new video to find out our best tips and practices.
Operational shutdowns, turnarounds and outages (STO’s) can make a big impact, positively or negatively, on a business’ overall financial performance. Unlike many other projects, STO’s involve both planned and unplanned activities. Incorporating these unplanned activities efficiently into the schedule and scope of the STO is critical to meeting cost estimates and milestones in the timeline. That’s why having a strong, experienced STO manager can make all the difference.
Strong decision making abilities and quick troubleshooting skills are a basic requirement for an STO manager. Each new discovery requires immediate calculation of its effect on the timeline and cost estimate, in addition to communicating the additional work order to the work teams and suppliers related to its execution.
With employee turnover, even in leadership positions, a plant will not always have managers that have participated in their previous STO’s. That’s where the experience of an STO manager, like DMS, can be very helpful. In addition, we bring with us the knowledge and experience we’ve gained from many different sites, a broader base of experience than even your tenured employees will have. Broad experience and a broad perspective of the scope involved in the STO means a strong manager for this critical process in your business.
The complete Quality Statement of DMS can be read on our website, but in summary, every employee in our company is a part of and supports our quality control program, which is just as much about ‘improving’ our quality of workmanship, as it is about maintaining our current high standard.
There is not a single part of our company operations that is not affected by our commitment to quality assurance, and that includes our STO management services. We are committed to maintaining our service quality in an economical and expeditious manner with an emphasis on meeting or exceeding our client’s expectation. At DMS, we understand that quality workmanship is not in contrast to providing value-added work to our clients, we can, and are committed to, providing both.
Two key ingredients in our quality assurance program are ongoing training and open communication with all our employees, in areas of product improvement and performance integrity. This includes everyone from the top management on down. Communication is also a key ingredient in STO management; it is part of what makes DMS so effective in this area of our services.
At DMS, we have learned that there are several key components that are included in every successful shutdown, turnaround or planned outage. We’ve outlined them here in a list of ‘best practices’.
- Long-term planning – A comprehensive turnaround schedule should be in place for at least a five year period. This prevents lag time in the turnaround planning and integrates the scheduled turnaround into a company’s ongoing processes.
- Core team development – Along with the individual teams created to develop the turnaround schedule and plan, a lead team that has over-sight is critical to maintaining focus and holding individual teams accountable to the objectives set by plant leadership in all areas. The members of this team should include representatives from the mechanical contractor, as well as in-house leadership.
- Plan development – The core team, with the help of its sub-teams, develop the timeline estimate with milestones, beginning with pre-turnaround milestones. A preliminary cost estimate, man-power requirements and an organizational structure should be developed. A cost tracking and reporting process needs to be developed and an audit schedule for measuring progress. Hazardous operations should be identified and safety requirements established.
- Pre-turnaround – This stage is just as critical to success as the planning. Orientation of the maintenance contractor and training of the execution team takes place. The safety plan is implemented, material procurement takes place, temporary connections and offices are prepared, pre-fabrication and other pre-shutdown work is begun.
- Execution and Post-turnaround – Implementation of the plan is carried out and audit reporting done during the execution phase. Following the turnaround, demobilization and a turnaround review process should be planned for and followed through. This allows for assessment of lessons learned and recommendations for future turnarounds.
We recently had the pleasure of having our beautiful office space photographed by the talented Pauline Boldt.
Her work can be viewed at www.26mertonroad.com.
DMS offers a full spectrum of mechanical trades:
- Crane Operators
Because of this, our clients have found that we are also a great labor resource for filling temporary in-house needs with highly skilled workers.
Whether the need is for a two week vacation, a one day holiday or a prolonged medical leave, having workers DMS can fill those gaps with labor that is fully qualified to step into the shoes of your employees.
By allowing vacancies during vacation, holidays, sick days or other causes of labor shortages, to be filled with skilled workers, our clients minimize the effect of these unavoidable fluctuations in manpower. Maintaining a constant workforce level can prevent slowdowns, which we all know, can be very costly when trying to keep projects on track.
Good employees are key components to success and one of a business’s most valuable resources. That’s why employee safety is a top priority for most businesses. An important part of keeping employees safe are the required annual inspections on the equipment in a business’s facility.
Cranes are one of those pieces of equipment that need to be carefully inspected to assure the safety of the crews working around them. It is critical that their load limits are tested and certified, along with a thorough physical inspection for functional deficiencies. The same is true for all other types of hoisting equipment.
Pressure valves and vessels also require testing by individuals that have been trained and certified in this process. Just like the cranes, a malfunction in this area of a company’s operation could be quite dangerous for anyone in the vicinity of the incident.
In addition to the safety factor, these inspections or required to keep a business’s operation in full compliance with government codes and regulations. Getting behind on these mandatory inspections can cost you financially, as well create potential hazards for your employees.
Contracting with an outside source such as DMS, to schedule and provide those annual inspections, can make sure that every piece of equipment is inspected thoroughly and on time.
After having worked with our clients during the planning and scheduling phase of a plant turnaround, DMS continues to function as a management team member during the actual execution, as well.
It is not unusual for unexpected conditions to be discovered during this phase, which require adjustments to the schedule and costs. Our project management team is onsite to oversee our labor forces and maintain ongoing communication with the rest of the turnaround leadership team. This ensures that the actual costs and progress of the project are always up to date and never lagging.
Our clients appreciate the control this gives them in accurately adjusting schedules and cost projections.
Of course, maintaining the schedule is not the only thing that is important during the turnaround. Quality performance that will keep everything running smoothly until the next turnaround is just as critical and is something that DMS has always prided itself in being able to deliver.
Top quality workmanship, executed safely and on time are key ingredients of everything that DMS does. Our clients can expect those same qualities as part of our performance on plant turnarounds.
The annual turnaround process for a plant requires careful planning and scheduling to ensure that the whole process flows together smoothly. Because of this, DMS doesn’t wait until the scheduled turnaround to get involved. We understand that early involvement in the planning process will ensure strong communication ties between our personnel and our clients, helping to develop a team mentality.
In addition to working with our clients in developing the project schedule for the turnaround, DMS will work with our clients in creating cost forecasts and coordinating resources. This team effort helps eliminate waste of valuable time and resources during the actual turnaround itself.
Safety is a number one priority in all that we do at DMS. This remains true when it comes to the turnaround process. Part of our goal in being involved in the planning stages of the turnarounds we service, is to help identify and minimize risk factors before the work begins.
When we work together with our clients in preparing for these types of major undertakings, we find that the whole project runs smoother and our clients receive the kind of service they deserve and expect from a mechanical maintenance contractor.
There are some aspects of doing business that just can’t be built into the schedule. Unexpected repairs and maintenance of equipment is one of those.
No matter how carefully you attempt to keep your equipment maintained and in top operating condition, there will still be times when a malfunction occurs that requires an emergency maintenance call. The worst thing about these types of incidents is that they usually happen at the worst possible time. They seem to always happen when you’re already behind schedule, or over budget and can’t afford any more delays. These breakdowns also don’t seem to care whether or not it is daylight out, or if it’s in the middle of the night.
Because of this, getting your equipment repaired and functioning again is usually an emergency situation. Every minute that a piece of equipment is down cost you time and money. Having a mechanical service company that will be available 24/7 to dispatch qualified workers to your site and get you up and running again, can be a powerful ally in those situations. An ally whom you won’t want to do without.