10 Steps to a Successful Plant Turnaround

Energy-Crane-and-Rigging-Refinery-Turnaround-2013-Pic-6A planned shutdown or plant turnaround can come with a significant cost and hit to operating budgets. These shutdowns may even come to the attention of an operation’s boards of directors and shareholders, as well as have an effect on inventory supply and client relationships. Therefore it is essential that plants manage shutdowns and turnarounds, as efficiently as possible. Given our extensive experience in this area, we’d like to share these 10 crucial steps to a successful turnaround.

  1. Planning – It is no surprise that having a detailed, well-thought out plan is the first step to a successful plant turnaround. The plan should include clear items for when the shutdown will begin and end, what equipment will be removed, what equipment will be repaired, what equipment will be replaced, what maintenance and inspections will be performed, etc.
  2. Budgeting – According to Maintenance Resources, a shutdown “can consume an equivalent cost of a yearly maintenance budget in four to five weeks.” In order to maximize the bottom line of a shutdown, it is important to be realistic about what it will cost and be ready for it.
  3. Hiring – If the business is looking to invest and partner with another who is an expert in shutdowns and turnarounds, it is important to “shop around” and find the best partner for your business, or someone who has knowledge and experience in your industry. The partner should also review, understand, and approve of the turnaround plan.
  4. Assignment – Once the plan is in place, it is time to assign details on who is responsible for what and establish their time frame. This includes for both onsite and offsite personnel. This also includes appointing a turnaround manager to oversee the entire process and turnaround sub-managers (where necessary to oversee certain aspects of the turnaround).
  5. Purchase – If your turnaround needs certain materials, tools, etc. that you must buy on a permanent or even rental basis, do so before any shutdown actually occurs. These should be ordered in advance and anticipate any demanding times in the industry.
  6. Removal – Once all materials are acquired and all are familiar with their roles, it is important to begin the shutdown by removing any assets that will not be needed for the turnaround, may interfere with the turnaround, or are being replaced.
  7. Inspection – It is important to inspect ALL equipment not easily accessible or that plays a critical role during the inspection process in order to gauge what needs maintenance or repairs, as well as what is working to industry regulations.
  8. Repairs/Installation/Maintenance – Once inspections have confirmed what is to be repaired, installed, replaced, maintained, etc. it is important to begin this work as soon as possible, with the most difficult and time consuming tasks taking the highest priority. This is due to the fact that if an issue arises, it can be addressed as soon as possible.
  9. Quality Assurance and Quality Check – Once all the work is completed or in a staggering manner, all equipment that was worked on or returned after being removed should be inspected and tested again to ensure it is working as it is supposed to and that the work was successful. This may include implementing an advanced tagging system.
  10. Restart – The shutdown ends when the operation, asset, unit, or plant is restored to normal (or improved) performance levels and has been confirmed by any regulatory agencies.

If you need help planning and executing a shutdown or plant turnaround, call or e-mail us with your requirements, and our team will offer solutions and further guidance. Please call us at (713) 597-8398 or e-mail us.