These days, technology is disrupting every business — promising more productivity, wider markets, and larger margins. Installing and implementing new technology is a necessary hurdle to embracing its benefits, but doing so often requires a complete, even if temporary, industrial plant shutdown. When properly managed, a plant turnaround project maximizes both existing asset capacity as well as long-term company health.
Clarify and strategize the turnaround project.
Because a turnaround is a scheduled term of non-production, day-to-day operations will stop so employees can focus their attention on repairs, replacements, and other maintenance objectives. A plant shutdown also stops revenue generation, so completing refurbishment as quickly and effectively as possible reduces these losses. A strategic plan to guide the turnaround is the best tool to ensure you accomplish goals on time and within budget. Your comprehensive plan should follow a logical path and encompass all parts of the process.
Clarify your strategic goals.
Corporate leadership needs to be certain about why the turnaround is necessary. In most industrial cases, machines and equipment will need regular maintenance and repairs, but advanced technology may also provide enhanced performance capabilities. Adding new systems to the overall manufacturing process will require integration with existing assets.
Structure your staffing strategy.
In many cases, you can utilize contractors as specialists to execute certain tasks. Finding experts takes time, so you should assemble your team before beginning the project.
Structure your scheduling strategy.
Establishing a timeline is also critical because everyone working on this project needs to set priority levels on this job as well as other responsibilities.
Structure your budget.
Setting a financial goal for the project can be tricky if the plant has not recently gone through a full systems and parts assessment. You may need to replace existing equipment, not just repair or maintenance, and the unknown could escalate project costs. Contractors may be delayed by other obligations or require additional time or resources to complete the plan. Savvy project managers should add a 10 to 15% cushion on top of expected costs to account for these and other unexpected interruptions.
The best turnaround plans include inspections throughout the process, not just at the end. Measure and meet interim goals such as refurbishing existing assets or adding technology to specified systems. All other improvements need to be sound and functioning before you move the rest of the project forward.
Assess existing assets.
The turnaround period is the best time to evaluate and refurbish existing systems parts, such as tanks, linings, pipes, hoses, and connectors. Often, this is the only time when professionals can inspect entire systems. Upgrading interior surfaces with today’s higher quality finishes often extends equipment life.
Perform a quality check.
Testing systems, outputs, and performance throughout the project ensures you achieve turnaround goals and the company can reopen as a more efficient version of its previous operations.