Aligning Priorities to Yield Successful Turnarounds | RefinerLink

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Aligning Priorities to Yield Successful Turnarounds

By Marcus Evans

May 06, 2013

Key factors and fundamentals of achieving timely turnarounds, including tips in planning, executing, and analyzing performance.         


Refinery and Petrochemical turnarounds are very complex, costly, and dangerous events.  Not only do they take years to properly plan, but they also require 100% focus during execution to make it a successful effort.


The tips below highlight key areas that every organization should focus on to best leverage their assets:





Envision a More Timely and Cost-Efficient Turnaround

  • Develop steer team vision to encourage cohesive efforts
  • Interact effectively as a team to develop shared priorities
  • Prioritize work from the top down to plan more practically
  • Reshape and distribute doctrine to reinforce and promote corresponding action
  • Promote leadership and plant consistency


Improve Projection of Scope to Achieve More Acute Planning

  • Comprehend the impacts of early planning on outcome
  • Ramp up schedules to minimize work scope 
  • Integrate detailed project schedules to clarify projects


  • Detail maintenance activities to reduce turnaround work
  • Reduce scope through more exacting prioritization of work


Develop Metrics to Improve Budget Estimates for Greater Cost-Efficiency

  • Review existing metrics to determine budget against tools that could be implemented to improve estimates
  • Project budgets and budgetary cycles using past data and new metrics
  • Make results-driven decisions to produce more accurate estimates
  • Translate lessons learned into scientific methodology
  • Apply metrics for future planning


Establish More Effective Capital Projects Integration with Turnarounds

  • Delineate responsibilities for clear oversight
  • Establish a line of communication between project coordinators and stakeholders for more efficient planning
  • Communicate and comprehend project expectations
  • Frontload collaborative effort s to avoid rewriting projects
  • Weigh upfront integration vs. backend integration


Overcome Resource Challenges to Maintain Schedule and Cost

  • Detail persistent drivers of resource depletion to supplement planning scope; including personnel, equipment and budget
  • Think outside the box to uncover creative solutions to obtain necessary budget
  • Draw the connection between resource availability and planning schedule to overcome setbacks
  • Set a precedent for a more targeted approach going forward


Bundle Work Packages as a Tool for Project Management
  • Bundle projects to encourage more strategic planning
  • Specify when and where work bundling is most applicable
  • Expand on bundling between clients and sites as necessary
  • Consolidate turnarounds where possible for greater work efficiency
  • Demonstrate the benefits of practical implementation of work bundling








Enrich the Quality of the Turnaround Workforce to Maximize Operations

  • Identify gaps and weaknesses in the current workforce
  • Detail a potent plan to acquire and effectively train new talent
  • Elaborate on the role of leadership in staffing and quality enhancement
  • Promote accountability to drive up quality


Improve Worker Productivity to Avoid Turnaround Delays

  • Project and meet appropriate staffing needs
  • Incorporate new technologies for cost-efficiency and ease of jobs
  • Enhance maintenance strategy to prevent unanticipated work and avoid time delays
  • Implement an environment of accountability to aid in production






Appraise the Latest Advances in Cleaning Technology

  • Review newer industrial cleaning technologies and practices
  • Illustrate how the right technological tools advance projects
  • Assess how frequently such practices should be implemented


Enrich Planning and Reporting By Using Management Software

  • Introduce the best project management software for plant maintenance
  • Train staff appropriately to obtain the level of tech-savvy skills necessary for strong process
  • Overcome technological hurdles for continued process improvement
  • Grasp the benefits of using the right software tools for long-term improvement


Improve Inspections to Improve Routine Maintenance

  • Review inspection intervals to pinpoint the ideal frequency for which to conduct inspections
  • Pre-test process equipment to minimize scope
  • Ensure solid maintenance standards are in place to avoid confusion and maintain project clarity
  • Utilize valuable inspection tools to preserve maintenance integrity


Enhance Productivity of Confined Spaces Work

  • Exemplify the variety and types of recent problems encountered when working in confined spaces
  • Discuss new legislation detailing industrial hygiene, exposure limits, ventilation
  • Explore available technological solutions like ultrasonics and gas detection equipment
  • Apply successful mechanisms to related problems to fulfill requirements


Evaluate Newest Safety Practices to Achieve Zero Reportables

  • Develop safety plans through detailed risk assessment
  • Ensure strong safety standards and practices to avoid incidents
  • Sift through instances of zero reportables to identify practices to adopt
  • Incorporate safety as a culture to permeate every activity  and promote plant health
  • Employ robotics and acquiring technologies to improve worker safety





Include Contractors in Front End Loading for Clarity of Role and Scope

  • Determine key areas of contractor involvement for clearly stated intentions and action points
  • Outline main plant and contractor points of contact from the onset
  • Collaborate on a strategy to keep work on schedule
  • Overcome obstacles and use them as a tool in future planning


Firm Bid Or Time and Material: Issuing Most Effective Contract Type

  • Decide which form of contract is most complimentary to project scope
  • Understand the advantages and disadvantages of each route
  • Identify potential issues once a contract type has been selected
  • Use reporting variances to the advantage of the turnaround


Pros and Cons of Managing a Diversified Contractor Workforce

  • Weigh your contracting options and their value with your jobs in mind
  • Anticipate the level of diversity that would best support plant objections
  • Pare down oversight where applicable for more efficient use of time
  • Experiment with options without losing productivity time







Use Reporting History to Refine Planning and Establish Best Practices

  • Determine an ideal strategy and frequency to evaluate reports and data
  • Transform lessons learned into usable corporate standards and requirements
  • Inspire corporate innovation through proven methods and takeaways
  • Esteem integrity and progress to advance corporate goals
  • Integrate best practices for the next turnaround


Address the Importance of Logistical Factors inOverall Project Scope

  • Nail down which aspects of logistical factors tend to be overlooked in planning
  • Draw the connection between logistical importance to successful projects
  • Track the flow of materials through the time of receiving to staging to issuing to returns, to determine what works well
  • Account for specific cases of logistical falter to improve timeliness in turnarounds
  • Communicate this message to planners and operators to ensure improved productivity


Summarized above are success factors proven over decades of industry experience.  To learn more details and interact with industry experts, attend the 5th Annual Chem / Petrochem and Refineries Shutdowns and Turnarounds Conference, August 6-8, 2013 in Dallas, TX. 


This event will focus on the fundamentals of achieving timely turnarounds, which entails: early planning, solid guidelines, capital projects integration, safety, introducing technology to improve safety, drive down costs, developing best practices through the reporting and analyses post-turnaround, and building/maintaining a quality workforce.


With a one-track focus, this conference is a highly intensive, content-driven event that includes case studies, presentations and panel discussions over two full days. This conference targets senior-level executives in order to provide an intimate atmosphere for both the delegates and speakers.



For further information visit:



For registration information and pricing, please contact Michele Westergaard, Senior Marketing Manager at 312-540-3000 ext. 6625 or 


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