Inspectioneering Journal

Management Leadership and Support for PEI

By John Reynolds, Principal Consultant at Intertek. This article appears in the January/February 2010 issue of Inspectioneering Journal.
This article is part 2 of a 10-part series.
Part 1Part 2 | Part 3  Part 4 | Part 5
Part 6 | Part 7 | Part 8 | Part 9 | Part 10



In the first article in this series entitled How to Put It All Together – Guide to Organizing a Successful PEI Program, I provided an overview of the necessary Management Systems (MS) for a successful program to achieve excellence in pressure equipment integrity (PEI). This is the second in that series. For purposes of review (or for those who did not see the original article in the Sept/Oct, 2009 edition of the Inspectioneering Journal (IJ), and in order to set the stage for this follow-on article, I will repeat directly below, some of the same introduction included in the first article. For those who don’t need to review the introductory material, you can skip directly to the third section of this article which has the same title as this article.

Knowing what needs to be accomplished in order to achieve excellence in pressure equipment integrity (PEI) is one thing, but knowing how to organize it all for success is quite another. I have previously written numerous articles for the IJ about what all needs to be accomplished in a PEI program (1-2). In this article (and several more articles to come with more details) I will show how to organize all this “PEI stuff” to achieve overall success in order to make sure that everything that needs to be accomplished, is accomplished, using management systems (MS) and work process (WP) descriptions effectively. Without an effective organizational strategy for PEI, many of the 101 essential elements of PEI (1) can “drop between the chairs” because there may be no management systems (MS) in place to make sure that each element of PEI gets properly planned, scheduled and completed at appropriate intervals by a responsible party. However with an effective PEI MS in place, each site should be able to maintain pressure equipment integrity (i.e. no breaches of containment) and to achieve pressure equipment reliability (i.e. having pressure equipment available to function as designed to meet the business plan), both of which comprise PEI excellence.

Speaking of excellence, Vince Lombardi, one of the most famous football coaches in the history of the NFL, once said “Perfection is not attainable, but if you chase perfection, you will catch excellence”. I believe that to be very true and especially when it comes to implementing an effective pressure equipment integrity program. But what is excellence in PEI? It’s not “gold plating” nor overdoing nor spending too much on the PEI program. It’s simply doing everything that needs to be done, doing it right, doing it when it needs to be done, in order to create, implement and sustain the PEI program to avoid breaches of containment. Keep that definition in mind, as I will refer to it often as we proceed though a series of articles on the subject. Having effective management systems (MS) in place for all the PEI issues that need to be handled is the foundation for a successful PEI program.
Note: For those of you who are more used to the term “mechanical integrity (MI)”, I use PE I throughout this article as the equivalent of MI, but pertaining only to what I refer to as pressure equipment or what some others may refer to as “fixed equipment” or “stationary equipment”.

But what is a management system (MS)? In my experience, it’s simply a compendium of all the necessary information that describes what must be done, why it needs to done, how it is to be done, and how often or when. Some operating sites then combine their PEI MS with PEI work process (WP) maps and descriptions to show who is involved and how the work flows, i.e. what comes first, next, last and in between plus what can be done in parallel and what must be done in series. Management systems are the input to the WP maps and descriptions. For the purpose of this series of articles, I will concentrate on creating, implementing and sustaining the necessary PEI MS, and will mention how WP maps and descriptions are also needed to achieve efficiency and effectiveness in the PEI program.

I recognize that there may be many ways to organize a PEI MS program for success, so I will present just one suggested way to do it, not the only way. Other ways to organize a PEI MS program may be equally effective, just as long as all necessary elements are included, scheduled and accomplished according to plan. This series of articles is intended for those organizations that may not yet be achieving excellence in PEI (see above definition) and that believe perhaps the way they are organized (or even disorganized) may be part of the problem. Without effective PEI MS, even if we know what needs to be done, we might be just “flailing at the wind”, as my grandmother used to say, rather than accomplishing what needs to be done effectively and efficiently to prevent breaches of containment.

The Ten PEI Management Systems

The way I see it, there are 10 essential MSs needed for an effective PEI program that can achieve excellence. I like to think of having all 10 of the necessary MSs for PEI in two filing cabinets, with 5 drawers each, i.e. 10 drawers total. Now before I lose half my readers right off the top who don’t put anything in those ancient metal cabinets any more, bear with me, as I’m old enough to still think that way, even though I well know we keep all our files nowadays stored electronically. Back on track; each of my filing cabinet drawers has one of 10 PEI MSs that contain all the necessary information that describe what needs to be accomplished, and how to accomplish it, in order to achieve success in PEI. So in my two PEI MS filing cabinets, I have one of these PEI MS labels on each of the 10 MS drawers (or in modern day language, as a title for a personal folder):

  1. Management Leadership and Support for PEI (topic of this article)
  2. Integrity Operating Windows (IOW)
  3. Management of Change (MOC)
  4. Deterioration Management and Control
  5. Risk Assessment and Inspection Planning
  6. Life Cycle Management
  7. PEI Codes and Standards
  8. Site Procedures and Work Processes for PEI
  9. PEI Record keeping and Data Management
  10. Continuous Improvement for PEI

Into each of these drawers, I will have multiple folders where I file all the procedures, standards, guidelines, work processes, best practices, engineering evaluations, failure analyses, metrics, etc. that I need in order to outline and operate a successful PEI program. For those who are more visually oriented learners, like myself, those 10 PEI MSs are shown schematically in figure 1.

Figure 1. 10 PEI MSs
Figure 1. 10 PEI MSs

As you can see from the list of 10 PEI MSs above and in Figure 1, there is much more to a robust PEI program than just inspection procedures and standards. Achieving pressure equipment integrity over the long haul is not just the result of a competent inspection program! It takes an effective multi-disciplined approach with management, operations, engineering, maintenance and inspection to accomplish what needs to be done to achieve excellence in PEI. All of these PEI MSs need to be highly integrated in order to achieve success in PEI. Hence, if I were to draw figure 1 more accurately, there would be a double-ended arrow from each MS bubble to every other MS bubble on the diagram; but that would be too messy and the effect of the illustration would be lost; so you will just need to be aware that all those other arrows exist, even though they are not shown.

Those operating sites, which still have each of their functions mostly “working in silos” and not effectively integrated with the other disciplines, will not be able to achieve the level of PEI success that is vital in today’s competitive environment that demands the utmost in cost containment and reliability.

This article in the series will focus on the MS for Management Leadership and Support of PEI, the bubble at the 12 o’clock position on Figure 1.

Management Leadership and Support for PEI

Like all of the other 10 MSs in our filing cabinet, this MS on Management Leadership and Support of PEI (shown in Figure 2 below) is vital to success and linked inextricably to all the other PEI MSs in figure 1. It includes such issues as:

Figure 2 - Management Leadership and Support for PEI
Figure 2 - Management Leadership and Support for PEI

  1. Supplying the necessary PEI resources
  2. Having the necessary PEI staffing (owner-user and contract)
  3. Conducting the necessary PEI training and certification
  4. Planning for competency improvement of staff
  5. “Walking the Talk” by management
  6. Delineating the necessary roles, responsibilities and accountabilities for PEI
  7. Ensuring that no piece of pressure equipment “falls between the cracks”
  8. Transferring PEI knowledge to others that need to know
  9. Instilling a shared stewardship of assets attitude in all those involved in PEI
  10. Establishing multi-functional teams to coordinate PEI issues
  11. Conducting management system reviews of PEI issues/plans/progress

PEI Resources

Clearly, without adequate resources being budgeted to the PEI function by site management, the necessary run- and-maintain PEI work may not be adequately covered and little progress toward improvement and achieving PEI Excellence (the bull’s eye in figure 1) can be made. So this PEI resource bubble on the chart is pervasive through all ten PEI MSs. In this management system, an annual work process needs to be in place for planning for the necessary budgetary resources for the following annual cycle. In fact, my favored approach is to have both a detailed annual plan and a five year forecasted plan for PEI budgets which are updated each year in preparation for next year’s budget request.

The PEI function needs to be heavily involved in the budget planning process. Don’t assume that those who “hold the bag of gold” will take care of you. Be proactive in the budgeting process, by planning for your run-and-maintain PEI needs as well as what resources will be needed to make improvements in the PEI program the following year. Then those budget needs should be passed along to those responsible for the various budgets that support inspection activities such as: the MI manager who is responsible for the PEI staff and PEI contractors, the maintenance manager who is responsible for all the costs associated with maintenance support functions such as scaffolding, opening and cleaning equipment for inspection, and the turnaround manager, who is responsible for all the costs associated with implementing a turnaround where so much vital PEI work gets done. Then there is a little salesmanship associated with each budget submittal, which entails letting each responsible manager know why each budget line item is needed and what might happen to PEI if it is not adequately funded.

Are you sufficiently involved in the PEI resource budgeting process and does your management provide the necessary resources to complete the planned PEI functions and improvement goals each year?

This content is available to registered users and subscribers

Register today to unlock this article for free.

Create your free account and get access to:

  • Unlock one premium article of your choosing per month
  • Exclusive online content, videos, and downloads
  • Insightful and actionable webinars
Interested in unlimited access? VIEW OUR SUBSCRIPTION OPTIONS

Current subscribers and registered users can log in now.

Comments and Discussion

There are no comments yet.

Add a Comment

Please log in or register to participate in comments and discussions.

Inspectioneering Journal

Explore over 20 years of articles written by our team of subject matter experts.

Company Directory

Find relevant products, services, and technologies.

Training Solutions

Improve your skills in key mechanical integrity subjects.

Case Studies

Learn from the experience of others in the industry.


Inspectioneering's index of mechanical integrity topics – built by you.

Industry News

Stay up-to-date with the latest inspection and asset integrity management news.


Read short articles and insights authored by industry experts.

Expert Interviews

Inspectioneering's archive of interviews with industry subject matter experts.

Event Calendar

Find upcoming conferences, training sessions, online events, and more.


Downloadable eBooks, Asset Intelligence Reports, checklists, white papers, and more.

Videos & Webinars

Watch educational and informative videos directly related to your profession.


Commonly used asset integrity management and inspection acronyms.