Inspectioneering Journal

The Importance of Turnaround, Shutdown, and Outage Assessments

By Stephen Thomas, Change Management Subject Matter Expert at PK Companies. This article appears in the July/August 2019 issue of Inspectioneering Journal.

For organizations working within various process industries, one of the most significant efforts requiring proper planning, scheduling, and execution are major plant or process equipment shutdowns, turnarounds, and outages. For the purpose of this article I will use the term “outages” to cover them all.

In many process industries, equipment operates twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week, three hundred and sixty-five days a year, making it difficult to perform reliability-based work or repairs since equipment cannot easily be taken out of service. For this reason, on a periodic basis, facilities schedule major plant equipment outages so that the necessary work can be performed. These events have a major impact on the facility’s production capability, the equipment, resources required to execute the work, and budget. This makes planning, scheduling, and addressing a wide variety of logistical elements prior to the outage extremely important in order to ensure a positive outcome.

For a large number of these major events, the planning and scheduling process, along with all of the other aspects of the work, are initiated, at times, two years prior to the actual outage date. Pulling all this information together effectively and efficiently is extremely difficult and time-consuming and many plants have a full-time outage team working on this effort. Those that don’t have a full-time team have an even more difficult task because in addition to doing the strategic planning and scheduling for the outage, the personnel within the organization also have regular full-time positions. 

The questions become: how do you...

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