MRO Magazine

Shutdowns happen every day


October 9, 2009
By PEM Magazine
For some companies and their maintenance departments, implementing best practices is more about the journey rather than the destination itself. With many years of experience, James V. Reyes-Picknell will help you make critical change happen on the shop floor and chart a course for success.
Major shutdowns and turnarounds involve extended downtime. If you run 24/7, each day represents roughly 0.3 percent of your uptime and potential revenue. If plant availability is on the order of 90 to 95 percent (and that’s good for most maintainers), your downtime is the equivalent of 16 to 33 days of turnaround time.
Few operations spend that much time in major outages. A greater portion of downtime happens daily due to unexpected outages. Why are a lot of companies able to do a great job of planning and executing major outages, yet fail when it comes to day-to-day planning, scheduling and work management?
The same techniques we use for shutdowns apply to every job that has a work order. Except for scale, the scope is the same-a plan is a plan, a schedule is a schedule and managing your own workforce is no different than managing contractors during a shutdown. However, planners chase parts, supervisors and tradespersons scramble to plan their own work, purchasers pay premium prices and spare-parts inventory people jump to meet emergency needs.
Shutdowns involve the entire company and maintenance is in the spotlight. Shutdowns are big and have a large business impact on management in a short time. Like performers on a stage, maintainers must keep everyone happy. Unfortunately, maintenance seems to get attention only when something goes wrong.
Shutdowns create pain, but the bigger problem is everyday stuff. In fact, a 50-percent improvement in wrench time can shorten a shutdown by a third. If that same wrench-time improvement occurred more often-you would create proactive programs that deliver improved equipment reliability and uptime performance.
James V. Reyes-Picknell of Barrie, ON-based Conscious Asset Management is a certified management consultant specializing in operations excellence and asset management. You can reach him by email at: