Improving Active Supervision at a Large European Petrochemical Site

A European petrochemical site utilized contractors on their large site. The expense was higher than desired, which led the company to reach out to T.A. Cook to review site processes and make suggestions for third-party employee management. Here are the key results:


Increased adherence of health and safety rules


Defined and implemented supervisory tools, such as 'typical day' and enhanced IT and planning tools


Reduction in maintenance costs


Improved cost awareness, money and time management


Once the operations and maintenance processes, the technical services and site purchasing procedures were reviewed, a 20% fixed cost reduction over a three-year period was identified. Considering all preventative and curative repair work was executed by contractors, improved management techniques geared toward these workers was identified as a key area for 25% of the fixed cost reductions. To realize these cost-cutting goals, the role of the supervisor acting as the liaison between contractors and the site had to be redefined. “Active supervision” was thus introduced and implemented, ensuring proper third-party work execution. With heightened supervision, newly applied safety rules were set and follow-up intervals were shortened, helping the site react quickly to avoid or rectify problems, measure progress as well as realize work plans within a given time frame.

A change facilitator function was created in order to drive change management with the objective of accompanying supervisors on the shop floor to evaluate the new way of working. Furthermore, supervisory tools and enhanced IT and planning tools helped increase supervisor efficiency and efficacy.


Despite a strongly unionized working environment, the change measurement tool was well received. Progress was thus able to be measured objectively and individual skill development was evaluated. Active management approaches such as assigning work, giving direction, following up, giving feedback, coaching and problem solving were considerably improved. In addition, respect for health and safety rules and the overall quality of work increased. Costs were better controlled, more deadlines were met, and problem resolution processes improved. Above all, third-party management efficiency increased due to improvements in the financial and technical work closure, the quantity and quality control and deadline adherence. With the aforementioned enhancements and changes, original project targets were exceeded and total maintenance costs were reduced by 30%. 

Related Case Studies

UK Railway Reorganizes Contractor Management

A large metro railway operator serving 200,000 people every day across six main depots was seeking new ways to improve upon old management and update. They had been using outdated processes dating back to its duration under state ownership.