Identify and address planning issues in TAR preparation

A leading Canadian petrochemical producer was planning for an approaching turnaround (TA), but it was not being carried out according to initial forecasts. The site asked T.A. Cook to execute a one-week assessment to identify potential improvements for the event’s preparation and execution. Here are the key results:

Active

Active management tackled skill shortage and long-term planner productivity increased

Weekly

Weekly and daily schedules developed to track planner activity and success rates

Gaps

Gaps in planner capabilities identified and used to select training topics

Goals

Supervisor coaching sessions ensured that processes were adhered to and goals were reached

Approach

A thorough analysis and interviews with key personnel established exactly what was hindering planning activities and how such factors could be improved. The findings indicated that only 55% of planners' time was spent on planning. Second, a shortage of TA planners in Canada meant that planner motivation was lower than normal, which led to supervisors avoiding active management techniques for fear of being short staffed at critical moments. T.A. Cook worked with managers and supervisors to evaluate the planners’ current abilities. By doing so, all skills gaps were identified and training topics were selected in order to increase the overall level of competency. New software and planning tools were introduced and planners were better equipped to perform their tasks.

Supervisors also worked with planners to establish goals according to specific timeframes. This feedback helped solidify daily and weekly schedule expectations and gave supervisors a way to track planners' activities and success rates. Supervisor coaching sessions to establish and improve active management skills ensured processes were adhered to and goals were reached.

Achievements

By promoting active management and having supervisors assess their current and future skills requirements, the petrochemical producer was able to achieve a cost savings of $CAN 1.2m through increased productivity. Additionally, the implementation of a skills and competencies rubric for TA planners helped management address manpower requirements for the short and long term.

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