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Capital Projects

Capital Projects

Effective Strategies for Successful Investments

For the most part capital processes are similar and follow fairly standard gate sequences yet we have found that few projects deliver anything like the results they should. Really good outcomes require clarity of purpose, alignment, a culture of timely decision-making and open communication. Interestingly, this uncovers the paradox which is that production sites and units are typically not individually motivated to be fully transparent and take higher risk whereas at corporate level above par returns demand risk. Project stage gate mechanisms  are ubiquitous, but good project managers and teams with the discipline to follow the process and demonstrate judgement in the face of adversity are not so easy to find.

Key Challenges


projects fail (min 25% budget overrun or missed production targets >2 yrs)​


of failed projects had major design changes during engineering​


Only 1 in 3 projects meets objectives set at project authorization


of lessons learned are implemented​

Our Strategy & Solutions

This is where our style of consulting really comes to the fore. Coaxing the best out of people is second nature to us and as the environment becomes ever-more complex, pressured and uncertain new, more flexible ways of working are called for. Our expectations remain high and our people-focused approach always takes precedence, but we adapt ourselves to the specific environment, the availability and skills of staff and contractors to eliminate unnecessary projects and divert scarce resources to those endeavours which must take precedence and those which should yield better returns. The real risk is not taking the time to understand how these aspects can be better managed.

Our Service Offering

Hidden first toggle

Many organizations have analyzed and made improvements to their maintenance program, but few have truly optimized the business of maintenance. Where does your organization stack up against world-class industry leaders and how can your maintenance department break out of the cost center mold and add real value? Our analysis pairs data-rich benchmarking via our Maindex database with the deep insights of true maintenance and reliability experts, guided by our MainMap assessment tool. Our cross-functional teams include maintenance, reliability, and operations technology experts. The result is a full picture of where you are today, an understanding of where you stand against industry competition, and a customized roadmap to unlock greater value.

TA Review / SIP

There are many reasons why the preparation of a turnaround (TA) may be in trouble. But no matter how little time is available it is never too late to take corrective action and minimize the risk of failure. After a brief review of the current situation our TA specialists integrate into your team and support with a hands on pragmatic approach and proven techniques to get your TA preparation and execution back on track.​

TA Excellence Program for one or multiple sites to develop and implement bespoke TA best practices

The ability to continuously deliver successful TAs requires a multitude of preconditions to be in place which many organizations find challenging. Our ‘Turnaround Excellence Program’ helps you to define a bespoke best practice framework for TA success that contains elements such as cycle strategy, organization, target setting, risk based scope management, competitive contracting, effective planning / estimating, dynamic scheduling, efficient execution etc. After the definition of that TA excellence framework our experts assist to actively implement the changes with your team and support you throughout preparation and execution in order to sustainably deliver world class TAs in the future. ​

Provide operative support - T.A. Cook Engineers

Many organizations find it a challenge to staff all key TA positions with reliable individuals who have the capacity and experience to prepare and deliver successful TAs. No matter if you require an entire TA management team or need to fill specific TA functions such as TA Manager, Lead Scheduler, Lead Planner, Quality Manager, Logistics Manager, Field Coordinator etc., our team of TA experts will fully integrate into your organization and provide hands on support to make your TA a success.

TA Review / Stage Gate Review

TA preparation usually stretches over many months and sometimes years, so it is easy to get bogged down and lose sight of potential risks. Our TA health check reviews at different stages of your TA preparation are an objective and detailed status assessment that goes beyond the surface. Interviews, document reviews, field checks and topic specific deep dives are the basis to benchmark your TA’s preparation status vs best practice, identify potential risks and draw up practical corrective actions so you can deliver a successful TA.

Training / Coaching Program, TARfighter

The delivery of successful TAs typically involves a large number of internal and external people across various TA functions. The right capability, expertise and skills of each individual involved are a crucial precondition to meet defined TA targets. Our ‘TA Education Program’ drives the understanding and importance of TA best practice and fosters team alignment. In order to achieve effective learning and rapid application we apply various formats such as interactive classroom training-workshops, our unique TARFighter turnaround simulation training and coach individuals one on one in the field.    ​

Schedule Review and Optimization / Monte Carlo Simulation

The schedule for the execution of aTA has much in common with the script of a movie. It predetermines the best sequence of the story, orchestrates activities of the many different actors / crafts involved, helps to identify the required volume of resources and ensures all the action fits into a fixed time-frame. In many TAs, within a few days of execution the schedule becomes obsolete, as it is not fit for purpose. Our experts support you to determine the most suitable approach and structure to develop a workable schedule for your TA. They will actively guide you on how to best set up and optimize the schedule and deal with schedule risk so you can deliver an event with optimal duration.​

Specialist TA Topic Optimization

Focus, direction, cash flow planning, team motivation, control – there are many reasons why it is so important to define duration and cost targets for a TA. However, setting targets that are either too tight or too generous will lead to frustration, lack of motivation, loss of control, blame and potentially to spending a lot more money than was necessary. It is therefore crucial to install a mechanism that allows you to come up with objective duration and cost targets that drive your team to deliver top competitive TA performance without being unrealistic and setting the TA up for failure. ​

Scope Review Challenge

One of the great challenges for most organizations is to define and control the volume and type of work (i.e. scope) that should and will be executed during a TA. The importance of clear rules for “what is in and what is out of scope” when the scope should be frozen, how to deal with scope changes and who is responsible are usually understood but hard to implement. From the definition and implementation of a risk based scope process, challenging the scope that has already been defined for your TA and taking the lead as active Scope Manager – our team will support you to get back into control.​

Strategy Definition, Cycle Review

There are many mid to long term strategic decisions to make that greatly shape the direction, magnitude and outcome of your TAs. Our experts will assist you in reviewing your existing strategies and help you based on data, facts and evaluated benefits to develop innovative alternatives to shape the future of success of your TAs.​

Success Stories

"We were very impressed that such a big step change was possible in such a short period of time."

Armin Buschmann, CEO Smurfit Kappa

Featured Insights

Big Investment, Low Return

Big Investment, Low Return

T.A. Cook partner Dirk Frame has been involved in investment decision-making globally for over 30 years across a number of sectors and sees many opportunities for companies to

Test your metal

Metallurgical companies are facing challenges to compete with cost-efficient players. Their electricity demand, and therefore costs, are very high, and raw material prices are

"We are not only investing in technology."

Pushing Boundaries is Covestro’s motto. The chemical company is using this philosophy to press ahead with its own digitalization plans. Stephan Krebber, program director


Please talk to our expert to find out how we can support you

Joao Reis

Joao Reis

Principal Director & Capital Project Expertise Lead