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Streamline STO Planning & Execution

19th Jan 16

Topics: Blog

Streamline STO Planning & Execution

Planning and managing shutdowns, turnarounds and outages in the process plant environment is a complex and demanding function. If turnarounds are not properly planned, managed and controlled, companies run the risk of serious budget overruns, costly schedule delays and negative impacts on customers.

The impact and scope of STOs extend far beyond the maintenance and engineering functions. STOs can command significant capital and operating budgets. They attract the attention of shareholders and boards of directors, and impact inventory supply chains and customer relationships. Considering the value of well-managed STOs across the organization, a poorly executed STO can cost a company millions of dollars in lost revenue and project over run.

Managing Complexity and Scope

STOs are more complex than other project-based events. To say it simply, an STO involves both planned activities and unplanned work resulting from inspection of part of a machine or asset, which is not accessible or visible during normal operations.

Managing project scope is typically one of the top challenges for most STO management teams. Managers need project prioritization and management tools to assist in making decisions on emerging work to stay within the project plan and budget targets. In addition, the capture, analysis and availability of relevant information and metrics is crucial for appropriate managing of activities. Measuring the right things at the right time, and communicating information appropriately, allows STO managers to maintain control of the work being executed.

Risks Associated with STOs

Turnarounds usually entail a high degree of risk. Managers must prepare for the possibility that the effort to clean or repair equipment may exceed estimates and expectations when the equipment is opened and inspected for the first time. A characteristic of poorly managed STOs lies within the communication and decisions made when a risk is presented.

Shedding a reactive culture and moving toward anticipating and resolving risks before they impact the project is critical to STO success. Managers must effectively communicate risks, while also balance the costs and possible schedule delay associated with said risk. Adequate reporting and real-time data helps STO managers make the best decision when a risk presents itself.

Shutdowns, Turnarounds and Outages are very challenging and dynamic high performance projects. They have many unique characteristics that differentiate them from other types of projects.  Stay tuned for our next post on how Safran Project 7 and Vesta Partners add value to STO management.

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