Changes in technology, the market and the economic environment have all boosted the value of computerized maintenance management systems (CMMS) for industrial facilities. This is true not only for daily maintenance management but also for special projects, such as plant expansions and retrofits, that necessitate total or partial outages.
Given that planning and executing a scheduled process outage is one of the most resource-intensive activities any firm can undertake, leveraging an advanced CMMS is fundamental to success. Following are a few of the benefits conferred by using a CMMS to plan and execute these projects.
Planning and Scheduling
Detailed planning and scheduling are critical to an efficient planned shutdown. Modern CMMS are essential for ensuring plans are optimized and schedules are executed with precision. A sampling of the activities that can be scheduled and tracked by a CMMS during the shutdown include:
- Planned and actual work orders
- Estimated labor and/or contract hours/dollars
- Skills required for each task
- Spare parts and tools required
- Necessary inspection measures and triggers
- Relevant safety procedures.
- Precedent relationship between various tasks and/or work orders.
Additionally, a CMMS will assist with the preparation of contingency plans in the event of delays as well as “what-if” analyses to generate best-case/anticipated/worst-case scenarios.
Procurement and Inventory Management
To minimize downtime with any major project, the delivery timing of purchased materials and services is crucial. Early arrival wastes budgets and resources; too late and the project will be delayed. In addition, meticulous inventory management is vital during the project. It not only ensures stock levels are optimized but also that parts are inspected, kitted and released on a timely manner.
Analysis and Reporting
Project management analysis and reporting is the most fundamental element with a plant shutdown as it determines whether the effort is being executed on time, on budget and at the expected quality level. However, technical and warranty analyses are also important.
- Technical analysis and reporting helps expose and resolve problems through root cause and other analyses.
- Warranty analysis and reporting ensure the cost of materials under warranty can be recovered.
Due to the expense inherent in a major project, many business leaders choose to adjust their facility’s shutdown scale, frequency and quantity. For example, shifting from a large-scale approach to a series of “mini-shutdowns” performed more frequently can lessen the disruption to operations and maintenance. It also reduces expenses in several ways:
- Minimizes the quantity and cost of overtime and external contractors
- Cuts the production losses inherent in downtime
- Reduces the start-up costs that are inevitable after prolonged downtime
Calculating the Value of a CMMS
The variables involved with any planned shutdown require precise calculations that are specific to the project. However, Tero has developed a calculation framework that enables decision-makers to estimate how much they can save by using a best-practices CMMS like Tero Azzier.
- Estimate the total number of yearly projects/outages/turnarounds that result in in equipment downtime, production loss, or delays.
- Estimate the total number of days for all these efforts.
- Determine your average cost of downtime, per day, for impacted equipment. (If you don’t know how to calculate it, give us a call using the contact information at the end of this article.)
- Multiply line 2 by line 3. That is your total cost of yearly projects/outages/turnarounds.
If you currently do not have any work order computerization, you can save 10% of that expense by implementing a best-practices CMMS like Tero Azzier and using it to plan and manage your outage events. Even if you already have project management and inventory control systems in place, you can save 5%.
If you don’t want to go through these steps, consider this: Any event for which major assets or an entire facility will be taken offline to perform planned maintenance will be complex, costly and disruptive to daily plant operations. History (and our experience with clients) shows that the greater the level of detail, the easier it is to manage plans and their execution.
Given that a multi-week plant shutdown can cost as much as the maintenance budget for an entire year, it’s well worth the time and money to do it right. Careful planning and execution with the aid of a CMMS will help keep these projects on track and minimize planned downtime, ensuring profit margins are not eroded by these activities.