Engineering & Mining Journal

JUN 2019

Engineering and Mining Journal - Whether the market is copper, gold, nickel, iron ore, lead/zinc, PGM, diamonds or other commodities, E&MJ takes the lead in projecting trends, following development and reporting on the most efficient operating pr

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92 E&MJ • JUNE 2019 www.e-mj.com OPERATING STRATEGIES Maintenance shutdowns, in many respects, prove the rigor of a business' management systems. While offl ine maintenance ac- tivities are generally planned, scheduled and executed as per business-as-usual techniques, and task-level work scope and individual activities rarely change, the crit- ical difference between daily operations and shutdowns is intensity. A huge volume of tasks is executed simultaneously, dra- matically increasing risk in areas such as safety, quality and cost. With maintenance work groups able to swell from 20 people to more than 600, delivering in excess of 7,000 manhours over 24-hour periods, for days to several weeks, the value of opti- mizing work programs to balance mainte- nance needs with plant uptime is clear. Weak systems can hide in plain sight when work levels are moderate. When they are as intense as shutdowns, there is simply no hiding. In some respects, they are the ultimate test of system strength. The Minset team has been involved in major shutdown programs over the past 20 years. There is no silver bullet that fi xes all challenges. True excellence re- quires competence in all aspects of ini- tiation, development and delivery. For example, excellent scheduling will not compensate for poor execution. With that in mind, when clients want to improve their shutdown performance, they start by helping them strengthen, or even devel- op, a robust, end-to-end process frame- work and then bring that to life through disciplined application. Management System A strong shutdown management system spans areas such as: • Consistent, detailed processes and standardized work. • Advanced work scoping and quick changeover processes. • Defi ned objectives and clear expectations. • Visibility of shutdown cycle progress. • Trained supervisors and engaged workgroups. • Improved information fl ow within teams. • Improved reporting and data provision. While that sounds straightforward, it is all too common for chinks to show in the armor fairly quickly. Common Shutdown Issues Here are the issues regularly seen: X The shutdown strategy and event plans are not current, suffi ciently detailed or followed. This results in a lack of align- ment that, in turn, results in shutdown management teams not getting enough time to plan and prepare for execution. X Work scope defi nition and management is often poor, with additional work being added to scope in the weeks preceding execution without rigorous evaluation planning. X There is no effective mechanism to give senior management visibility of progress. Shutdowns may last for mere days, but planning and preparation are months in the making. The ability to clearly track progress through process milestones is critical. X Even when these high-level structures are in place, too often specifi c mainten- ance task information is incomplete or inaccurate, such as infl ated labor hour estimates or missing key parts. The link between macro and micro is obvi- ous — and that is where process break- downs easily occur. X There is often a failure to recognize the importance, and work demands, of the fi rst and fi nal phases of shut- downs. These "bookend" the rest of the shutdown activity. When they are poor- ly managed, it negatively impacts the whole. Performance They encourage leaders to consider seven key strategies in their shutdown manage- ment to address these and other issues: XChallenge your management system – major sites often have varied shutdown procedures. Standardizing the approach is the fi rst win for shutdown excellence – Seven Strategies for Superior Shutdown Performance By Andrew Attrill Plant shutdowns, unless carefully planned in advance and executed effi ciently, can expose weaknesses in an operation's management and maintenance systems and result in unexpected delays and expenses.

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