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Planning, Scheduling, and Resource Optimization

Integrated planning meant that there was one plan and one consolidated schedule for all activities starting with cutting out the feed before shutting down and finishing with on-grade products to storage after start-up.

To achieve this, a multidiscipline team was set up. The planning engineer and the operations supervisor were full time members. Representatives from various other disciplines joined in as part time members as and when their work was planned.

Contractors, who were already identified on the basis of unit rates, were invited to participate when work allocated to them was being planned. Other contractors, when identified, were invited to comment constructively on the plan and schedule.

The integrated plan was optimized for all resources. It was a totally transparent plan from which anyone could tell what was going on anywhere at any time.

Execution

About a week before the plant feed was cut out, the planning team moved to the shutdown cabin in the field. They would help the shutdown leader realize the plan. All execution supervisors had been involved in the preparation and planning of their respective work. They had in turn made their craftsmen fully aware of the schedules. Every one involved was ready to go when the time came.

The leader held a communication meeting every morning, about one hour after start of work. All supervisors were expected to attend. I attended daily as an observer. I encouraged the GM and other members of the management team to attend as observers whenever they could. This gave the meeting the high profile it deserved. The meeting lasted no more than 30 minutes. The planning engineer presented the updated critical path after the progress reported by all supervisors the previous evening had been worked-in overnight. Every one reported their expectations for the day, including any foreseen bottlenecks. At the end of the meeting, every one knew the current status in relation to the plan and the expectations for the day.

At the end of the shift, every supervisor reported the progress of his work to the planner for updating the plan before the next morning.

The leader spent most of his time on site. Other than the formal communication meeting in the morning, he went around walking and talking to the technicians at their places of work. In this way, he opened a direct line of communication with the front line. He often escorted the GM around the site. This radiated the message to every one that the GM gave due importance to this project.

Any emergent work during inspection was subjected to the same scrutiny as new work during the planning phase.

During the last week of the shutdown, I was able to report in the management meeting that the shutdown would finish one full day ahead of schedule and well within the budgeted cost.

 
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