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Lessons

  • 1. Good planning is essential; work scope definition, freezing of scope in time, etc., are all well-known principles, but are not applied rigorously.
  • 2. Eliminating unnecessary work in the first place is better than doing it faster.
  • 3. Challenging 'the way we always do things here' is the first step towards making a step change in performance.
  • 4. Managing work permit issues and setting working hours sensibly can make a huge difference to productivity and, hence, duration and cost.
  • 5. People often think that 'beating the drum faster' is the only way to get high productivity. Often, good planning and scheduling can be far more effective.
  • 6. Workers must be allowed blocks of time that match the type of work. Once they have prepared the work, there must be enough time to complete a substantial chunk of work without interruption.
  • 7. Good communication is essential for efficient execution; a single integrated plan helps communication between the main parties.
  • 8. External examination of shutdowns can reveal some practices that are not economically ideal, even in well-managed companies.
  • 9. On a personal note, I gained a lot from being an observer.

In Chapter 17, Mahen describes the principles involved in managing shutdowns efficiently. In Chapter 19, Jim has explained the shutdown business process, best practices, and related metrics. In the next chapter, I will describe a practical way of achieving improved shutdown performances.

Principles

Technical expertise is a necessary but not sufficient condition for business success. Engineers enjoy technology and are less comfortable with economics. This is one reason they have a smaller impact in the Board Room than their colleagues.

An external view can help regain focus on what really matters.

 
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