Commercial manufacturing facilities and industrial plants are wise to incorporate turnaround services into their master business plan and budget. Although inconvenient, routine equipment maintenance is vital to continued, efficient production. While most minor maintenance work can be conducted while a plant remains in operation, a scheduled production outage is necessary for more complex maintenance. During this time, companies take a large hit to their productivity and profitability. Turnaround services can be expensive. However, an unscheduled outage can be up to 10 times more expensive. Avoid a catastrophic failure by developing a turnaround management process and long-term strategy. |
Develop an Outage Schedule
Facility owners should develop a long-term outage schedule, which should be incorporated in their master business plan. This schedule should recognize several phases of downtime, including planning, organizing, execution, and completion. Don't let turnaround services surprise your accountant. Make sure they are worked into the budget from the start of the year. Of course, as with all business processes, a proper record should be kept for future reference.
Make the Most of a Scheduled Outage
This is an opportunity to make significant changes to equipment, structures, and job procedures. In order to make the most of this downtime in production, a process should be established to control and justify these changes and costs. If you are prepared for this downtime, you can think of it as effective to the overall success of the company, rather than entirely detrimental.
Don't Leave Any Departments in the Dark
A facility outage affects the entire company, not just the production line. When planning and scheduling these events, it's important to get input from all departments, including marketing and sales, accounting, maintenance, operations, and engineering. Variables such as warranties, insurance, and market conditions should also be considered when planning these major events.
Alternative Short-Duration Outages
It may be a good idea to also consider incorporating short-duration downtime as a means to lengthen the period of time between major outages. If you can afford to do so, incremental short-term outages can be less intrusive to business as usual, while making gradual steps towards a plant's comprehensive maintenance needs. If, as recommended, a plant has developed a turnaround procedure, company workers can conduct the work that was originally planned for them to conduct during a major outage.
While plant downtime can be a major impediment to production goals and profit margins, it is necessary for the overall continued productivity of the company and its machines. An unexpected outage can be catastrophic to a business. Don't be caught off guard. Be sure to have a plan in place to make the most of, and not be sideswiped by inevitable downtime in production.
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