Turnarounds and Plant Maintenance Measuring the Standstill: How to Use KPIs and Benchmarks in Plant Turnarounds?

Author / Editor: Dominik Stephan* / Dominik Stephan

KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) and benchmarks for turnarounds and plant shutdowns? — Not only the operation but also the revision of large-scale plants is under enormous profitability pressure. Outstanding work amounts and delays can easily add up to several millions in terms of costs. Making a plant turnaround measurable is, however, by no means an easy task.

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Faster, higher, forward  —wherever you look, time is money — and speed is king. Stopwatches and speedometers are pacemakers of time, which is always on the run. This trend does not stop at turnarounds — but does it allow measuring the shutdown?

A Close-Up on Process Plant Turnarounds
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Obviously, project management processes have found their way even into plant revision management. With a defined scope as well as a precise setting of milestones and scheduling, planning has become the key success factor for revision projects. With the help of one such turnaround-roadmap, it is possible to identify the “critical path” and possible obstacles before starting the actual work.

The Turnaround Speedo

In case a roadmap is not enough, a turnaround-speedometer is needed. Therefore, engineers and project leaders are interested in performance indicators like the Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) which should make the economic success measurable. “Where do I stand today?” or “How do I perform with respect to comparable projects?” — Stephan Vogel, Management consultant for Industrial maintenance at TA Cook is aware that these are the typical questions faced each day by those responsible for turnaround.

“Therefore, many companies are continiously under-performing”, explained Vogel. “Companies often search for too many performance indicators at a time and want to implement them all simultaneously — from zero to a hundred so to say.“ A plan, which is seldom successful. If somebody wants to implement KPIs, one must have a clear goal in sight: What is being measured? Where should the transparency develop? And — last but not the least — in which areas does a company want to improve?

Speed and a successful project completion are not always the decisive competitive edge. Especially industry service providers and engineers should look closely during service as well. Not only the quality but also the project costs, response time or technical failures are the characteristic measured values of the maintenance. Thereby, by no means are all KPIs monetary, hence expressed in Euro or Dollar: Turnaround-experts are aware of three different categories of KPIs in total: economical, technical and organizational. “Composite” performance indicators like degree of maturity of an organization can also be derived from it.

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