Continuous Improvement Networking
The effectiveness of internal corporate and technical networks varies widely across the industry, and uniquely, CruzAlta is positioned to help in this space. From introducing and describing industry practices to facilitating and actively participating, adding CruzAlta to your internal network (either full-time or ad-hoc) will introduce new thinking, a different perspective, and immediate access to other relevant practices.
CruzAlta’s Preparedness Evaluation (CAPE)
Assessing the readiness of a turnaround is a common industry practice, and owners have many options for exercising this program. The success of these options varies widely, but they all have one common shortcoming: the inability to provide an in-depth assessment of operations readiness. This is where CruzAlta’s CAPE methodology is different. It includes a fully integrated deep dive into the bookend readiness (shutdown and startup). CruzAlta’s CAPE program intersects with turnaround preparations 3 to 4 times (depending on complexity) and is executed by seasoned industry consultants who have managed plants and turnarounds as owners and understand the necessity of fully understood gap closure action plans. Oftentimes, clients leverage our turnaround and operations coaches to address gaps and capture opportunities identified during these workshops.
Turnaround Operations Readiness Assistance
Laser-focused on the turnaround “bookends” (shutdown and startup), this deep dive into the turnaround operations plan is designed to evaluate all elements required to be operationally ready to execute a successful turnaround. During these 2- to 3-day workshops, CruzAlta will interact with the Turnaround Operations team, Plant Operations teams, functional experts, the Turnaround management organization, and site leadership to:
- Review the TA strategies and plans that make up the Operations TA Plan,
- Assess Operations alignment and integration with TA execution strategies and plans,
- Evaluate the Operations team’s capability to deliver the TA plan, and
- Ensure that the organization has an effective process for transitioning from a planning and optimization framework to an execution mindset.
Operations turnaround planning has typically been carried out by one of the most experienced and competent operations persons on the team. Historically, these operators have leveraged their past experiences and learnings to put together the plans for the team’s events. But what happens when you don’t have that person available, and you must lean on one of your junior operators to complete these tasks? This is when your site can be at risk of missing key steps during the planning process. CruzAlta brings in senior operations resources who have planned and executed numerous turnarounds over their extensive careers to sit alongside your junior team members and become a dedicated mentor and coach for everything needed to properly plan the operations steps of the turnaround. These engagements are typically done by spending a full week at the site once a month to assist the team with the assigned tasks. Then, any follow-up questions can be handled remotely in between the site visits. Engaging this level of expertise on your operations turnaround plan not only ensures your site will be prepared, but more importantly, it will help develop your next generation of operations turnaround planners.
Since inception, one of our most requested services is TA Management Coaching. The most common feedback from clients is the ease of leveraging the deep experience of our people as part-time “surgical” additions to their team. CruzAlta’s TA Management consultants, who have planned, executed, and managed several TAs, bring a wealth of deep, practical, relevant experience that will integrate well with the site’s culture and the personnel.
A few weeks per month, our coaches work closely with the site TA Team, but also interface regularly with other site functions and with site leadership. In addition to providing real-time coaching and guidance on specific TA challenges, this experience augmentation approach is also designed to build capability within the site organization, facilitate and engage in the TA preparation, and help the site achieve a state of sustained performance. CruzAlta’s TA coaches organically engage in all elements of TA preparation and execution, including Long Range Planning, Organization Planning, TA Premise Scope Management, Controls, Work Planning and Scheduling, Operations Preparations, Contracting, Procurement, Technical support, Project Integration, EHS Plans, Assurance, Past TA Lessons, Risk Management, Constructability reviews, scope and execution challenges, Logistics, etc.
Turnaround Strategy and Steering Team Enablement
Without exception, the state of turnaround readiness and overall level of site engagement in TA preparations is a function of the effectiveness of site leadership. Only after the site’s goals are specifically defined by senior site leadership can they empower the mid-level leadership team to drive turnaround preparations, in concert with flawlessly operating the facility.
Based on the premise of “What’s important to my boss is fascinating to me,” CruzAlta’s TA Leadership enablement methodology starts with a kickoff workshop where CruzAlta’s TA Management consultants lay the groundwork and define expectations for the TA Strategy and Steering Teams, clarify the shared mission and establish a healthy rhythm of engagement and performance. Utilizing the concept of “glass silos,” we work with each team on their unique purpose, help them understand leadership expectations, and provide practical instruction for how to fulfill their critical role as a team AND as individual team members. This sets up our TA Management coaching to work in real-time to operationalize the team and coach them through the journey of becoming effective TA Steering and Strategy Teams.
Process Facilities Management & Design
Most plants are not designed to efficiently shutdown in today’s environmental climate. As a result, to achieve competitive turnaround durations, most shutdowns employ some combination of temporary facilities to adequately deinventory and decontaminate equipment. CruzAlta’s consultants can leverage experience from executing more than 150 turnarounds each year to design innovative temporary mechanical facilities solutions that will expeditiously process the streams to the correct closed system, while satisfying new and changing environmental regulations.
Turnaround Shutdown and Startup Optimization
Optimizing the Shutdown and Startup plan is a key component to reducing the overall turnaround duration. CruzAlta can help your team identify what the true constraints are in your Shutdown and Startup plans. Typically, this comes back to the operations manpower available for these events. Our team can show you how to leverage outside resources to augment your team, as well as resource load your operations schedule to ensure your resource plan is adequate to deliver your shutdown and startup commitments.
Project Commissioning and Startup Delivery
Many industry turnarounds are not successful because they fail to develop an optimized, yet flexible, commissioning and startup plan. CruzAlta will work closely with lead operations and technical teams to establish a challenged Commissioning and Startup (“CSU”) Strategy up to nine months prior to feed out. With this foundation, in a part-time role over the course of the next several months, CruzAlta will assist the team with startup deliverable completion and contingency planning and ultimately establish a comprehensive and adaptable CSU program.
Turnaround Operations Coordination and Field Advisory
Engaged leadership and guidance is invaluable during the execution of a turnaround. However, many industry turnarounds do not have the capability or headcount to staff a senior advisory role focused specifically on the turnaround bookends. CruzAlta can provide seasoned operations experts to guide these critical phases as follows:
- CruzAlta operates as an independent, but highly invested, advisor to TA operations leads and coordinators to guide and adjust the shutdown phase in real time; and
- To enable a seamless transition from the end of the mechanical phase, CruzAlta turnaround operations specialists proactively identify pre-commissioning opportunities and mitigate startup threats as a complement to the TA operations team.
New Facility Design Review
Optimizing the new facility design to include all necessary accommodations for abnormal operations will ensure environmental compliance with a minimal duration of shutdown and startup. Details such as the inclusion of rundown coolers, blowdown drums, flexible process flow, size and location of vent piping, drains, and utility tie-ins are critical, and CruzAlta can provide value-added input early in the design phase that is based on executing more than 150 turnaround events each year in all types of refinery units.
Turnaround Work Process Mapping
The preparation phase of a turnaround can be described as the coordinated completion of numerous sequential deliverables by the entire site organization. Over time, these deliverables and their subordinate activities have been mapped into a highly complex matrix of tasks that end up consuming an organization, often becoming an administrative burden versus a value-added process. CruzAlta’s consultants will apply value stream improvement methodology to boil this complicated web of administrivia down to a meaningful set of deliverables that rethink and reframe the workflow to eliminate the waste and focus on reducing the variation of the value-added tasks — each with a well-understood definition of content that builds upon each other to establish the foundation for execution.
Equipment Validation & Gas Testing
The focus of this technical service enables the shutdown to be executed in a condition-based (vs. time-based) approach. CruzAlta’s validation team uses portable gas chromatograph technology to precisely determine procedural inflection steps and provide a proven tool to identify contamination source locations and other anomalies that often delay handing over clean equipment to the mechanical team on schedule. Read more about equipment validation here.
Shutdown Performance Benchmarking
Following the tracking of shutdown execution and capturing accurate actual timelines, CruzAlta will perform data analytics and produce a set of performance benchmarks for the shutdown. These benchmarks will provide visibility into the details of shutdown performance as compared to the industry. CruzAlta’s comprehensive database of shutdown timelines is the referenced dataset. In addition to predictability and competitiveness, the benchmarks compare details of the performance by shutdown stage and each individual decontamination task and provide quantitative insights into the frequency and duration of shutdown delay causes.
Our consulting team will come alongside you to develop a roadmap for operational excellence based on proven practices and expertise.