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A turnaround (TA) by definition is a planned, periodic event during which one

or more processing/production units are removed from service temporarily. In

the manufacturing sector, different industries use different terminologies to
connote this concept. Some use the term turnaround, some use shutdown,
while still others use the term outage. In some industries, the duration and
scope of the event determines the particular vernacular used.
Regardless of the terminology your industry uses, this event might occur
individually or in conjunction with an entire plant shutdown. The purpose of the
event typically is to perform maintenance such as equipment inspection and
repair. Its also an opportunity to replace worn out or broken process materials
and equipment that have reached their useful life. Both these activities restore
the asset bases life cycle and ensure the safe and efficient operations between
TA events. Often this work can be performed only when the
processing/production units arent in service.
Phases of a turnaround
There are five distinct phases associated with a turnaround. Each consists of key
elements that must be executed to perfection in sequential order. Its crucial to
develop formal processes for each element of each phase. If formal processes
arent in place, shortcuts tend to happen, best practices and lessons learned get
lost, and, more importantly, key steps or procedures can get skipped completely.
Phase 1: Definition/scoping
The definition/scoping phase is the foundation for a turnaround. Its in this
phase that the initial planning, scoping and organization occur. Remember, TAs
arent stand-alone events, but are high-cost, high-impact events, which represent
the execution of the company strategy over a period of many years.
Its important to build a strategy during this stage addressing how and when TAs
are to be executed. Each turnaround should have a business case to justify the
event. It should include the key drivers, such as cost reduction or overall
equipment effectiveness (OEE), that make it a necessity and link it to overall
company goals.
Senior management must view turnarounds as an important element in its
strategy and should form a steering committee consisting of upper level
managers who take responsibility for executing the long-term strategy for
turnarounds. Give a TA manager full control of the TA thru every phase so as to
develop and manage the organization and resources associated with the
turnaround. The TA manager also works with the steering committee to develop
the key performance indicators (KPIs), or a set of measures focusing on those

aspects of performance that are most critical for success. Typical KPIs for a TA
focus on safety, cost, schedule, labor hours, overtime and task completion.
During this phase you should develop the work list, a repository of every
conceivable item that should be considered for execution and populated from
every level in the organization. Some work list items are mandatory, as dictated
by corporate and regulatory entities. Others are improvement-based, as part of
an overall strategy to improve cost or market position. Still others come from
inspections conducted to improve mean time between failure (MTBF) and
equipment life cycle. Use data analysis to find items below the surface that
degrade processes.
The CMMS is the final destination or repository for items generated from the
elements on the work list. Any item submitted for the work list must go through
due diligence. The fundamental criterion for items on the work list is work that
can be performed only when the unit/process is down.Finally, develop a
preparation plan to identify the cost estimate, schedule, work list, constraints
and resources needed to execute the TA. The TA manager and the team prepares
the preparation plan and submits it to the steering committee for approval and
distribution throughout the organization.
Phase 2: Preparation
Phase 2 preparation begins immediately after the preparation plan is approved.
This phase develops plan details before TA execution. Develop environmental,
health and safety plans to promote workforce health and welfare. Develop
logistics plans for reception, storage, protection, issue and demobilization of
every item of material, equipment, services, accommodations facilities and
utilities the TA requires. Write plans for quality assurance and quality control.
Quality assurance is a program for systematically monitoring and evaluating the
various aspects of a TA task, service or equipment/material to ensure standards
of quality are being met. Quality control measures inspection, testing and
engineering, which are used to oversee and improve the quality of work
The work list developed in Phase 1 must be validated and narrowed. Develop
detailed work packages for the finalized work list. The work package includes
the job scope, number of craftsman, labor hours to execute the tasks and task
scheduling. It also includes a standard job plan, detailing the operational steps
needed to execute the tasks with precision. Safety steps, permitting, drawings
and photos are part of a detailed work package.
Some use the term turnaround, some use shutdown, while still others use
the term outage.

After completing the detailed work packages, decide which work is to be

executed with internal resources and which are to be done with external
resources. Tasks to be executed with external resources must be scoped properly
and sent out for bids. Develop plans as to how these external contractors will be
Tasks on the final work list must be thoroughly vetted for risk and contingency
plans prepared for worst case scenarios. Pre-shutdown work such as prefab,
specialty and piping, must be identified and executed. Capital project work to be
executed concurrently with the TA must be fully integrated into the plan at this
time. Once Phase 2 items are completed, you should have a final work list, a
revised schedule and a cost estimate accurate to within 10% of the allocated
budget. Once again, Phase 2 packages should be approved by the steering
committee and communicated to the organization upon their approval.
Phase 3: Execution
Execution in Phase 3 begins immediately upon equipment shutdown. You
prepared diligently in Phase 2 for the known items to be executed. While you
prepared diligently for known items to be executed, address the unknown items
that will become apparent as the TA begins. For example, scope changes or a
request to change the agreed scope and objectives that werent originally
defined to be part of the TA will arise as work begins. When developing a TA
work list, its virtually impossible to predict the things that need to be done. No
matter how good the history, or inspection process, or data analysis that can be
done early, theres no substitute for inspecting the asset base when the
equipment is down. However scope change and addon work can be costly and
affect the TA critical path. Each should be carefully scrutinized before
proceeding, and there must be a process in place to stay on schedule and at
A good deal of resources also will be dedicated to inspecting the equipment
while its down. Items will be found during these inspections and decisions need
to be made whether to execute corrective actions. As in scope changes, a
process must be in place to stay on schedule and at budget. Its a tremendous
task to manage the internal and external resources associated with a TA. The
detailed schedule prepared in Phase 2 is one of the best ways to manage
Update the schedule daily so resources assigned to items that finish early can be
shifted to items that are behind. Highlight items that can delay the overall
schedule (critical path items) and give them special attention. The TA schedule
indicates the status of each task to be executed. Its equally important to track
the cumulative affect of the TA tasks. Use the KPIs developed in Phase 1 to do

this. Items such as TA cost (actual vs. budget), planned vs. actual labor hours,
overtime labor hours, overtime percentage are examples of metrics to track TA
progress. These can be represented graphically as well. KPI information is
critical and useful as the TA comes to an end. As the majority of the TA tasks
are completed, the same number of resources is no longer required. The KPIs
are an excellent tool to determine when to downsize the workforce for
maximum cost and efficiency.
After completing each task on the schedule, testing must validate readiness to
return to operation. Testing equipment after it has been touched in some way by
turnaround activities is a critical process before startup can begin. Testing
activities might be performed by maintenance electricians or instrumentation
technicians, process control technicians, vendors or even operations personnel.
Finally, after the tasks are completed, the asset base must be returned to as good
or better state as it was before the TA.
Phase 4: Startup/turnover
Startup/turnover, the last step of the execution phase, begins after testing is
completed. A final inspection occurs when operations personnel, maintenance
and specified third parties evaluate assets for readiness for service. A hand-off to
the operations group should occur when the agreed-upon TA work has been
completed, punch-list items have been reconciled and no outstanding factors
affecting startup remain.
Hand-off is a process that ensures that outstanding matters affecting the startup
have been addressed. Startup is essentially an operational function. However, it
should be coordinated closely with the TA team to ensure proper support
resources are available.
After equipment is operational, ramp-up can begin. Ramp-up is the interval
between startup and normal operating run rates and capacities. Its an
opportunity for adjustments and to observe equipment that has been installed or
touched in some way during the TA. Ramp-up is a critical phase and the one
most apt for a failure to occur after TA work is complete. Develop the final TA
punch list when ramp-up is complete and the operation has stabilized.
The punch list is a forum for all parties associated with the TA (contractors,
maintenance, operations) to walk down the equipment one last time and
mutually agree on the items that need to be corrected. It would be ideal if all the
items on the punch list could be completed. The reality is that TA budgetary
constraints might prevent completing all items on the list, but its a good start
for the next TA.

Phase 5: Evaluation
Phase 5 begins when the tasks associated with the TA are complete.
Demobilization begins immediately following this completion and includes
activities and costs for transporting personnel, equipment and supplies not
required or included in the turnaround. This includes the disassembly, removal
and site clean up of offices, buildings and other facilities assembled on the site
specifically for this TA. Review Any TA activity that varies significantly in cost,
schedule or technical performance using formal root cause analysis (RCA)
Conduct a post-mortem meeting to review the turnaround in its entirety. The
agenda should include EHS review, KPIs/metrics, cost, schedule, punch lists,
contractor management, shutdown/startup/ramp-up, critical path and major
tasks review and best practices/lessons learned. A best practice is a technique,
method, process or activity regarded as more effective at delivering a particular
outcome than any other technique, method or process. The idea is that with
proper systems, processes, checks and testing, a desired outcome can be
delivered consistently with fewer problems and unforeseen complications.
At the end of Phase 5, reconcile the outage costs. Close or cancel purchase
orders, work orders and service contracts. Apply any vendor/supplier/storeroom
credits for returned materials and equipment. Log returned quantities in CMMS
for future planning purposes. Apply the credited amount to the overall outage
cost in the respective area. Write a financial report that details costs associated
with the outage, broken down by category labor, materials, parts so actual
numbers can be compared to plan. This provides the opportunity to analyze cost
horizontally and vertically across the system.
Conduct a final audit to assess the performance of each element in each phase of
the TA process. Once completed, prepare a final report summarizing every
phase of the turnaround. This document should be the basis for updating the
turnaround strategy and the developing a business case for the next TA. In
addition, review major equipment availability and performance before the next
outage as a measure of the effectiveness of the previous outage. Typical general
topics covered in the turnaround report include safety, quality, logistics, work
scope, financial, TA metrics, contractor performance, organization and TA
A turnaround can be an overwhelming undertaking if managed as a single,
stand-alone event. However, if the event is broken down into various phases
with detailed, formal processes in each phase, it can be managed successfully
each and every time. Consistency and repeatability are key in managing a longterm TA strategy. Resources are constantly on the move. Its not reasonable to

assume that the same TA team that managed last years event successfully will
be available for next years TA. However, with good detailed processes in place,
the effect of turnover can be minimized substantially.