CASE STUDY

Fast-tracked refinery
maintenance intervention

Client: Poly-metallic producer
Location: South Australia
Duration: four months

Context

Our client’s refinery maintenance team identified the need to make a step change in asset performance. Urgency was underpinned by the imperatives of providing reliable equipment to support current production levels and preventing the refinery from becoming a production bottleneck in the future. Existing refinery performance was not at full capacity due to underperforming assets and frequent failures of critical equipment. A short-term intervention was needed to build the team’s base capability so they could continue to identify and implement improvement opportunities into the future.

Approach

The intervention comprised a 12-week, high-intensity, multi-faceted program to support rapid improvement. It spanned people, systems and performance, driving the start of a cultural change. Key initiatives included:

  • Reviewing supervisory practices and revising shift starts, task allocation and information transfer
  • Developing and implementing work menus for supervisors and area specialists
  • Improving the workgroup information centre content and use, introducing new methods for capturing and tracking the progress of workplace problems
  • Reviewing task preparation to ensure the right tools, parts and equipment were available and ready to start work at scheduled times
  • Reviewing the effectiveness of maintenance input into work planning and scheduling processes
  • Analysing production interface, relationship, equipment isolation and handover effectiveness
  • Facilitating a refinery maintenance improvement business planning activity
  • Reviewing and revising more than 200 area PM02 tasks regarding content and planned durations
  • Identifying and implementing performance techniques including introducing workplace standards and behaviours developed with workgroups, reorganising workshop areas using 5S Lean Manufacturing methodologies, and conducting information centre audits
  • Facilitating a cathode stripping machine (CSM) ‘Tighten, Clean, Lubricate’ (TLC) activity to demonstrate the foundational elements of Total Productive Maintenance for future improvements

Results

Physical

  • 976 resource hours saved from planned work requirements in 12 weeks alone
  • Individual maintenance tasks reduced by approx. 33% cumulatively
  • Work areas reorganised, optimising efficiency

Process

  • Less productive shift times refocused on activity preparation, improving efficiency
  • Crew handover documents streamlined
  • Daily production and maintenance meetings instituted, improving reliability

People

  • Team skills self-ratings improved – 3 points (10-point scale) for active listening and team development, and 2 points for objectives setting
  • Team culture and performance improved via standards development and coaching
  • Knowledge transfer program implemented to reinforce improvement techniques