01 Aug 2019

The Secret to Achieving Operating Excellence

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What is the best plan to increase plant productivity and decrease downtime?

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Operating excellence is the name of the game for many refineries and petrochemical plants. It comes armed with a number of benefits that spread to every corner of the workspace, creating happy employees, tighter processes, and an all-round better way to run things. 

What is Operating Excellence?

Operating excellence comes from exerting operational discipline which, at its core, is the continued commitment by everyone on site to comply with all processes, systems, and solutions. 

Getting to a point of excellence means working from the ground up and putting programs in place that help employees carry out each task in the right way regardless of any tight, looming deadlines. 

Think about it: what happens if one department slips up and delays an important process? Or what if one member of the team lets everyone else down by failing to perform their assigned task properly? Even something as simple as this can really set back production and cost you huge amounts of time and revenue. 

But what does operational discipline look like in practice? 

It’s all about requiring employees to take pre-startup reviews, getting maintenance staff to perform every necessary step in equipment isolation (no shortcuts allowed!), and asking business management to provide clear and achievable timings and budgets for training. 

Here’s the thing, though: operating excellence can’t be forced. 

By making staff abide by operational discipline rules, you’re already going against what it really means. The very strength of it lies in personal commitment and personal discipline that must come internally from every member of the team. 

And, as you can imagine, this doesn’t (and can’t) happen overnight. In order to get the best results, it has to become an integral part of the work environment. When you can do that, you’ll start to see fantastic rewards while keeping your business and staff healthy and happy. 

What Does Operational Excellence Look Like?

Refineries that have implemented and achieved the status of operational excellence have done four key things: 

  1. Encouraged management to take a more active role in day-to-day activities in order to lead by example and keep active lines of communication open throughout the entire organization.
  2. Kept employees highly motivated, especially when it comes to safety efforts. They are encouraged to share values and demonstrate a strong sense of teamwork. 
  3. Banned all shortcuts. Managers, supervisors, and staff must all practice consistent procedures and make sure documentation is always up to date. 
  4. Ensured housekeeping levels are kept exceptionally high to allow personnel to take ownership of their roles and take pride in everything they do. 

Providing the tools and resources your refinery needs to keep all members of staff happy, healthy, and performing well can do wonders for your business, from speeding up production with tight, consistent processes, to encouraging personal growth that bleeds out into the rest of your site.

Start making steps towards operational excellence with our free on-demand webinar: What is the best plan to increase plant productivity and decrease downtime?

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