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Top 5 Insights for a Successful Turnaround: Digital materials management

Top 5 Insights for a Successful Turnaround: Digital materials management

This is the final piece in our series exploring the top 5 insights for successful turnarounds and shutdown management, which are as follows: 

  1. Quality assure information management to avoid data loss and inaccuracy. 
  2. Make all project records transparent for full accountability of all stakeholders. 
  3. Facilitate ease of communication to clarify responsibilities and save time. 
  4. Balance competing workflow priorities to ensure safety. 
  5. Avoid unnecessary operational interruptions with optimal materials management. 

Having concluded that accurate, complete, transparent asset and project management enable accountability, communication and apt decision-making, we now shift our attention to the management of materials supply chains. Ensuring materials, equipment and other resources are in the right place, at the right time and in the right sequence is possible with digital materials management and is our final top 5 insight for successful, quality-assured, timely and on-budget turnaround execution. 

The power of digital materials management in Turnaround delivery 

Turnarounds (TARs) and shutdowns play a pivotal role in maintaining and upgrading industrial facilities. Their successful execution relies on competently navigating the oft-competing demands of operational pressures, safety, budget and resource availability. For TARs and shutdowns to Lean, it’s vital to manage materials as effectively as possible. In this era of digital transformation, digital materials management has emerged as a key strategy for optimizing TARs and shutdowns.  

Materials management can either accelerate TAR project success or hinder it. Timeline pressures abound. Being able to anticipate supply-chain delays, quality control problems or draw from existing inventory to backfill project demands is a huge asset in avoiding unnecessary but commonly occurring delays in TARs and other temporary shutdowns.  

The need to nail the finicky logistics of getting materials, equipment, and personnel to the right place, at the right time and in the right sequence cannot be understated. A seemingly simple task can quickly escalate into a supply-chain nightmare that jeopardizes the entire project delivery if a material is late, defective or erroneously located.  

 

The role of digital materials management in Turnarounds and shutdowns 

Digital materials management is a beacon of clarity amid the logistical complexity of TARs and shutdowns. Acting as a virtual warehouse, materials management software enables project managers to easily keep their fingers on the supply-chain pulse. Using software to manage materials processes, contractors and project managers gain an unparalleled advantage in optimizing workflows and minimizing operational interruptions. Here's how: 

  • Reliable materials oversight across the TAR project lifecycle and beyond: Digital systems provide a comprehensive overview of materials from fabrication through to installation and beyond. This real-time visibility prevents non-essential operational interruptions and instability during TARs. Further, the virtual warehouse can be exchanged from contractor to owner-operator for continued use throughout the asset lifecycle. 
  • Forecasting and adjustment: The ability to forecast potential problems or delays in materials is invaluable. With digital materials management, project teams can foresee challenges before they escalate. By tracking each material's journey and quality, potential bottlenecks and delays can be proactively addressed through either drawing on existing inventory or re-sequencing activities to ensure the project stays on course. This flexibility prevents unnecessary interruptions without compromising the ultimate outcome of the project. 
  • Streamlined communication and accountability: Digital materials management fosters effective communication and accountability between contractors and owner-operators. Handovers include a digital warehouse that can be used beyond the TAR project and throughout the entire Asset lifecycle. All stakeholders have access to the same updated information, which clarifies responsibilities and aligns expectations. This transparency ensures that everyone is on the same page, driving efficiency and minimizing errors. 

  

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Seamless handovers from Turnaround execution to operations 

By managing materials optimally, digital tools prevent disruptions that could compromise the integrity of ongoing operations. The continuous flow of materials ensures that the facility remains operational and productive throughout the TAR or shutdown. As TARs are temporary phases that pave the way for long-term facility functionality, the streamlined execution made possible by digital materials management doesn't just benefit the immediate project; it also facilitates a seamless handover from TAR project delivery over to operations and maintenance (O&M). 

The accurate recordkeeping inherent in digital materials management ensures that all status and specification information related to materials during TARs is readily available for future reference as well as during the project phase itself. This tidy handover of digital records eliminates bottlenecks and confusion during the handover phase, setting the stage for smooth O&M activities and happy client-contractor relations. 

 

Streamline workflows with digital Turnarounds

Executing TARs and other temporary shutdowns for routine maintenance and upgrades, or to troubleshoot unanticipated problems, demands streamlined workflows to minimize downtime and cater to the heightened demands on asset and contractor resources. Materials management is a critical workflow process that is easily transformed with the adoption of digital solutions. 

By providing reliable oversight, forecasting capabilities and streamlined communication, digital materials management optimizes TARs and shutdowns, preserving time, money and reputations. This optimization isn't just about successful project delivery, however, it's about fostering a culture of safety, transparency and collaboration. Digitalizing other workflows in parallel to materials management – including work packs and joint integrity, for example – further enhance project success during and beyond TARs. 

As industries continue to embrace the digital revolution, the role of materials management is integral to orchestrating an intricate dance that ensures project success and operational integrity. Optimal TAR efficiency is finally possible when software solutions for information management and workflows are adopted as part of a comprehensive digital transformation strategy.  

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