Situation

Realising that we first needed to help facilitate the massive Computerised Maintenance Management System (CMMS) change effort and assist in the contingency planning and execution, we temporarily postponed the assessment phase. From the start, we became conduits of information in a culture that did not communicate problems, but just accepted them as normal. Typically, when work orders failed to flow through the system, the crafts people simply had no work to do. Our contingency plans allowed them to accomplish meaningful work until the bugs in the software could be worked out. We also monitored the work flow bubble and facilitated the necessary corrections in SAP routing.

When the SAP changeover was stabilised, and we were out of firefighting mode, we stepped back into the assessment phase.

Findings

Work practices for maintenance had been in place for years, but many of the organisational disciplines had eroded over time. The acquisition of a refinery across the street (literally), complete with its poor work practices, exacerbated the problems.

Actions

We put together cross-functional teams to design, roll-out and train on the updated work practices. Focusing on the basics of maintenance (work identification, planning, scheduling and execution), the design teams detailed the work flow, developed RACIs, documented procedures and conducted the training. A team was also formed to develop KPIs for each phase of work management.

Results

The RACIs that were developed made it very clear who was expected to do which tasks, which was a critical step in addressing our client’s accountability-averse culture. Previous to the documentation and communication of the RACIs, people would often pick and choose what they wanted to do, leaving others to pick up the slack. However, once the RACIs were detailed in black and white, and no longer open to interpretation, the workforce readily embraced the structure they provided.

Maintenance work scheduling took a huge leap forward. Prior to our arrival, they had a frozen five-day schedule that would melt before Monday. Their weekly schedule compliance was well below 25 percent, but upon our departure, they were routinely above 85 percent. They had gone from being the Corporate Zero to Corporate Hero.

Through behavioural change, the Operations Superintendents, who were once the biggest violators of the schedule, are now the biggest defenders, reducing schedule breakers from over 85 percent to less than 15 percent.

By instituting a daily scheduling process for the maintenance supervisors, we ensured that 100 percent of available manpower was scheduled. The associated daily scheduling metrics were now accurate, demonstrating that the department was fully capable of executing routine maintenance, with compliance above 70 percent after the first quarter of use.

Based on this effort, the Denver refinery has made great strides in improving its maintenance metrics, which have received high visibility across the corporation.