Columbus Management Group

Asset Reliability as a Key Differenciator

Asset Reliability as a Key Differenciator Implementing a Worldclass Sustained Operational Availability

Why should Industries Implement Asset Optimisation Programs? 

What is world-class sustained operational availability?

Creating unit strategiesdefining equipment criticality and developing equipment care plans to deliver the OA performance, minimizes the lost production opportunities (e.g. gross margin), increases the maintenance productivity via improved prioritization, planning and scheduling and finally optimizes maintenance costs (including third party spend challenges).

In its simplest form the maintenance efficiency program will initially target the opportunities to improve, leveraging the weaknesses in past OA performance, but also addressing future vulnerabilities. It will drive a coordinated effort which engages all levels of the organization to be part of the improvement process journey, creating are liability culture to sustain OA performance and deliver maintenance efficiencies.

The Columbus Management approach defines the reliability activities to secure operational availability performance via:

·  Unit Strategies – defining the components of both planned (2%) and unplanned (1%) element of operational availability targets, including annual allowances for TAR events, shutdowns, catalyst changes, cleaning, etc. It provides a reference document for how the asset team will operate the unit to maximize production and OA performance. The strategy will also include the contributions from domino effects of upstream and downstream units, to calculate the overall impact (both OA and Margin loss) of a shutdown of each process unit.

·    Asset teams focus the collective efforts of the support functions to be production centric: providing consistent views to prioritizing bad actors, identification of reliability threats and investment in reliability improvements. The asset team will work together to manage proactively the performance of the process units in their respective area of responsibility, whilst also minimizing the business impact of unplanned failures.

·    Performance Analysis - reporting against the unit strategy, encourages consistent decision making by the asset team in the interest of delivering OA target.  They will take ownership of performance and also for all of the events impacting and preventing achieving the OA target. The reporting function, will document the equipment causing availability events, the duration and the associated domino impacts as a consequence and the production lost opportunity.

·  Root Cause Analysis– investigating systematically all availability events exceeding 0.5% OA to determine the root cause and implement solutions to prevent or mitigate the consequences of failure. Sharing the lessons learned across the site to leverage the benefits for others. Each investigation is documented in a report, clearly defining the damage mechanism, the immediate and root causes.  These to be referenced at a later date when analyzing historical data to identify systemic issues impacting the site processes and organization.

·    Equipment Criticality defines the relative importance of equipment within the production complex; to focus efforts on vital equipment to develop maintenance care plans (via Risk Based Maintenance). Each equipment care plan will define the preventative and predictive maintenance tasks to be performed, including the estimated man/hours to execute in the field. These man/hours can be extrapolated to form the foundational element of the maintenance annual maintenance plan.        

·   Creating annual maintenance plans, based on the equipment care plans developed to support unit strategies.  Zero based budgets created to deliver base lines from which future costs challenges can be made against, including third party service costs. Historical unplanned maintenance is analyzed systematically to determine if repeat events will occur (based on probability), therefore scenario planning budgets can be developed and optimized during the following years.

·   Turnaround planning based on securing cycles and removing complexity during the event to deliver industry leading durations, via repair versus replace decision making processes.  The exercises are performed sufficiently in advance of the scheduled TAR dates to allow for investment decisions, project engineering to be performed and providing space for long lead delivery times of critical equipment replacements.

·  Vulnerability Studies performed on the priority units to identify potential failures, where the risk is high to future availability performance.  Suitable solutions are identified and tracked through to implementation.  Mitigation measure are also employed to reduce risk in the short term to manage exposure, until the final solution is implemented.

·   Asset Health Monitoring, establishing key operational performance boundaries to track in terms of process units and critical equipment (by process and discipline engineers). Each excursion is reported by exception and discussed within the asset team meetings.  Default plans created in the event of an unplanned shutdown (as a consequence of a full failure), to manage the repair or intervention in the most efficient time possible limiting the impact to availability performance.

Once the basic construct of the client’s organization is complete in terms of the asset team configuration (specifically the operation and maintenance personnel) to deliver the unit strategies; these can be focused on securing additional efficiencies via improved prioritization, planning and scheduling (PPS).  The process provides a focused approach to managing the execution of maintenance in a safe, consistent and reliable way.  By defining the workflow, the roles and responsibilities of personnel involved and setting expectations of performance the asset team can take ownership of the results.

It provides a vehicle for optimizing maintenance costs, through the various stages of executing maintenance on the site. Tracking productivity and efficient use of resources, materials and third party services in the execution of the planned maintenance activities to support the availability performance of the process units.

All of the above processes, are fully documented and integrated in to the site document management systems.  They can be implemented with complementary IT platform systems, to provide ease of data collection and reporting, including KPI tracking. It includes training and on-going support to embed the process into the way of working, whilst building capability of the workforce to manage independently.

All of the above deliverables can be performed in a sequenced approach, building incrementally on each other to provide a holistic plan of maintenance efficiency savings, based on sustained operational availability performance.


Author: Troy Hill-Anderson

Troy is an industry recognized expert in Maintenance and Reliability engineering, gained over a 40 year period.  Working for companies such as Dow Corning, Total (including a JV with Saudi Aramco called SATORP) and more recently in BP Refining & Technology. In all of his roles he has successfully lead teams to create and implement programs to improve operational availability performance; creating proven benefits, efficiencies and value to each organization.



Our website uses cookies so that you can place orders and to provide you with a better viewing experience. By continuing to use our website you agree to this, or find how to manage cookies.