Optimized Scheduling and Real-Time Mobility = Improved Oil Refinery Productivity
Author: Steve Smith, Senior Director of Solution Consulting
Finding ways to increase oil refinery employee productivity—also known as wrench time—and reduce maintenance backlogs while maintaining safety are never-ending endeavors. But increasing the wrench time of maintenance and operations employees is well worth the effort. Doing so helps managers ensure refinery systems perform optimally, prevent unplanned outages, and operate safely.
Unfortunately, attempts to optimize maintenance and operations crew schedules in the face of complex and difficult factors within a refinery operation have not been as successful as is the case with other industries. Wrench time rates at refineries often run as low as 20%.1
Some operators accept this as a cost of doing business that can’t be mitigated while others attempt to improve wrench time by adapting and improving their Enterprise Asset Management system. But the technology behind these solutions is simply not designed for optimizing workforce shifts and schedules—especially in real-time.
To address the wrench time challenge, ClickSoftware recommends a three-phased approach. Each can be deployed separately according to current needs, workloads and budgetary allowances:
- Optimized Rostering (Shift Planning)
- Schedule Optimization
The first two phases automate the rostering and scheduling functions and can facilitate higher workforce utilization rates. Mobility makes information available to employees at their fingertips and allows for more accurate feedback information. Whether deploying just one, two or all three phases, oil refineries benefit from higher employee productivity rates that reduce maintenance back logs and lead to higher system performance, increased output, and safer conditions. And when integrating all three phases with each other as well as with an existing Enterprise Asset Management solution (such as SAP), oil refineries can experience the fullest extent of these benefits—achieving more work with the same workforce resources.
To find out more about this three-phased approach, we invite you to download our latest research: Employee Productivity Improvement Strategies in Oil Refinery Environments. We take you through each phase and show you how your workforce managers gain the ability to react quickly and effectively to changing conditions such as missing parts, workers out sick, permit issues, and conditions-for-work that are not in proper order.
By increasing productivity and operational efficiency, oil refinery managers can keep the plant running smoothly, reduce maintenance backlogs, avoid unplanned outages, and extend the intervals between turnarounds as well as the duration of outages so that the business enjoys higher levels of profitability as well as reduced maintenance backlogs and increased safety compliance.
1. Smith, Ricky (CMRP). 2011. Planning and Scheduling is Crazy. Oil & Gas Journal. 22 February