Anyone who has ever had the privilege to gain an insight into a turnaround project of a process plant, knows that it is kind of the supreme discipline in terms of project management and execution. To minimize production downtime, the thousands of tasks are scheduled as ambitious as possible, which typically results in enormous human resource demands and a consequential planning complexity that is unrivalled in other kinds of projects.
To avoid losing track in such a bulk of tight-scheduled work, it is crucial to perform a consistent project controlling, since only small discrepancies during the chain of execution can potentially build up enormous delays for the total project, endangering the restart of production on time. The most important performance indicators to track, once execution has kicked off, are the confirmations of actually started or conducted tasks which form the overall progress of the project. The more up-to-date this KPI can be measured, the earlier and the more purposefully the project management can react on deviations and start counter steering.
Despite their complexity, the majority of such projects still use paper as the primary tool for bringing work instructions to the field in the mornings, and getting progress back to project management in the evenings. It is only then when manual or semi-automatic (e.g. using barcodes) transfer of progress to the project planning tool starts, and it is even later when the results of this transfer create a decision basis for updating the critical path, changing work plans and modifying resource pools for the next day, hoping it’s not already too late.
Breaking New Grounds at Borealis
It was always quite like this in former Turnarounds of Borealis Polymere GmbH, Burghausen, but for this year’s turnaround of its Polypropylene production facility the company decided to break new grounds. After all, the two-year preparation period produced a bulk of 45.000 man hours to be conducted by more than 500 experts, in a plant stop window of only 5 weeks.
UBIK® was used for the very first time in such a project, serving as a work dispatching and progress reporting tool for Oracle® Primavera P6, where scheduling and project controlling was performed. The workers in the field were equipped with Tablets, providing them with their current work instructions and backlog, and also enabling them to report progress and deviations directly on site. This data was fed back to Primavera automatically, which in return produced modified work instructions that UBIK® deployed to the relevant clients in the field. External shop-floors and contractors were also involved in the process directly, reporting their work via the brand-new UBIK® WebClient.
Around 20.000 single confirmation steps were reported during the project, produced by around 70 mobile devices in online- and offline mode, as well as by the connected web clients. In contrast to previous projects, the project- and resource planning was performed constantly during the working days instead of only at night times, enabled by the continuously incoming progress updates from UBIK® – besides avoiding night shifts, this also provided a way better overview on the advancement of the works. Last but not least, an enormous amount of paper that such a project normally produces has been saved.
And, most importantly: production was restarted in time and the plant is doing again what it was built for, which is producing Ployolefins.