By James Robinson, Vice President of Business Development for Woven Metal Products
Turnaround season is just around the corner, and while planning is already underway or finished for this planned pause in production for maintenance, it’s always a good idea to look take a fresh look at your approach to this critical time.
Whether you’re managing a turnaround for an oil refinery, plant, factory or any other industrial operation that has to take things offline for yearly or biannual maintenance, turnaround season is an essential, yet painstaking process.
Here are a few tips from Woven Metal Products (WMP), a team of custom fabrication experts based in Alvin, Texas, for making turnaround season as painless as possible.
1. Get ahead of the game.
Planning in advance almost always works to your advantage. From prepping your schematics to providing your suppliers with a needed parts lists, more lead time makes for a smoother process. At WMP, its recommended that customers start taking inventory and submit turnaround orders as soon as possible. WMP can discuss what units are undergoing changes even before a specific turnaround scope is determined. WMP will also do your take-offs for you, to enable you to get accurate counts on hardware needs and other critical components, so you aren’t scrambling during installation.
2. Be a details person.
Attention to detail is critical for turnaround season. It’s essential to make sure your supplier partners have the most updated information on needed parts — not just a resubmission of last season’s order. It’s always best to err on the side of including more information, so your supplier can make sure you have all the nuts for those thousands of bolts or exactly the right tray to fit in that reactor that requires updating. Check and double check the drawings from your supplier to make sure nothing is overlooked, so you can be prepared when it’s go time.
3. Make coordination and communication a priority.
Turnaround season is a large operation for many companies, involving several parties against a ticking clock. Often, a plant manager is working with a supplier, as well as installation contractors to get the job done — and done fast. These three groups must coordinate and be in constant communication to address issues that arise on the job, so unforeseen problems or needed parts can be sent (or even manufactured) on a short deadline if needed. Keep in touch with everyone to be on the same page, so you can meet tight timeframes.
4. Find the right partners.
Turnaround season can get stressful. Make sure your supplier partner is working to understand your business and is prepared to get in the trenches with you. At WMP, we operate as a family-owned business with over 50 years’ experience. We treat all customers and contracts the same — regardless of project dollar amount or scope. We make it a point for our sales team to dive deep and understand our customers’ challenges and needs. We’re also positioned for quick, on-demand turnaround times for custom production needs. In other words, we make it a priority to be a solutions provider, not just another vendor.
5. Don’t be afraid to innovate.
Trying something different can be nerve-wracking, especially when you’re not sure how it will affect your bottom line. However, when you work with suppliers who function as business partners and not just a vendor, they may be able to spot and recommend improvements you haven’t considered. At WMP, we use our wide range of experience and customized production capabilities to routinely recommend different solutions that can make our customers’ production more efficient. If you’re open to outside expertise, you can reap the rewards via a longer run for your equipment and a better profit.
6. Take a pause — and evaluate.
After a turnaround is over, make a point to schedule a project retrospective discussion among your team, your contractors, vendors and any other third-parties involved in the project. Talk about what went well and what could go better next time. These learnings will help everyone make the next turnaround run more smoothly and prevent any recurring issues or bottlenecks from arising again.
Are you looking for a fabrication partner for your process internals needs? Get in touch with a WMP representative to get prepared for your next turnaround season at 281-331-4466 or https://wovenmetal.com/contact.