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Don’t Start Up In a Bad Way: Five Ways to Limit the Creation of a Reactive Culture in New Facility Startup.

New facilities by nature can be reactive. Reactive behavior when it comes to reliability and maintenance is expensive. Our goal should be to be proactive in identifying risk and mitigating or eliminating it before we have to react. When you bring a new plant online there are many things that can drive the culture to be reactive. I have listed a few below:

  • Poor start up planning and procedures
  • The presence of excessive amounts of infant mortality type failure modes
  • Equipment delivery delays
  • Stocking of incorrect spare parts
  • EPC contractor ineffectiveness
  • EPC contract language that does not insure correct function of the assets
  • No existing culture in the new facility while there is an influx of new employees from different cultures including other highly reactive companies.

With all of these reasons as well as others, it is no wonder that green field sites find themselves working to overcome a reactive culture, low production rates, and high cost. In order to limit the creation of this situation I have listed five way to turn the tide in favor of a proactive culture.

  1. Start early creating the business processes which will help to create the new culture. When you on board new associates being able to show them how work will be done and train them in the use of proactive tools is critical. This will allow them to change their existing paradigms where required and give you a head start on the culture that is required for maximum return on investment.
  2. Build the business processes based off of the best facilities in the world not just the best facilities in your division or company. Reach out with your early hire team and benchmark with an eye on being the best in the world within the constraints of your facilities business case.
  3. Create failure mode based maintenance strategies using the equipment vendors, EPC, associates as they are brought on board, the operating context specific to your facility, and tools like RAM, RCM, and FMEA. If this step is done correctly then it will reduce spare parts stocking levels, equipment failures, and poor procedures which will increase early production and profitability.
  4. Budget for new associates to visit sister plants if they exist. The goal here is to ensure that they can have open dialogue with others who live with the assets on a daily basis. They should be looking to get hands on training, learn common problems, identify changes that have been made since start-up of the assets as well as other tidbits that will facilitate their site producing record tonnage the first year.
  5. Fully populate your EAM or CMMS from the start with all of the assets, spare parts, drawings, and failure codes as provided by the vendors per your contractual request.

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