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Innovative Thinking

Improving Shutdown Process

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Millions of dollars are wasted on shutdowns by companies who are not aware of the ways to develop their shutdown process.

If an employee is hurt on a machine, all of the machines must be shut down in your facility. Factory shutdowns are necessary in this case, but they are often done incorrectly. You can look at other companies having these problems and understand how to fix certain issues. The process of shutting down is a series of documents and meetings resulting in a final report that displays everything that was learned and what to do if this happens again.

All About Time

As far as the documents and reviewing what happened, this should be done 1-3 months later. The reason for this is that workers may be upset and just in general, want some time to reflect and get things straightened out. This transition goes smoothly if nobody is blamed or felt at fault for the accident. First and foremost, you are going to want to talk to contractors before they leave the site. Have them provide three things that worked and what didn’t work during the shutdown. If a neutral party retrieves the answers, it will less likely be a defensive approach.

Getting Ready

It is essential to gather all documents prior to the meetings to help refresh their minds on the accident’s details. Some of these documents include:

  • List of everyone’s jobs
  • Schedule compliance reports and minutes from compliance meetings
  • Contract documents
  • Notes from previous shutdown meetings
  • Materials used, additional comments

Conversation with the Team

A meeting must take place after the accident and there are certain points and topics that should be touched during this get-together. Mainly focus on things that don’t need to change and also things that do need to change. Some of the topics being:

  • Looking at the shutdown and seeing if it was up to standards with operation’s needs
  • What did and didn’t work
  • If shutdown policies were for the better or worse
  • What tactics helped and which ones didn’t (from cost performance to scheduling compliance)

Along with working with the team to revisit the accident or shutdown that previously happened, it is also important to work with the team to make sure that everyone involved in the shutdown is working optimally. Workers should be trained and specialized in knowing how to work through a shut down as quickly as possible and ensuring the safety of the machines.

Drafting the Report

The report should start with a one-page summary of the shutdown: the suggestions for future shutdowns, shutdown performance, etc. Segments that should be included in the body of your report should be the following:

  • Anything that worked well that should be mimicked in the future/anything that didn’t work well that should be eliminated
  • Vendor/Contractor performance
  • Logistic/Mobile issues
  • Reviewing of assignments/Resource issues

Sizes of Shutdowns

An efficient way to do shutdowns is to do them in high quantity of mini groups quite frequently. What companies don’t realize, is this is much more economic than doing a large shutdown every once in awhile because these take more time and cost more. Analysis can be done to determine the number and timing of the most optimal shutdowns. These smaller shutdowns can also catch and fix issues sooner, or atleast space out the timing of paying for these improvements.  It is important to save as much time as possible in order to minimize the cost of shutting down and the loss of production during these time periods.

If you follow all of the previously mentioned tips, you are more likely to have a successful shutdown with maximum efficiency. Talk to a Premier Automation consultant today to find out how you can improve your shutdown process with new control panels and safety features. Visit premierautomation.com to see how you can improve your current operations, or contact us to speak to an expert.

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