Ops Readiness

Lessons Learned: Operational Readiness

At the completion of any project it is always good practice to capture learning, from good and bad experiences, in order to continue to improve future projects.  

By James Owen 

In our recent article on Operational Readiness, we outlined the basic process that Bluefield follows. At the completion of any project it is always good practice to capture learning, from good and bad experiences, in order to continue to improve future projects.  

 A review of our recent Asset Management operational readiness projects unearthed five key learnings: 

 Lesson One – Start operational readiness from day zero 

  • Start Operational Readiness at the project concept phase and continue through pre-feasibility, feasibility and execution. 
  • When planning to take the operations team through a set of Operational Readiness workshops, it is critical to plan these to occur over a period of time, including 6 to 12 months into operations.  
  • Cost savings come from including an asset management viewpoint during tendering and contract award. 
  • Start to develop asset management strategies early and use these to improve your whole of life cost. 
  • Be sure to include high value capital and insurance spares in project supply contracts 
  • Ensure you clearly define contract deliverables to support the Operational Readiness process to avoid being at the mercy of uninterested vendors. 

Lesson Two – Drawings: The Best Source of Spares Information 

  • During a recent project, we dealt with more than 190,000 drawings, manuals, lists, specifications, data sheets, vendor drawings, etc. 
  • Vendor recommended spares lists were almost always incomplete, inaccurate or insufficient to identify where, how and why the spare was required – they added little value. 
  • Drawings are the best source of spares information – drawing standards should be specified in contracts and carefully managed for quality. 
  • Information from good quality drawings can be quickly and efficiently read and analysed if they are quality, complete and compiled correctly. 

Lesson Three – Use a single database for all asset information 

  • It’s critical to provide interconnectivity between the various information sources; it maximizes the value of information handed over to the Operations & Maintenance teams. 
  • Link all project information such as drawings, specifications, datasheets, material requisitions, etc. to the asset for which they belong. 
  • Link Operational Readiness documents directly to the asset they relate to, enabling Operational Readiness work to be planned, coordinated and controlled more efficiently and gives greater transparency over the entire process   

Lesson Four – Channel and filter master data before it reaches your ERP/CMMS 

  • The volume of project information, and number of people involved getting data ready for your ERP/CMMS, makes the system vulnerable to data quality deficits which can take years to fix (if ever). 
  • It is improved by having master data collated and analysed in a single database before it is loaded into the ERP. 
  • This helps enhance and enrich the data and allows duplicates, human errors, missing data sets and changes to be easily carried out. 
  • Linking this back to a single database for asset information allows further computational analysis to reveal patterns, trends, and associations that otherwise may not be realized. 

Lesson Five – Allow for 12-18 months validation after start-up 

  • Include in your project plan at least 12-18 months of ongoing support by the Operational Readiness team after start-up. 
  • This process not only improves the accuracy of the OR work, but goes a long way to ensuring the operations accept and own the decisions that are made along the path and often well before they become involved. 
  • Validation should start during construction and commissioning – for example, conduct walk-downs and capture OEM information when vendor goods arrive. 
  • Onsite validation involves checking strategies, maintenance plans, resource levels, processes, tooling and spares, on the job, with the people doing the work. 

Following these lessons drives the following outcomes 

  • Collectively start early and at a time when you have commercial leverage over equipment suppliers. 
  • Evoke more advice in the formative stages of the project on the value in rationalizing components and reducing spares holdings. 
  • Use capital purchase contracts for expensive long lead spares. 
  • Maintenance strategies used to support decision making around risk, rotable vs. repair in-situ logic, stocking strategy, supply agreements, maintenance readiness, etc. 
  • Ensure transparency on progress and better determine your Operational Readiness cost forecast. 

James has written similar articles about materials management and critical spares analysis.  Read one here. 

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