Maintenance and Plant Shutdown and Turnaround Management Performance Monitoring

Useful maintenance shutdown and turnaround performance monitoring requires a spread of both trending and predictive measures and indicators covering all phases of the shutdown

Everyone wants their maintenance shutdown or plant turnaround to go well. To know the likelihood of a successful plant shutdown you need to monitor the work put into its preparation and not only what happens in the shutdown


Dear Mike,

I work with an Oil and Gas company in the Middle East and am currently trying to arrive at some KPI’s for managing an upcoming Plant Turnaround. Request you to please give me some guidance on this, so that I can arrive at some meaningful turnaround performance measures. Basically, I have broadly classified the KPI categories into HSE, Cost, Quality, Schedule and Efficiency. Your advice would help me a great deal.

Many thanks in advance



Dear Girish,

The first thing I would ask you to do is give me the comprehensive and exhaustive shutdown and turnaround procedure you will follow. I would expect to see a substantial document of many pages in which every possible detail and decision needed to run your turnaround effectively and efficiently are specified. The shutdown procedure would have content that fully described and explained well enough for knowledgeable people to understand all that must be done in your shutdowns and turnarounds, along with how to do those tasks right. I’d then look for the fully detailed and complete shutdown and turnaround process flowcharts. With such flowcharts you can generate any required shutdown and turnaround key performance indicator (KPI).

To get an idea of when you need performance measures and what type to use take a close look at each step in your shutdown process flowchart. For each step ask yourself “what can go wrong?” or “what needs to go right?” The severity of the impact of your answers on the shutdown goals will indicate if it needs to be monitored.

There are the standard shutdown and turnaround key performance indicators you have already listed related to meeting cost, safety, quality, time and resource management aims. The most important of those are health, safety, environmental (HSE) and quality. Poor HSE performance that allows harm to persons or the environment is unacceptable. Poor quality workmanship impacts the reliability of all future production. Being overspent is unfortunate but that is not deadly to people or production—though it is a very good indicator of poor planning and preparation. Shutdown and turnaround work delays and job inefficiencies are good indicators of poor project management practice, inappropriate scheduling and inadequate coordination of resources.

You should also include two shutdown and turnaround KPI’s now used by many organizations: ‘True Shutdown Duration’, being the total time taken from the second product feed-out starts to the second the product is stably back-on-grade; and ‘Length of Interval Between Shutdowns’, being the planned time between one shutdown to the next shutdown. True Shutdown Duration reflects the degree of preparation, coordination and cooperation between the plant and equipment owners and the groups responsible for the shutdown and turnaround. Length of Interval Between Shutdowns is an indicator of work quality and should be increasing because the quality of work and the fineness of engineering done on each shutdown affects how long production plant can run between planned turnaround outages.

Unfortunately the KPI’s above are all historic indicators presented well after the passage of the events that control them. They can only tell you how well a shutdown and turnaround was done. They are not useful during the lead-up work stages needed to prepare, manage, coordinate and control a shutdown or turnaround. To measure the execution of lead-up activities you need performance indicators to forecast the ability of a shutdown or turnaround to meet cost, safety, quality, time and resource management aims. These forecast-of-performance indicators will be used regularly during the turnaround planning and preparation phases. You can include various ‘readiness indicators’ for monitoring and reviewing progress of shutdown planning, preparation, procurement and supply chain delivery. The traditional ‘S curve’ used to monitor a shutdown’s progress against the baseline plan is also useful in many situations for monitoring the preparation and procurement activities for a shutdown against the required progress.

The type of shutdown preparation monitoring to keep your eye on include:

  • identification and procurement of long-lead items and services
  • access to enough persons with suitable skills to do all the shutdown planning and preparation work to a high quality
  • identification of enough persons with suitable skills to do all the shutdown work orders to a high quality
  • full details in all work orders, while having simple and unmistakable content
  • job task quality assurance and proof tests of the work quality where future equipment reliability is important to production
  • access to persons with suitable skills to do the job scheduling and coordination of resources to complete shutdown work orders on time
  • the extent and depth of understanding of the necessary requirements transferred to stakeholders, such as contractors, production, regulators, etc.
  • purchased parts and materials store management, including protection against loss and damage

It’s most practical to develop checklists of the decisions you need to make in selecting shutdown and turnaround performance monitoring measures and add them to your shutdown procedure with a good explanation so others can use them to stop mistakes and save time in future plant turnarounds.

Let me know if you have further questions.


All the best to you,

Mike Sondalini
Managing Director
Lifetime Reliability Solutions HQ


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