Major cost items come in three flavours – capital investments, catastrophic failures and deliberate plant shutdowns. The first is subject to intense scrutiny/justification and, with the exception of the patchy adoption of Life Cycle Costing, is pretty much understood. We are trying desperately to avoid the catastrophic events – and have been grappling with systematic and quantitative analysis methods for many years (HAZOP, QRA techniques, Risk-Based Inspection etc).
The third area, that of planned shutdowns, is still an enigma for many organisations. Much effort has gone into the efficient planning and delivery of the work involved, but relatively little guidance exists for determining what work is worth doing in the first place, and how this should be clustered into appropriate packages to share shutdown opportunities. A surprising number of organisations (particularly in the utilities and service areas of operation) still do not even know how much a shutdown costs them.
This paper is about shutdowns and describes some recent advances in quantitative evaluation of shutdown programmes. It looks at the bundling of tasks – the logistics of delaying some activities to coincide with others, and the compromise economics of shared downtime costs versus the performance and risk impact of premature or deferred work. It is illustrated by three case studies, taken from different industries.
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