How Operational Readiness Stops the Destruction of Value

Jul 12, 2019 11:25:13 AM

Poor operational readiness destroys more value than almost any other aspect of project management. Don’t let it happen to your business. 

By James Owen 

In almost every asset procurement or construction project, there’s a gap between the expected performance of an asset and its actual performance (see below). We see this gap appear during commissioning, through ramp up, and continue into steady-state operation. 

In Bluefield’s experience, this erosion of value has many causes: 

  • No maintenance strategy 
  • No life cycle plans for the equipment 
  • Lack of asset information 
  • Poor master data 
  • People don’t understand the equipment 
  • No parts 
  • No tooling 
  • Lack of technical skills 
  • People don’t ‘own’ the equipment 

Operational readiness is about minimising this gap. It ensures the asset management plans and preventative maintenance strategies are prepared before the equipment goes into operations. Bluefield believes that it should start at day zero of a project. We’ve also learned that it’s important to identify the budget and ensure you allow the budget provisions in your project to support the operation readiness work.  

Bluefield’s Approach to Operational Readiness 

Bluefield’s operational readiness approach (below) applies to all project phases and continues beyond Day 1 of operation. The model includes five phases: 

Five Phases

Concept Phase 

This phase involves identifying and allowing the budget provision for items such as the development of strategies, plans, spare parts, tools and support. The next step involves putting the budget into action, having the right philosophies, and deciding how to execute your operational readiness.  

Pre-Feasibility Phase

The main objective of this phase is to develop operational readiness philosophies and plans in accordance with the client's maintenance standards. After doing so, an equipment application review and support capability review will be done to ensure the equipment is right for the application. It is important to be specific about the budget estimates to ensure there is enough for spares, tooling, infrastructure and support, operational design and human resources.  

Feasibility Phase 

This phase goes into more detail on the Pre-Feasibility Phase, specifically it’s understanding how to support the infrastructure and the assets that you are purchasing. It is vital to have a clear plan that is written in the contract detailing how the life of the asset will be supported. 

It is recommended to develop a HR Management Plan to consider attributes such as training, skills, development, and the competency of both the maintainers operators and local resources. This is also the point where you develop maintenance strategies and asset management plans.   

Execution Phase 

This phase focuses on transitioning to operations and suggests that during commissioning, the operational readiness team ensures that the conditioning and operational readiness handover is the same.  

Operations Phase 

This is when all this planning comes into action. It is important to continually improve these phases and once the project is closed, review it to determine what can be done better in the future.  

Implementing Operational Readiness is easier said than done. We’ve written another article here summarising our lessons from recent projects. 

James has also written and filmed videos about Materials Management. View them here.