An annual facility shutdown is an important time for every manufacturer. Businesses may view this season as a routine part of their year. However, certain steps are easy to forget either in the preparation of or during a shutdown. Some management may even fail to see the importance of certain tasks. Read on to learn about these potential problems and how to prevent them to ensure you have a better shutdown season.
1. Lack of Manpower Planning
One of the most overlooked aspects of planning for a shutdown is identifying the manpower needed to achieve the goals you’ve set. Too often facilities are left scrambling at the last minute to find their manpower. This is caused by poor or inadequate planning or from changes in scope at the last minute. Either way, failing to secure the needed manpower well in advance can lead to significant delays.
Begin planning your shutdown well in advance by identifying manpower needs from the start. We even recommend shutdown teams over-estimate their manpower needs to have a buffer for those potential changes. Since most regions and facilities have shutdowns around the same time of year, you should also recruit and sign your contractors and third parties as early as possible before other companies do; otherwise you may not be able to secure the labor you want or need.
2. Poor Oversight of Vendors and Supplies
The time it takes to procure materials and equipment can contribute to delays and disruptions. Late delivery of materials or equipment is a leading contributor to missed deadlines. Make certain someone is routinely following up with vendors who will be supplying your materials and equipment. Someone should also follow up with freight and delivery companies. On-time shipping does not guarantee delivery will happen without any issues. It’s helpful to routinely check your inventory of resources. Select who will oversee this in advance.
3. Ineffective Communication
Communication leading up the shutdown – and throughout it – is critical. Be sure the chain of command, responsibilities, and schedules are clearly conveyed to all staff, contractors, and sub-contractors. It’s necessary to have team meetings at the beginning and end of a day where action plans and reviews are communicated to everyone. This will help keep your shutdown on schedule. It can also prevent waste and even potential injury as a result of someone uniformed of where they should be or what they should be doing. Keep all leadership personnel engaged at all times because one small delay in a given area of a project can have tremendous impact on other areas.
4. Lack of Daily Reviews for Entire Shutdown Team
Progress reviews and adjustments are a necessary part of a shutdown. This should happen at the beginning of each day and at the end of each day, and all key personnel should be included. Discuss accomplishments or issues during reviews to allow the team to assess and adjust when needed. When things are not going according to plan, a contingency plan should be utilized.
Diligence During Shutdown
All in all, preventing delays correlates to the success of your shutdown. Effective planning and efficient oversight help to prevent those delays. Even something as simple as a constant commitment to controlling contamination and removing waste can greatly improve your shutdown experience. If you follow these recommendations, we believe you will see results from your diligence. Need help refining your process during shutdown season? Schedule a front-end assessment and we’ll help you improve your process. Best of luck with your upcoming shutdown!