Day Two of TINC America 2016 kicked off this morning with the always enlightening expert panel. Moderated by AP-Networks Senior Consultant Craig Small, the panel featured:

  • Curt Burnett – Turnaround Manager, LyondellBasell
  • Jim Flynn – Field Service Manager, INVISTA
  • Thom Leeds – Turnaround Manager, Chevron
  • Tom Mankowski – Senior Consultant, AP-Networks

Over the course of 80 minutes, the panel answered a wide range of questions that touched on everything from premise documents and scope selection to steering team training and project and turnaround integration. In his answer to a question regarding turnaround work process effectiveness, Curt Burnett summed up not only the theme of the expert panel, but of the conference as a whole when he said, “You have to change, you have to learn, you have to grow to stay on top.”

Scott Baber, Turnaround Superintendent at HollyFrontier, took the stage next and told a remarkable story of organizational evolution and turnaround improvement. Yesterday, Pete Kwiatkowski provided metrics on “trainwreck turnarounds”—those that miss their cost or schedule targets by more than 30 percent. Scott joked that he wished his site had achieved a trainwreck, choosing to categorize a 2012 turnaround and a 2013 turnaround as “nuclear events.” But following renewed dedication from leadership, who were spurred by these events, the site made significant strides during their 2016 turnaround, getting their cost and schedule overruns to less than 10 percent. Scott’s story was a great reminder that success is acheiveable.

AP-Networks VP of Turnaround Consulting Services Bobby Vichich was up after Scott to discuss strategies for leveraging people, processes, and tools to ensure turnaround success. Bobby compared those three elements to the legs of a three-legged stool: take one away, and you’re going to have a problem. After discussing what good looks like for each element, Bobby let us in on a troublesome truth: simply doing well with people, processes, and tools doesn’t lead to optimal results. What does? Uniting these elements and pushing them to the next level through management action. Leadership in the form of an effective Steering Team adds another dimension to the turnaround organization, and differentiates the good from the great. After outlining the characteristics of an effective Steering Team, Bobby debuted the AP-Networks Steering Team Effectiveness Index (STEI), a metric that can be used to quantify that effectiveness.

After lunch, Robert Perry, Director of Project Controls for Turnarounds at Delek US, outlined the vital role played by the turnaround controls group. He started by giving us the three keys to turnaround controls: schedule management, cost management, and scope. The point he drove home was to “start with the end in mind.” According to Robert, “If you don’t understand your schedule premise and your planning premise, and you don’t have them at the very front, when you get to the end and look for the things you want to see, they won’t be there.” Clear targets and a strict attitude towards change management create a path forward. With a strong emphasis on front end loading, the turnaround controls group can pinpoint leading indicators and let the turnaround team and the leadership know where to focus their efforts to effect meaningful change.

AP-Networks Consultant John Camp gave the last presentation of the conference, taking the audience through AP-Networks’ recent work developing a tank maintenance work process for NaviTrack. He began by getting us all up to speed on an important recent trend: non-routine maintenance and tank maintenance are falling to the turnaround group more and more frequently. It’s this trend that led to AP-Networks’ recent work with tank maintenance teams at two different client sites. In going through the reasons to standardize the tank maintenance work process, John touched on many benefits that apply to turnaround work processes as well. Without milestones, how do you know if you’re ahead or behind? A comprehensive process allows you to gauge progress, capture institutional knowledge, and clearly delineate roles and responsibilities. After his presentation, clients began to approach John for more information, sharing stories of their own tank troubles.

In closing, Bobby thanked everyone, speakers and attendees alike, for their contributions. TINC America 2016 was our best conference to date, providing us with a clear picture of a maturing industry with an inspiring drive to continue getting better.