SMED applied to planned Plant Maintenance – recent case study

Oil Production

  • Issue: Oil producer was experiencing long and unpredictable plant maintenance turnarounds (also known as a shutdown or an outage).  Downtime durations consistently exceeded plans and budgets, and this resulted in lost production and excessive maintenance costs.
  • Solution: Applied lean techniques including:
    • SMED (task separation, conversion, and simplification to complete outage tasks outside the outage window),
    • Constraint Busting (e.g., dramatically improved critical path management),
    • Visual Controls (e.g., optimized Outage Command Center),
    • Streamlined Collaborative Planning (e.g., earlier and greater involvement of contractors and cross functional personnel), and
    • High impact metric capture and utilization (e.g., shift in focus from “Cost only” to Cost and Duration).
  • Result:  Greater Profits – More stable outage planning and execution process with a reduction in outage durations of 10-15% resulting in increased production valued at $25 million increase in annual profit.  Reduced Costs – Decrease in outage costs valued at $2-3 million annualized.  Improved Collaboration – Significantly improved collaboration among all groups, greater performance reporting transparency, and improved continuous improvement through capture and application of lessons from one outage to another.

One Reply to “SMED applied to planned Plant Maintenance – recent case study”

  1. Case studies like this are very helpful because it shows other companies that by implementing supply chain best practices real money can be saved. In some cases it may take several years to get the return, but it’s definitely worth the investment.


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