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What Can Be Achieved With A Common Goal

Even if your team has successfully executed and delivered similar services in a consistent manner, there is always room for improvement. This is especially true when all stakeholders involved come together before the project starts to set a common goal, raise the performance bar, and collaborate to achieve what they sought out to do.

Of all the projects I have been involved in my career, this engagement was one of the most rewarding. This post is one of many valuable lessons and best practices that I learned, and will be the source of several posts in the future.

My Client had granted a long-term contract to one of the most prestigious Contractors in the industry to provide a floating facility to operate in a specific region. This was not the first time this partnership was formed in recent years for similar facilities. As you would expect for a startup project, there were issues during each of the prior instances that had caused a considerable amount of non-productive time (NPT). Moreover, the Client had specific design and operational requirements the facility would have to comply with prior to mobilizing to location. Following the success of a previous engagement, the Client reached out to me directly and asked me to take the lead on the modifications to a particular system.

Before the facility had even arrived to the designated shipyard to begin the modifications, the Client reached out to the Contractor to discuss what could be done to minimize issues this time around. The first milestone was the commitment to ensuring this engagement would deliver better performance. As a result, a System Integrity Workshop was organized between the Client, Contractor, Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM), and Independent Third Party (I3P; this is where I came in).

The second milestone was the commitment by the Contractor and OEM to analyze NPT events openly even if they were experienced in other assets not under contract with Client. The transparency by both the Contractor and OEM, and their willingness to discuss the issues openly and identify solutions, enabled us to conduct a much more in-depth categorization and analysis than could have been done independently.

The results from this workshop were not limited to equipment design improvements. Adjustments to processes and protocols to all three stakeholders were identified. Additional training for personnel involved with this system to not only understand the modifications, but become more effective at maintaining and operating the equipment. The third milestone was to include the learnings from the workshop into the project plan, including monitoring and hold points by I3P to keep stakeholders accountable.

The result: set several performance records:

  • Our scope of work was one of few that were ready ahead of time.

  • First time that this system passes an internal audit without a single finding.

  • Once on location, the facility was able to successfully startup operations and achieve an extremely rare 100% uptime with this system during its first operating year.

An internal learning workshop by the Client conducted post startup concluded that although the action items identified required additional resources and expense than most other projects of its kind, the results achieved were better than expected, far exceeding the return on investment.

If you want to reach or elevate what you define as operational excellence, you should:

  1. Gain commitment from all stakeholders to identify ways to improve.

  2. Think outside the box, remove all blinders, and be transparent.

  3. Plan ahead. Ensure your project plans are detailed and comprehensive.

  4. Seek independent verifiers to hold each stakeholder accountable.

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