By Khaled Abdellatif- Technology Manager
Over the past couple of months, The Daily Thermetrics team has been proactively discussing with our clients globally to understand how instrumentation, reliability and procurement teams in the refining and petrochemical industries are navigating routine maintenance activities and emergency temperature requirements. By exploring the potential risks and supply chain disturbances, we have identified 5 points of focus to better navigate through the COVID-19 situation
- Re-orient Teams and Communication Channels
- Leadership is expected to ensure that the instrumentation team is aware of any changes in the operational policy of the plant to facilitate the decision-making process.
- It is vital to ensure that if the procurement team (centralized or on-site) is working from home, the alternative communication channels are systematically communicated with the site personnel.
- Any changes to the procurement value chain, should be communicated with the site instrumentation leadership as it might affect the decision-making process
- Revisit the Risk Management Plan
- Risk management plans usually consider the worst-case scenario and its mitigations. However, during these challenging times, the instrumentation and reliability teams’ leadership should ensure that the risk management plan is revisited to highlight high potential risks, and that these risks are re-communicated with the rest of the team.
- Instrumentation teams should identify what mitigations could be affected by the COVID-19 situation and tackle it. For example, if the refinery is cutting down the number of field personnel per shift, some mitigation operations timeline might get extended compared to what is originally planned.
- Validate warehouse instrumentation inventory and spare parts
- One of the best practices during the current situation would be revising the inventory and spare parts for all critical items to take all possible preventive actions, if any, to avoid potentially not finding a replacement for the items on need.
- Daily Thermetrics has been working with customers to better utilize and optimize their temperature instrumentation inventory through its inventory reduction program.
- Mitigate Potential Supply Chain disturbances
- The supply chain can be a weak link in the overall instrumentation requirements value chain. It is critical that the procurement team go through the instrumentation approved vendor list and validate whether vendors are operating with full capacity, reduced capacity, or the vendor’s factories are shut down. This exercise will affect the decision making and order placement processes. We, at Daily Thermetrics, took a proactive approached and kept all our customers aware of our status as up and running during the pandemic. Also, status changes are periodically communicated.
- If needed, the vendor approval process should be optimized/ accelerated to allow for new, reliable vendors to be added quickly, so refineries and petrochemical plants can have a bigger vendor pool to cover all needs and variations considering the current supply chain limitations.
- Accelerate through plans, studies, and upgrades
- Once these hard times passes, only the prepared teams will accelerate through the rebound and growth phases. For instrumentations teams, this time can be utilized to study new technologies, analyze optimization plans, and thinking of potential upgrades.
- Learned lessons through this time should be identified, and the stress response should be analyzed for the future.