The traditional view of operational shutdowns, turnarounds, and outages (STOs) is that they are simply maintenance and engineering events. However, well-executed STOs can represent a source of competitive advantage for a company.


Contrary to popular opinion, the impact and scope of shutdowns, turnarounds, and outages (STOs) can extend far beyond basic maintenance and engineering functions. In fact, STOs require significant capital and operating budgets. They attract the attention of shareholders, and can even impact customer relationships.

Considering their importance, well-executed shutdowns, turnarounds, and outages can have many benefits for an organization, because they can:

  • Drive commercial performance
  • Boost morale
  • Bring recognition to high performing teams
  • Accelerate individual careers

What does this mean in today’s highly competitive business environment? Shutdowns, turnarounds, and outages represent not only an increasingly significant challenge but also an increasingly significant business opportunity.

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4 Tips For Effective Shutdowns and Turnarounds

Planning and managing plant shutdowns and turnarounds are no easy task. Hiring the right contractors who can help you achieve the most efficient turnaround possible requires quality checking and planning throughout the process.

In today’s blog, we’ll look at 4 tips that will help make the shutdown process run as smoothly as possible.

  • Employ Professional and Experienced Contractors

When hiring shutdown or turnaround contractors, it can be very tempting to go with the lowest quotation. However, this may not always be the best option.

Why? Shutdowns are projects where time and quality is of the essence. Employing the most experienced contractors, even if they are more expensive, could make all the difference when finishing the project on time and on budget.

  • Ensure a Foolproof Quality Assurance and Checking Program

Having quality assurance and quality checking systems in place will help to ensure that nothing is missed during the shutdown and turnaround. Although it is time-consuming, it will pay off for your project as a whole.

Tip: All QA and QC elements should be clearly outlined in the contractor induction to avoid any confusion and miscommunication.

  • Don’t Forget The Safety Training

Shutdowns and turnarounds are very intense work periods and the shortened time frame, as well as the myriad of safety hazards, demand contractors who are well educated, as well as well-documented safety procedures for them to follow.

If you want maximum efficiency from day one, then you should make sure that before any contractor sets foot on site, you have planned the following:

  • Safety training
  • Shutdown processes
  • Contractor registration

Companies can enjoy significant gains if they go through the majority of induction materials in advance of turnaround day.

  • Develop a Good Working Relationship With Your Contractor

Inevitably, the tasks involved in a shutdown and turnaround will be shared between employees and the contractor, so cultivating a joint sense of purpose between the two parties can make all the difference between success and failure.

In addition: Good communication of expected standards can help ease friction on the project and prevent any miscommunication that can slow things down.

Find The Right Contractor For Your STOs

To find out how Matrix can help you attract, hire and retain the right contractor for your STOs, contact us at 1-866-666-9520 or fill in our online contact form.

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