Production Change Management
Driven by the fatal events sited in the incident at BP’s Texas City refinery, our client, a major E&P and refinery company, decided to consolidate multiple operator control rooms into a centralized Opex Control Center. Studies were conducted and plans made to build a $40 million state-of-the-art facility in terms of co-locating eight operational units. MTG was asked to evaluate and propose a Change Management Program to facilitate a smooth transition for the operators prior to moving into the new facilities.
We first conducted a plantwide assessment which included interviewing an extensive group of operators, supervision, and support function personnel to identify the major issues management expected to encounter once the board operators separated from their current unit locations. Our personnel interviews revealed several key issues: communication, team dynamics, training of new hires, and logistics.
Using a three-phased approach (Assessment, Development, and Implementation), a Steering Team was formed with representatives of various stakeholders and sub-teams were formed with a Steering Team member as the lead. Each team was assigned a charter of activities to be completed based on the findings from our initial assessment.
The Steering Team met weekly to review progress and remove barriers for the work teams. Six work teams were formed: Communications and Meeting Alignment, Production Activities, Work Expectations, Transportation and Logistics, Transition, and Operator Development.
Special events such as tours and facility open houses were planned to increase operator awareness of the new environment prior to move-in. Operator orientations were held to acquaint the operators with new control room layouts, working environment expectations, and training on cutover procedures for their respective units.
The first of the operator shelters became operational in June 2008 and were well received by the operators due to the preparations by the Change Management project teams. Lessons learned from this first move to a new facility were captured and used to anticipate issues prior to the arrival of the next shelter, resulting in a smoother transition.
A summary of our accomplishments:
- The assessment and subsequent implementation provided a foundation for the new work environment to begin the longer term cultural changes.
- A smooth transition into the new control room was completed by the operators with very few changes.
- The transition to the new meeting alignment schedule was completed, enabling better communication and coordination of production.
- Production leadership understands the new work expectations for supporting the cultural changes.
- A six-hour orientation for over 200 operators was successfully completed.
- Three units were cut over successfully with no loss in production, and the remaining are progressing without issue.
A ribbon-cutting ceremony took place to open the new Opex Control Center facility a full nine months ahead of schedule. The first unit moves to the new control room began in September `08 with one unit moving in each following week. Critical to the unit moves were the cutover plans developed by the Capital Project Team which were executed with very few problems.
With the support of MTG team members and with outstanding cooperation of the site personnel, this world-class, state-of-the-art facility is now fully operational.