Greenfield Joint Venture Procedure Project
The owner/operator of an overseas joint venture project was presented with an array of difficulties when considering the development of the operating procedures required for its multi-unit, multiple product facility. The operating partners of this Greenfield project had differing styles and philosophies between their own companies concerning operating procedures. In addition, the decision was made that the procedures were to be fully compliant with U.S standards, as well as the laws of the host country. Finally, a limited number of subject matter experts were available and, for some portions of the facility in which new technology was used, there were no experts at all.
TDS was contracted by the operating partner to design a procedure format and develop all necessary procedures for the safe, efficient startup and operation of the entire facility. Some of the challenges addressed were:
- Lack of standards for work process and style
- Compliance with all applicable host country and U.S. regulations
- Identification of procedures required
- Lack of client experts
Lack of standards for work process and style
In order to overcome this issue, TDS met with all project stakeholders to create a governance process, which included development of a team of stakeholders and subject matter experts to work on the project, and the definition of roles and responsibilities for each team member. A work process was developed to review and approve the design of procedures and to create standards. Finally, a member of the client team was appointed as the single point of contact for each of the unit development teams. This member interfaced with the TDS project managers to set milestones, review metrics and resolve process contradictions.
Additionally, a system of check-in/check-out protocols was developed along with matching folder structures on a secure website. The system provided the ability to determine the editing status of individual documents, which individual had the document checked out, and how long the document had been checked out. Detailed tracking charts provided quick access to project progress and document status.
Compliance with all applicable host country and U.S. regulations
TDS consulted with client experts and performed independent research to identify host country laws. In-house TDS experts matched the agreed upon procedure format and content with U.S. laws. Then client and TDS experts jointly reviewed templates and lists of procedures to be developed to ensure that all laws had been satisfied. Subsequent client procedure audits confirmed these goals had been attained.
Identification of required procedures
Applicable laws define procedures that must be created. But, in order to ensure that a best-in-class procedure library was developed, TDS used a proprietary system to analyze operator job tasks, objectively rank the tasks and establish cut-off scores based on criticality. Using this system, TDS made recommendations for additional job aids or detailed procedures. The client was presented with this list and worked with TDS to determine how to ensure that operators would have all the information necessary for safe operation.
Lack of experts
By their nature, Greenfield projects are challenging because training and procedures must be developed prior to startup. This means that there are no experienced personnel who have run the unit before. In order to overcome this challenge, TDS worked with the client to identify experts in either of the joint venture partners’ existing sites. These employees became part of the project team. For units and processes using new technology, engineers designing the processes participated in the development of procedures. Because governance and work processes had already been established, this worldwide team of experts was able to contribute to the project and meet the aggressive schedule for production of procedures.
In order to develop new training materials and operating procedures in time for a Greenfield project startup, it is necessary to begin drafting materials one to two years in advance. This means that much of the early development work is done with technical design data that is still in flux. Process Flow Diagrams (PFDs), Material Balance Information, Process Control Narratives and P&IDs are continuously revised and updated until startup.
To account for the difference between as designed and as built, the templates, style guide, and writing standards developed for the project were transferred to the client to ensure future modifications maintain the same standards as the original documents. Additionally, TDS developers worked on site to train client staff in maintaining existing procedures, and creating new documents.
The operating facility was scheduled for startup three years after the project began. TDS continues to support the organization with ongoing updates. Additional needs have been identified for the new facility’s laboratory and TDS has assigned personnel to develop lab test procedures, commission equipment and assist with training.