The Shutdown, Turnaround and Outage (STO) process, is arguably one of the biggest logistical operations your company is ever likely to face. If you get it wrong, you can face losing millions of dollars in lost productivity and revenue, but if you get it right, you can ensure your organisation is in top form to move forward with its production.

According to Kepner Tregoe in a piece written by Kevin Duffy, the Global Vice President of Operational Excellence, the danger is that STOs are seen as merely “maintenance and engineering events”, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. The whole process requires the cooperation of the whole company, from shareholders to managers. When operated correctly, an effective STO can “represent a source of competitive advantage for an organization”.

This is certainly true, but one of the biggest factors can also be downtime (which we will revisit in a moment), and associated factors including workplace safety, project scope and training. Training is a highly important factor, which is often overlooked and carried out incorrectly, which is why conducting your training online can be a more efficient option. But first, with the help of Kepner Tregoe, let’s take a look at the challenges you may face during your STO.

The Challenges

Kepner Tregoe, an international consultancy and training organisation, have written extensively on the issue of the STO process, thanks primarily to the work of Duffy. In three stages, Duffy breaks down the models for success, how to overcome roadblocks, and what areas to look at in order to properly orchestrate an STO. The last point is the one we will look at today, let’s take a look.

Workplace Safety

According to Kepner Tregoe, there may be a large number of contractors on site, who may lack relevant information regarding your health and safety practices. Some of the contractors may not know how to operate your machinery effectively, or understand the complex nature of large manufacturing processing machines. It’s this lack of knowledge that will put your workers directly in harm’s way. According to Kepner, there may be many operational process, such as cleaning complex machines which require special equipment, that may only take place during an STO. That’s why health and safety is of utmost importance. Let’s not forget, that safety starts with the training process.

STO Framework

Your STO process should be clear and precise, according to Kepner. You should also have what Kepner refers to as a ‘holistic approach’ , in order to ensure the effective implementation of a number of complex tasks. Without any sort of framework, your STO is likely to hit a rough patch with even the most mundane tasks becoming difficult. Coordination is also key during this process with a particular emphasis being needed in communication throughout the STO in order to achieve success.

Project Scope

Managing project scope is, Kepner suggest one of the “top challenges” for most STO management teams. This is why managers need “prioritization tools” in order to make informed decisions on “managing emerging work” and to ensure you stay within your plan and budgets. If you don’t have an effective tool in place, your STO can “quickly experience scope creep,” which can have a detrimental effect on the operational performance once your STO wraps up.

Measurement and Control

You should be measuring the right things, and ensuring you have clear communication regarding the projects you are about to undertake, according to Kepner. Maintaining control is a very important one here. You need to have a firm grip on your STO and limit any potential risks. Kepner believe that problems that happen in future STOs are likely as a result of a lack of appropriate measurement and control.


According to Kepner Tregoe, it’s not uncommon for the amount of contractors on site to grow by 300% during an STO. Managing the training of that many workers, will likely pose a logistical nightmare to your company when you are already trying to cope with carrying out an effective STO. With Initiafy, you can significantly reduce training time by conducting all of your inductions online. You can have all aspects of training covered, including health and safety and even specific training slides with relevant information regarding your STO. Your sub-contractors for the STO process won’t have to wait around to be introduced to your company, they can pre-trained before they even enter your company. Our software also ensures your training is consistent across regions, languages and activities. Initiafy allows you to easily manage your induction training, with health and safety training controlled from one location. The platform can also ensure you significantly reduce downtime, which is a major issue during the STO process, and reduce the costs of training. If you wish to take a look at how it works, click here.

Effective training is just one challenge that you will face during your STO process. What’s clear is if you plan effectively your STO should go off without any major issues. But if you don’t follow the steps, you are effectively guaranteeing a difficult process.

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Sharing is caring FennellSHEQ,Kepner Tregoe,losses,plant shutdown,shutdown,shutdown and turnaroundThe Shutdown, Turnaround and Outage (STO) process, is arguably one of the biggest logistical operations your company is ever likely to face. If you get it wrong, you can face losing millions of dollars in lost productivity and revenue, but if you get it right, you can ensure your...The Worlds leading Health, Safety, Environment and Quality Resource