Active management improvements at oil refinery bring pre-TA project back on track (Case Study)


The client is a diversified Fortune 100 company providing essential energy resources to businesses and consumers around the world. At one of its North American refineries producing fuels and lubricants, concerns about the site’s project cost and schedule overrun had prompted management to seek help in establishing a professional approach to TA planning, with the aim of reducing cost and maintaining schedule adherence.


In order to define and clarify processes, the key aspects of a Management Control & Reporting System (MCRS) were introduced. The T.A. Cook team then worked with the client, providing training and in-the-field real time coaching to bring the project back on track.

Roles and responsibilities

Through a series of eleven studies, significant overlap of roles and responsibilities was identified which was negatively affecting maintenance capacity.

To support formalized boundaries and allow teams to focus their attention on the correct actions, the organization chart was revised and resource loads defined. These were then incorporated into the three day look ahead schedule, while job plans assigning a full day´s work to each trade were distributed to mechanical coordinators and operators. This provided both management and teams with a clear indication of which activities needed to be carried out and when.

Planner skills were then carefully assessed and recommendations made as to the necessary training required to fill gaps. Once again, coaching by T.A. Cook helped to ensure bad habits did not return.


During follow-up rounds with supervisors in the field, the key reasons behind schedule breaks and lack of schedule discipline were confirmed. At regular meetings, these were communicated to all stakeholders to drive better understanding at all levels and address areas for improvement.

Finally, the T.A. Cook and client team worked together to develop and implement key actions intended to drive sustainability and increase productivity.


Through the systematic analysis and evaluation of client processes, the root causes of recurring problems could be identified and addressed, equipping the client with the skills and knowledge needed to implement lasting improvement.

Based on the success of the short impact program, the client requested a full site wide implementation program to drive similar behaviors across the site.