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it’s likely nothing would have hap-
pened. Of course, he who dares, wins.
And he also doesn’t lose precious
time. The same is true for managers
who are under extreme pressure to
realize a project in 30 days instead of
a comfortable 40. Still, the chance to
earn ten days’ worth of money means
that most will take the risk. As on the
racetrack, a good stop can make the
difference between victory and defeat,
so on site can a good turnaround con-
vert huge losses into profits worth
millions. Management’s top priority
should therefore be to avoid any and
all problems and delays and/or coun-
ter them in advance.
“The fact that there is risk man-
agement in turnaround projects is a
recognized standard,” Frank-Uwe
Hess admits. Nevertheless, in his ex-
perience as Co-CEO of T.A. Cook, the
actions taken are often far too lax and
too static. “Working with risks is a
double-edged sword,” he says. Often
a risk register is produced before a
project kicks off. This register lists
anything and everything that could threaten the success of
the turnaround, such as bad weather, insufficiently qualified
personnel, unexpected repairs, missing materials or the
absence of key personnel. Preventive measures are defined
accordingly in order to prevent these risks from occurring,
possibly supplemented by countermeasures in case they
happen anyway. And that’s that: the register is hidden away
in a drawer, at least until a problem actually arises. The
register gives everyone a false sense of security, thinking
that they have considered absolutely every eventuality.
Ignoring risks this way is all too human. The risk man-
ager is often also the shutdown manager. Their main concern
is that the turnaround is a success, and they are more than
happy to trust in the motto “so far, so good.” Risk manage-
ment costs time and money after all and even in the best
cases, most managers think that effort is in vain. “As a result,
only very few are adequately prepared for their project
getting into difficulties,” says Mr. Hess. A professional
approach thus has to go much, much further and empower
shutdown managers to take preemptive action. The goal
must be not to “manage away” risks, but rather to be con-
sciously aware of them, keep an eye on them and not just
initiate countermeasures or preventive measures. “Risk
managers have the thankless task of putting pressure on
pain points,” says Mr. Hess, describing what he and his
colleagues bring to consulting projects. A risk is classed as
anything that could potentially threaten a shutdown and/
or its targets for quality, costs, duration as well as the envi-
ronment, safety and health. The challenge is to identify the
said risk. “We are seeing companies focus more intensively
on risk management,” says Gert Müller, Senior Manager at
T.A. Cook, who analyzes shutdown projects and helps with
preparation and follow-up, “but many hazards are simply
not recognized as risks.”
Identifying risks
The differentiation between hazard and risk is essential to
a progressive approach. A hazard is latent and only becomes
a risk when it directly impacts on the project. One of the
simplest examples of this is the weather. Subtropical regions
are at risk from days of rain so heavy that it stops people
from working, either in part or completely. This rain only
becomes a project risk if management neglects to take pre-
3.0
3.2
3.6
3.2
3.6
3.3
3.2
3.1
3.6
SCOPE
WORK PLANNING
ORGANIZATION
INTEGRATION OF
CAPEX PROJECTS
MANAGEMENT
ENVIRONMENT/SAFETY/
HEALTH/QUALITY
SCHEDULING
PURCHASING/
SOURCING
EXECUTION
THE T.A. COOK TAR RISK REGISTER
Divided into a total of
nine hazard areas (see chart)
, the
T.A. Cook TAR risk
register
lists between 100 and 150 potential hazards depending on the
industry. It forms a solid basis for identifying applicable risks before every
project.
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