Significant cost reduction in asset maintenance at Shell Moerdijk

Shell Netherland Chemie B.V. (SNC Moerdijk) is part of the Dutch Royal Shell group, focusing on refining oil products into basic chemicals. The site was founded in 1968, the total annual production amounts to 4.5 million tons of product. One of the production units is the Moerdijk Styrene monomer and Propylene Oxide (MSPO) factory.

In 2017, Shell Netherlands asked PDM to analyze the Hands on Tool Time (HoTT) of Shell’s maintenance engineers and contractors and to identify obstacles in performing the maintenance. It turned out that the HoTT on the Moerdijk site was considerably below the official WCM benchmark. This was the reason for SNC Moerdijk to look for an increase in the HoTT on planned maintenance to 55% by optimizing their complete maintenance workflow. PDM was involved again.


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Project approach

The pilot project approach exists of five phases:

Phase 1: Project preparation
Phase 2: Scanning
Phase 3: Analysis
Phase 4: Implementation
Phase 5: Securing and documenting the change

1 – Project preparation phase

A series of HoTT measurements was performed at the Moerdijk site, which gave insight into the effective work time of the site contractors. Based on the results, a pilot project for one contractor in the MSPO factory (Kentech) was set up.

2 – Scanning phase

A site project team was formed that performed a scan to identify the root causes of the limitations resulting in a low HoTT. The findings were elaborated in a detailed strategic project plan.

3 – Analysis phase

The team worked on designing and implementing specific process solutions and tools, such as:

  • “Effectively Good” method cards, highlighting the desired way of working.
  • Job duration calculations, using the established norms and site factors.
  • Separating the responsibility between work preparation and job organization.
  • Optimizing the contractor’s startup routine (Talk of the day, toolbox, WO handover, retrieving materials, tools and permit).
  • Introducing a “Self-HoTT” measurement card to continuously monitor and control process obstacles.

4 – Implementation phase

PDM was heavily involved in both tweaking and implementing the process optimization tools as well as managing the change within Shell’s maintenance team. The contractor was involved during this phase to achieve a mutually beneficial process, and increase communication between both parties.

To monitor and control the efficiency improvement three KPIs were monitored:

  • the planning efficiency
  • the completion of schedule
  • the earned/burned hours ratio, which compares the hours spent to the hours planned.

5 – Securing and documenting the change

All processes were documented and made ready for replication to other factories on the plant. Additionally, the employees were extensively coached top down to guide the change in the way of working and guarantee acceptance. Furthermore, based on the Deming cycle, a plan for continuous improvement of the process quality was implemented. Finally, regular effectiveness checks were planned to monitor and correct the implemented process, resulting in a controlled process enhancement loop.

Project results

An increase in the Earned/Burned (E/B) of 33% was recorded for the contractor. Moreover, this increase in E/B translates to a HoTT value nearing the goal set for this contractor for 2020. Furthermore, the increase in efficiency translates into considerable maintenance cost savings. Additionally, the backlog of the maintenance on the MSPO factory has been significantly reduced.

Way of working

  • Clear objectives (KPIs) were rolled out to the work floor.
  • Clear process descriptions with effective gate check/validation checks were written.
  • Clear separation of responsibilities between job preparation and work organization was implemented.
  • A paper-based HoTT form was introduced to monitor daily obstacles in job execution.
  • The priorities of “efficiency blockers” to solve were based on measured obstacles (Pareto).
  • A more effective work execution has been accomplished by actively solving HoTT blockers in a weekly meeting with all responsible parties.
  • Scheduling based on benchmark hours has been introduced and loading of the schedule has been optimized.
  • Start of the day duration has been significantly improved.

Capability building

Weekly capability training has supported the site management team in effective leadership with regards to change and planning optimization.

Contractor approval

The HoTT pilot project was beneficial to both Shell and the contractor. Moreover, as a result of the project:

  • More insight into the job progression compared to the estimated job duration was achieved.
  • Material storage has been optimized, leading to a reduction in transportation and waiting time.
  • A more clear and complete job scope is received due to effective gate keeping.
  • There is a more direct communication with Shell and clearer process targets have been set up.

Future savings

The process optimization results of the pilot project show great potential for all Shell sites worldwide. Moreover, an extensive manual for the way of working at the MSPO factory was prepared, together with a plan to reduce the replication time and effort required. By utilizing the designed tools and copying the new way of working to all contractors and production units, substantial savings on maintenance costs can be achieved.

Marcel de Vreede
Maintenance Manager, Shell Nederland Chemie

Together with our contractors and our own employee, PDM has provided insight into the improvement potential in a very acceptable way with regard to the execution of maintenance activities. By implementing a new structure on the shopfloor, the behavior of the employees has also changed, which has given Shell a considerable saving and where we can realize further roll-out. Others have not been able to do this before.

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