Turnaround Project Planning Primer

Productivity (Earned Value) Analysis

Productivity analysis (also called earned value analysis), in its objective form, consists in comparing the estimated versus actual manpower (manhour) expenditures.

To make such comparison, two items are required: a good, detailed estimate, and accurate time sheets reflecting all work coded or indexed against the correct work order.

Spot checking for productivity can be misleading. In order to determine productivity levels, a trend must be detected. To detect such a trend, a chart reflecting the daily scheduled work versus the actual manpower expended to accomplish it should be prepared. ATC Professional™’s Earned vs. Burned report provides all the necessary information, and can become the basis for charting the required trends.

After a few days into the turnaround, a trend will start to develop. The trend must be detected as early as possible to allow room for corrective measures, such as increasing the schedule load, detecting and eliminating delays, increasing or reducing the work force, etc.

Productivity cannot be measured by visual observation of the work force. This is a subjective evaluation, and may be totally off the mark. Usually men can be seen standing around, apparently idle. They could be waiting on equipment, a permit, etc. The only real measure is the actual time sheet charges against the estimate. Only this method will yield an objective basis for establishing productivity, and making whatever decisions may be required if productivity proves to be unsatisfactory.

A well-organized and controlled turnaround will generally enjoy the highest productivity possible. If all the organizing, planning and scheduling work is well laid out in advance, then there will be no need to improvise during the turnaround. Frequently, implementing changes in order to improve the productivity during a turnaround, and without any clear understanding of the problem or its severity, can cause more confusion and delays, resulting in worsening, rather than improving productivity.

We must keep in mind that even under the best of conditions, it is not possible to obtain 100 percent productivity (i.e., to make every worker hour on the job a completely productive one).

What the actual and attainable productivity levels are for every plant is to be determined through historical records, and detailed work order estimating practices, consistent among the many repetitious turnarounds for every plant unit.

Some plant units present special hazards that may impact productivity. Plant units may be laid out in a very congested manner which has an effect on manpower density (saturation). Skilled labor availability may be scarce. Whatever the problem, it can be identified and measured. If it cannot be corrected, it should be taken into consideration when preparing estimates to make adequate adjustments to the durations of the problem activities.

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The Turnaround Project Management Primer is an abridged version of the STO Management Handbook.

For further reading, we also recommend Joel Levitt’s Managing Maintenance Shutdowns and Outages.