In the first quarter of 2021, our clients asked us to provide AllClear freestanding accountability and emergency assembly solutions for more turnarounds than any quarter in our history. In addition to the record performance, even more sites are asking for turnaround support in the second half of the year. There are a few key reasons for this increase in activity.
First, in many cases, personnel safety concerns stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic deferred maintenance activities throughout 2020. This deferred maintenance has boosted the demand for our solution in 2021. Second, in some segments of the industry, economic factors postponed the turnaround activity. For example, some organizations in the refining industry took advantage of the “down cycle” in the refining economy to do any preventative or necessary maintenance. Then, when the demand rebounds (as it appears to be doing), they would be ready to produce the new demand.
Conversely, some customers in the chemical sector saw demand for their products skyrocket during COVID. So, in the spirit of “making hay while the sun shines,” these companies deferred any shutdown activity until the demand appeared to soften. Interestingly, many of these companies have not seen the market soften, but they are not delaying any longer than is safe because they are responsible operators.
So why have they chosen AllClear to address the personnel accountability, which has traditionally been such a challenge during turnaround projects? Well, here are a few of the reasons they’ve given us:
1. Time on tools
One of the biggest questions asked by turnaround managers and the operations teams involved is, “how do I know who is working in my shutdown units and how long they’ve been there?” Traditionally, this has been answered with a clipboard and a pen. A manual, paper-based log is both time-consuming and rife with the potential for inaccurate information. AllClear’s Unit Accountability™ tells our customers instantly and exactly which contractors are in the high hazard unit, when they check-in and out, and for which contracting company they are working.
2. Ease of use
With the technology development in recent years, turnaround sites have either a network connection or continuous cellular connection. AllClear for Turnarounds includes ruggedized, easy-to-deploy devices that keep a real-time awareness of presence and make your site PSM compliant.
Some ruggedized devices require each individual to carry a separate badge or even an expensive location tag. While we support the use of RTLS or GPS technology for the right application, time and time again our customers tell us that the use of expensive, infrastructure-intensive technology has been less effective and cost-prohibitive when compared to AllClear. As my good friend used to say, “the juice ain’t worth the squeeze.” AllClear is available at a reasonable day rate and can be included as a part of the turnaround plan.
4. Flexibility for long-term benefit
If you’re like some of our new customers, your site still has room for improvements in accountability and emergency readiness, even when the turnaround is over. AllClear’s base system will still be in place when the project ends and can be a catalyst for quantum change or for incremental improvements. For example, one new site has executed a transition from a large turnaround to an entire site deployment with spectacular results. Other sites have taken a measured approach and begun a rollout of AllClear after a successful turnaround. Whether you want to quickly cover the entire site or have a phased approach in mind, we are here to work with you.
5. Industry in transition
In some cases, the shutdown and repurposing of sites to new production drive the growth in demand for AllClear. For example, we have more than one client beginning to move a traditional refinery to a biofuels facility. In other cases, sites are adding new, exciting production plants like Hydrogen facilities. The Energy Transition, as it has been dubbed, is driving the need for more vigilance and flexibility in personnel safety and accountability.
Turnarounds and major projects are usually the most capital-intensive activities any industrial site experiences. Therefore, any proven solution that can increase productivity, make it easier to account for personnel, and leverage existing technology will almost certainly simplify such a complex aspect of our jobs. AllClear continues to prove it meets these criteria, and we are excited to continue to develop solutions and subject matter expertise to serve you and your team.
If you have any questions about how AllClear can improve personnel accountability in your turnarounds, let us know. We’d be happy to talk.