If your production processes aren’t firing on all cylinders – and costing your business much more than they should – here is a very fast, very focused solution: the Vulnerability Assessment and Analysis (VAA).
Let’s look at a hypothetical situation. You are the new Director of Reliability for a global company, and you’ve inherited a floating oil production rig in the North Sea. When you start working with the platform team, it quickly becomes obvious that a number of issues are hampering the rig’s performance. Some of these issues are known to the team, others aren't.
There are lots of little things that aren't perfect. One bigger issue is pretty clear and takes more of the blame for poor performance than it should. The machinery on the rig isn't geared for the specific gas-to-oil ratio coming on board to be processed – it isn't engineered to perform at its ‘sweet spot’ for this oil. Other problems are less clear, although you know they are there. For example, you suspect critical spares and maintenance strategies need work.
You can see that the rig team has been persevering because they are more focused on getting today’s job done, rather than on improving the assets’ performance. For them, the work on continuous improvement has been replaced by the reactive task of fixing problems, and the culture of excellence has faded and been lost amidst day-to-day operations.
This is despite the fact that the under-performing production processes are costing the rig hundreds of millions of dollars a year in revenue.
As the newly appointed Reliability Director, you want to produce a shortlist of action items that will reduce the excessive maintenance costs and boost the rig’s performance. You want a process that will lay all the cards on the table, so all members of the rig’s team can refocus on what needs to get fixed first.
Enter VAA, a very fast and focused methodology that can be used in any production industry by any company that suspects its production processes aren't up to speed.
500 vulnerabilities exist on the rig, which has caused them to slip from the first quartile to the third quartile.
The quartile ranking is a way of grouping assets depending on their performance and is a means for identifying how you can become best in class. Those in the first quartile are the star performers. Their assets are efficient and cost-effective and enjoy a 10-15 percent lower maintenance cost as a percentage of sales than a similar asset that wallows in the fourth quartile.