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Case Studies

We are experienced maintenance, asset management and reliability consultants who improve operational performance by addressing people, process and plant issues. We do this by measuring, analysing and understanding your situation and then working with you to make improvements.

Our single most important promise is to deliver lasting solutions to you. Immediate benefits come from savings in time, money and worry. Lasting benefits come from improved competitive position, regulatory compliance and peace of mind.

We have a proven method of passing on expertise so that improvements are enduring and not just a flash in the pan. This means that our customers around the world in a wide range of industrial sectors have consistently lower maintenance costs, lower downtime costs and can plan future investments with confidence. In short, our work enhances their competitive position.

Capital Investment Programme for a gas company

Background to the Project


A large multi-stream European gas terminal was nearing the end of its design life. Whilst the Project group worked up proposals for a replacement terminal, the operations staff were asked to produce an alternative plan which involved a phased ten-year capital replacement programme for the existing terminal.

Gas plant

What we did

Structured workshops were undertaken which involved a large proportion of front-line staff. The purpose of these workshops was to identify potential issues affecting plant uptime and performance. These issues were quantified and prioritised then solutions were developed.

A Monte Carlo time-based availability model was developed for the terminal. Historical downtime data was combined with expected failure patterns so that downtime could be projected for ten years into the future. This allowed for proper phasing of the refurbishment activities.

Graph showing projections for following 10 years

Outcomes

A ten-year $100m capital investment programme was produced to secure the terminal availability. This had the following three themes:

 

  • Major investments to replace worn out or obsolete systems
  • Refurbishment of key parts of other systems
  • Organisational skills competency and knowledge development

 

A key constraint for this programme was that all many activities had to be carried out within the existing turnaround schedule for the terminal.

 

Chart showing project plan

 


Downtime reduction on a process plant

Background to the Project

The availability of a newly-commissioned process plant was below requirements leading to customer dissatisfaction and penalty payments. The local operations team had put together an improvement programme. We provided an expert opinion to reassure the customer that all reasonable improvement steps were indeed being made.

What we did

A management audit was carried out to check that the plant was being operated and maintained to recognised standards of best practice. This assessment consisted of a structured set of interviews, observations and data review. It followed the Business Excellence Model developed by the European Foundation for Quality Management.

 

Audit results chart

 

The audit was backed up with an availability model which simulated the performance of key pieces of equipment. The model was used to cross-check that the customer requirements were feasible.

 

Flowchart showing issues in the business

 

Workshops with operational staff quantified the risk from known issues as well as potential issues which had not yet occurred.

 

Outcomes

All of this work was used to put together a prioritised two–year improvement programme which followed the classical change management approach. It was so successful that ultimately the customer doubled his business with the process plant.

 

Chart showing project improvement plan

 


Competencies & Skills Assessment for an oil and gas company

Background to the Project

A world-wide oil & gas company had undertaken a review to ensure that its corporate reliability group was working effectively with its field and refinery-based operational staff. This identified the need to strengthen the competencies and skills within the group and the desirability to set up a technical ‘ladder’ in addition to the management ‘ladder’ as a means to ensure that key technical skills were not lost over a period of time.

What we did

We advised on the skills and competency levels required for the various roles within the reliability group. Pilot assessments were carried out to check that the models were practicable.

Outcomes

The competencies and skills model has been successfully rolled out within the Oil & Gas company. We have been engaged to carry out training programmes as required and to cross-check a random sample of the management assessment interviews.

 


Engineering Spare Parts Store System for a Pharmaceutical Company

We helped the company set up a validated stores system, train staff. Modelling was also used to assess part parts requirements and optimise stock holdings.

 

Storage facility in warehouse

Outcomes

Having the benefit of a single stock control system, the pharmaceutical company has identified that existing stocks can be halved without compromising plant uptime. The engineers themselves have been able to devote more of their time to continuous improvement activities.

 


Asset Management Strategy for a Water Company

Background to the Project

The water company had just set up two regional control centres which would house all staff associated with operational and strategic activities associated with managing a water distribution network. As part of this activity a new risk-based asset management strategy was required for all underground assets which would be compliant with the requirements of PAS 55.

What We Did

A series of workshops were held with key stakeholders to assess the various risks involved in different parts of the network and the best mitigation activities. The water company had previously undertaken a number of internal studies to identify high-risk areas. This work was built upon instead of starting again from scratch. In addition, information collected for the regulator was utilised – again to save time. A two-step process whereby the first step identified high risk water quality zones allowed effort to be focused quickly into the most needy areas.

Thematic map

Outcomes

The new asset management strategy resulted in savings of 15% in operating and capital expenses without compromising customer service or regulatory requirements.

 


Auditing & Benchmarking Maintenance for a Food & Drinks Company

Background

A world-wide food and drinks company had started an operational excellence programme. As part of this it wished to establish the current total cost of maintenance (i.e. direct and in-direct costs) and what could be saved by implementing maintenance best practice.

World map

What We Did

A random sample of 10% of the plants were audited and benchmarked against each other. The approach used was along the lines of that originally developed by Rank Xerox. Maintenance drivers were established and best practices identified. Savings by adopting best practice were estimated. Individual improvement plans were developed for each plant studied and general lessons learned were shared with the corporate improvement team. Finally a series of face to face and on-line training sessions and newsletters were developed to disseminate the learning from the study.

Outcomes

One particular site reduced downtime from 8% to 5%, increased throughput by 65% and doubled its profitability by adopting best practice. The organisation as a whole realized just how much existing maintenance practices were eating into profits. Therefore it revised its maintenance strategies to rely more on condition monitoring for critical equipment and make better use of failure data to ensure that key equipment problems can be resolved.


Testimonials

 I have had the pleasure of working with Red Wheel Solutions staff on a number of projects over the best part of 15 years. I have always been impressed with their strategic business overview and their ability to deliver practical operational improvements that carry strategic aims to the workforce, impact throughout the organisation and ultimately on the bottom line.

Colin Sanders, CMS Consultants

 I have worked with Red Wheel Solutions on a number of occasions in the gas and electricity utilities sector and have found them to be extremely knowledgeable and professional. I have also found them to be extremely easy to work with in a "team" environment.

Howard Jones, Director, Azimuth Business Consultancy, and ex Director of Asset Management, Wales & West Utilities, Gas Distribution

 Red Wheel Solutions is a very capable and experienced Asset and Maintenance Strategy Service Provider. Their analytical ability is very strong, but their real strength is I believe, in their ability to then go on and implement practically that which has been carefully thought through at the front end.

Peter Willmott, Owner, Willmott Solutions

I have known Paul Wheelhouse, one of the directors of Red Wheel Solutions, for many years. Over that time he has coached me to adopt his measured, focused and context-specific approach. In a world of new acronyms, this approach of focusing on the basics and making it work for the client is a breath of fresh air that has allowed him to add true value to an enterprise, not just a new programme.

Emile Coetzer, Axioma Asset Engineering Ltd.

We have used Red Wheel Solutions as a partner in some of our engagements to bring in global best practices and insights in asset management. The knowledge that they bring to the table and overall professionalism of the staff has always been excellent.

Dileep Viswanath, General Manager, Enzen Global Ltd.

Our promises
Red Wheel Solutions guarantees you:

  • A wide range of experience to give you options for structuring your improvement plan
  • Efficiency & effectiveness in providing rapid, practical tailored solutions
  • Minimum disruption to your business
  • Transfer of experience and methodologies so that improvements endure
  • On-going support that allows you to continue to do what you do best

Our expertise
Red Wheel Solutions works across a wide variety of industries with particular specialisms in:

  • Oil & Gas (on-shore and off-shore)
    Transportation
    Pharmaceuticals
    Food & Drink
    Chemicals & Plastics
    Utilities
    Manufacturing
     

 

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