Inventory Management Program Proves Invaluable to Major Refinery
OverviewRefineries have a primary need to avoid unnecessary downtime in the multitude of plants they operate around the country. If plants are down when they are not intended to be, energy is not being created and distributed as planned, ultimately resulting in unforeseen expenses.
One element of operations that refineries must assure is handled is the purchasing and storage of all the parts necessary to allow the plants to run efficiently. Coupled with this is the assurance that maintenance personnel are properly equipped to do their job effectively.
ChallengeWith the vast array of different fittings, valves, filters, etc. required to run operations smoothly, it can be quite the overwhelming task to assure that all of these parts are in operation. Inevitably, regular maintenance is required. Parts are continually wearing out and need to be replaced in a timely manner. Assuring that parts are on hand and in a place where personnel can easily find them is a daunting task. If not taken seriously enough, hours and capital can and will be needlessly spent scrambling for a part that is required to avoid unplanned shutdowns. Furthermore, during planned shutdowns, personnel must be able to finish the tasks efficiently and during the allotted time.
Not only is organization key but knowing that the right parts are in-house to organize is critical. To improve their operations and organizations, one major refinery turned to the solution providers at Valin Corporation for help.
SolutionValin introduced the operators at this refinery to its Inventory Management Services (IMS) program. Valin has a team of dedicated specialists that are on call 24/7 to assist its customers with inventory management. Not only does Valin’s program take a substantial load off of those in charge of purchasing at the plant level, but by handling inventory management, bin stocking, and technical application needs, the IMS program also reduces transactional costs and associated labor.
The refinery decided to work with Valin for one of its locations and the team got to work. After heading to the site, Valin experts began by taking a comprehensive approach to organizing the different parts for the plant. The plant was separated into five distinct locations: North Yard, Distillation and Reforming, Blending and Shipping, Instrumentation and Electrical, and the Machine Shop. At the beginning of the project, head mechanics, engineers, and a purchasing individual from all four locations met to discuss needs. Separate areas were designated for parts that pertained only to each location. This would not only assure that each location was getting the volume of parts they needed, but now a more granular analysis of the spend could be done.
After reorganizing the storage areas in the plant (complete with new shelves and labeling), Valin provided an onsite representative to handle all of the purchasing electronically for the refinery. Now, a Valin team member is on site every week to check inventory and make purchases that the team at the refinery needs for daily tasks.
With the new system in place, the refinery can now determine why spends in certain departments may be up or down and do a little investigating. If there is an anomaly, they can determine if perhaps a certain job isn’t being completed as needed. In fact, the program has been so successful, management decided to implement Valin’s IMS program in all of its other locations.
"Valin’s Inventory Management System has been such an effective tool for us, that I truly can’t believe we went so long without it. Valin takes on the burden of daily inventory checks and purchasing and allows us to concentrate on what we do best. Our maintenance personnel doesn’t need to burn time looking for parts, and we don’t have to deal with the lead time of ordering a part that we should have ordered days or weeks ago. All of the headaches that come along with that part of the job is now gone thanks to Valin’s system. Not to mention it saves money over time and allows us to do analysis on a location-level and we’re able to recognize and fix any process-related issues that are revealed. I can’t recommend this enough.”