Webinar Q&A | Achieving Operational Readiness in Your CapEx Project

By on September 15th, 2016 in Technical & Engineering

With more than 64% of Capital Expenditure (CapEx) projects going over budget and 73% delayed beyond schedule, where does your project stand? By addressing human factors, procedures, and processes early in a capital project plan, successful transitioning and startup can be achieved by aligning your workforce on the critical path to operational readiness.

During a recent GP Strategies webinar, I presented a series of approaches to achieving operational readiness in your CapEx projects. These methods have helped numerous companies in multiple industries achieve faster, more efficient, and incident-free startups.

If you missed the webinar, a recording is now available. But if you’re looking for the abbreviated version, I want to offer a quick look at some of the key takeaways:

  • Identify significant blind spots in CapEx project planning
  • Establish a path to human capital preparedness
  • Develop the right learning approach
  • Develop a CapEx roadmap (click here to download a free copy)
  • Improve the transition from construction to production (transitioning from project teams to operations teams)

After the presentation, a number of questions came up. Below are those questions and my best answers. This is an ongoing conversation, so I encourage you to keep the questions coming in via the comments section at the bottom of this page.

Q: How far in advance of the scheduled startup would you recommend starting on the training?

A: Ideally the response is at least 24 months; pragmatically, I would have to say 18 months is reasonable for most projects except for the megaprojects. Megaprojects demand significant advance work that can take years to fulfill all aspects of learning, qualification, and documentation requirements.

Q: Outside of the human aspect, what in your experience is the largest contributor to CapEx delays?

A: There are many, and depending on the industry, these can change in their priority, but the leading contributors include:

  • Price Pressures – These pressures cause delays in approvals and compression of valuable time.
  • Regulatory Compliance – Ensuring compliant operations often leads to overruns in budgets and schedules.

Missed opportunities at the upfront planning stages can lead to excessive costs and changes that invariably lead to cost overruns and schedule delays.

Q: How serious are the talent shortage and aging workforce issues that you mentioned?

A: Very. The Bureau of Labor Statistics has been reporting for years on the impending talent crisis and its impact on an organization’s ability to operate safely and efficiently. One of the solutions has been the use of technology to offset the reduction in skilled talent. While that has proved to be beneficial, it also showcases the challenge in that the talent shortage still impacts those firms because insufficient talents are available to support the use of the technology and the ability to truly leverage technology is not fully realized. Manpower has reported for the past several years that the #1 talent shortage is skilled trades resources.

Eric Rodgers

Mr. Eric Rodgers is Sr. Vice President of Operations and Business Development within the Professional and Technical Services Group of GP Strategies Corporation. With over twenty-five years of experience in adult learning and training consulting, Eric oversees the strategic approaches and successful launch of performance improvement projects, services, sales, and marketing activities focused on multiple market sectors including Electronics/Semiconductor, Oil and Gas, Petrochemical, Pharmaceutical, Aerospace, Metals, and Heavy Industries. Eric has been published multiple times on topics ranging from executing blended learning, training business process outsourcing strategies, bridging the aging workforce and recently the 70:20:10 learning approach.Prior to joining GP Eric served in the United States Navy for six years as a Lead Engineering Laboratory Technician, Mechanical Lead, and Master Training Specialist certified for the nuclear powered submarine force. He works from GP's Pottstown, PA office.

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