Company | In depth

Learning from Best Practices
MORE EFFICIENT ACTIVITIES. The aim of the project is to improve how our facilities work, especially as concerns safety and the environment.

At CLH, we’re improving how our facilities operate with an initiative based on teamwork, collaboration and the exchange of ideas.

Sharing knowledge, taking advantage of experience and working as a team are some of the principles that have led our company to growing, improving and adapting to the new times.

It is in accordance with this philosophy that the Corporate Operations Department implemented an initiative in 2016 to tweak operational discipline at our facilities and ensure the processes and equipment that intervene work properly without adding any risks to our operations. In addition, it creates a collaborative environment for the exchange of ideas and best practices that can be spread to all facilities.

This project, known as the Process Safety Verification Programme, “consists of having a facility head and a maintenance manager check that all processes and the equipment involved with them are working properly by visiting other facilities. Later on, the process verification team acts as the host at their own facility by also receiving a visit,” explains the Corporate Director of Operations, José Luis Conde. Therefore, they are not considered inspections or audits.

Shared Experience

Ever since it was implemented, nearly 20 facilities have participated in this project and the goal is to gradually reach all of them. The verification visits always include five people. Besides the two plant heads, one as the visitor and the other as the host, two heads from the Peripheral Maintenance Centre also attend to add their knowledge. The idea is to work in different geographic areas so the experience is even more enriching since they usually have less opportunities to collaborate with each other.

This visits allow us to share work methods and extract best practices

The fifth member of the group is always the Quality Manager, Víctor Roselló, who is leading this initiative and coordinating the visits. “Our goal is to check on the ground that the processes are safe, guarantee we comply with the most demanding standards and reinforce the leadership of our heads in their process management.”

The visits last two days as those involved tour all the major areas of each facility and complete various checks such as of the general conditions, the operation of the main equipment, cleaning and signage. “They are flexible visits where we ask the heads if they need help with any process or if they would like us to focus on a specific issue to clear up any doubts.”

A list of topics is created for all visits for analysis. This checklist has been reworked several times since the project began with new sections. It currently includes the verification of very different processes related to the most important systems and equipment such as tanks, dikes, valves, pipes, loading areas, wastewater treatment plants and tanker ship mooring at coastal facilities.

Besides studying everything on the list, this programme is also aimed at discovering best practices the various facilities have implemented on their own, guided by logic and coherency. “We’re talking about ingenious solutions with positive results that can sometimes be expanded to the other facilities,” says Roselló.

Ongoing Improvement

Once visits have ended, a report is issued for each terminal with the main conclusions as well as a list of best practices or recommendations.

After completion of the annual visit plan, a work group comprised of representatives from Operations, Engineering, Maintenance or HSSE, analyses the results of the different reports and extracts the main conclusions. Then, they consult with the areas involved to implement corrective measures for anything where there is room for improvement.

The results of the visits make it possible to propose improvement measures and recommendations to reinforce facility operations

This year alone, 16 projects have been completed and another 20 initiatives are currently underway. These actions are all very diverse in nature and have made it possible to standardise terminal operations through the approval of new technical instructions and work data sheets in addition to strengthening safety in very different areas such as tank filling control, the operation of foam circuits and the handling of deposit bleed equipment which now must feature new anti-overflow mechanisms.

In short, it is thanks to this collaboration and teamwork that this project is allowing our company to guarantee safety and environmental respect at our facilities as well as the quality of the services we provide our customers.