Operational Excellence in fertilizer industry Development of guidelines and procedures

 AmmoniaKnowHow.com and UreaKnowHow.com have initiated a program to enhance the guidelines and procedures for operation, engineering, maintenance and process safety in the fertilizer industry utilizing the best practices and standards available today.

Using knowledge gained from our industry, historic risk registers, lessons learnt from projects and from FIORDA database, we are committed to give proper advice to improve safety, reliability and projects performance of fertilizer plants.

Our team would like to highlight to the readers and users attention that the guidances being published on AmmoniaKnowHow.com and UreaKnowHow.com in the coming months are not templates but are rather a structure necessary for creating your company’s own guidelines and procedures.

Why develop specific Guidelines or Procedures?

Guidelines and Procedures are developed to help staff and management teams run the organization. In the best use situations, procedures play a strategic role in an organization. They are developed in light of the mission and objectives of the company and they become the media by which management plans, rules, intents, and business and operation processes become documented and communicated to all staff.

Carefully drafted and standardized guidelines and procedures save the company countless hours of management time. Guidelines, procedures and employee handbook should be an important part of the operation. They should be the first thing given to a new employee (either in hard copy of an electronic version). They should also be easily accessible in their most up-to- date version. Hence it is extremely important that an organization’s procedures be a “living document” prepared and saved in Microsoft Word and easily exported into portable versions (like PDF) and made available over the company network.

Develop your own organization procedures

Although templates can give you a head start on procedures development, other factors must be considered as you write your own internal documents.

One factor is your organization’s culture. Organizational attitudes toward procedures determine the spectrum. On one end of the scale are companies that have a procedure for everything. At the other end of the spectrum are companies that only have a few guidelines (only those required by the laws that are relevant to that company). Most companies fall somewhere in between these two extremes. The manager writing any guideline needs to understand where on the spectrum the company falls and how the policy can be made to fit the organization’s culture to enhance compliance.

Other two factors to be consider when developing guidelines and procedures are the fertilizer technology that company employs and local and international standards applicable to the industry. Internal standards and procedures must be developed in line with these factors, being applicable for your own plants and in line with regulatory requirements.

The last, but not least, factor when developing your own procedures is the best industry practice that you need to employ. Liaison with your fertilizer association, participation in industry meetings and conferences and using fertilizer industry consultants can bring a fresh eye, new ideas and enhance the quality of your own guidelines and procedures.

These documents will offer guidance on the safe and practical design and operation of a wide range of gas processing systems, equipment and utilities commonly encountered by process engineers working in the fertilizer sector.

Similar documents probably have been done in the past. However, these have always been issued within the framework of individual projects and have inevitably consumed much of the lead engineer’s time during the process-critical phase. Projects are finite, key personnel are transient and historical data frequently comes without context. Consequently, in the absence of co-ordination, many of good technical guidelines risk being lost.

With the intent of more consistently applying the best practices and improving process efficiency, a consolidated set of guidances for developing procedures and guidelines in the fertilizer industry will be published by AmmoniaKnowHow.com. Efforts have been made to incorporate into the guidances the engineering lessons from the past projects.

It is the responsibility of the lead process engineers to assess whether a guidance presented here is applicable to their projects. Some of the detail in these documents may not be relevant for a given application; in other cases, supplementary material will be required. The level of engineering development required for a particular project (i.e. conceptual definition, FEED, tendering, detailed design) will influence how the process guidelines should be applied.

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