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    The New Industry Standard.


RCM International leads the Planning & Control of a factory rebuild and kiln shell replacement.

Critical Path Planning Techniques were born in the US during the mid fifties as a result of a need for more sophisticated, computer-based methods of planning and controlling maintenance outages & military development projects.

Originally implemented on mainframe computers the planning process was slow and laborious, but the results were so advantageous that many projects were planned on arrow diagrams or precedence networks by hand.

With the increased availability of Critical Path Planning Software for the IBM PC in the mid eighties many more organizations were able to access the computing power necessary to dramatically improve the planning resolution and control of projects.

Working as a consultant to Phillips Carbon Black Ltd. in 1985, Gary Dobson assisted the engineering department reduce their annual plant outage from 30 days to 12 days. The assignment used an IBM PC and software called Harvard Project Manager.

Early the next year he was again able to achieve exceptional result during an outage of the 3CR-12 Steel Furnace at Middleberg Steel and Alloys.

Since then tremendous improvements have been made in the software available, and the computer power to drive it. RCM has continued to use this progress to lead the field in the area of maintenance shutdown planning, and has achieved exceptional results in the Power Generation & Steel Industries, Mining, and more recently in the Cement Industry.


The Logic - Showing the Sequence & Dependencies.
Outage Critical Path Network for part of the annual outage.

The secret to the success of the Critical Path Method is that it
separates the Logic from the Timing.

In other words the sequence of activities is examined first, without considering time or resources.
This simplifies the planning phase substantially and makes it possible to plan to a much greater resolution and detail without confusion.

Services offered.

Facilitation - Developing Objectives and Plans.
Gary Dobson leads plant staff and contractors in the development of an Outage Critical Path Network.

RCM has taken this ‘step by step’ process even further and designed the tools, methods, and templates make it even simpler.      
Over the years we have not only managed to master the process, we have also found that it is possible to develop teams of people who become very competent in using the methods themselves.

The results are astounding in virtually any industry where the cost of ‘downtime’ is high due to the lost production.
We now offer a comprehensive range of consulting assistance options and training in Maintenance Outage Management including:
  • Defining the project and setting the Shutdown Objective.
  • The Strategic Planning of Outages and Production Campaigns.
  • Development of the Shutdown Budget (using our Budget Builder Software).
  • The establishment of Activity Lists, and Resource Requirements (using the Activity Builder Tool)
  • Facilitation of Shutdown Planning Meetings between Plant Staff and Contractors to develop the Critical Path Network.
  • Computerization of the Shutdown Network & customization of our ‘Shutdown Template’.
  • Representing the Client in planning meetings with contractors.
  • The development of pre-start networks.
  • On the Job Coaching of Planners.
  • Assistance with the monitoring of progress and changes to keep the plan on track.
  • Project Reports
  • The ‘Real-time’ tracking and controlling of all activities, contractor hrs, parts, work orders and costs using our Web-based Activity Progress Tracker at STOWebTrac.com.

Training is a key element for success.

Training the Management Team.
The management team attends formal training in the techniques.

Effective teamwork is essential to the success of an outage!
We invariably find that it is necessary to to communicate objectives, goals, responsibilities and plans very effectively if the outage is going to be a success.
Carefully designed and implemented training modules ensure that everyone involved has the essential knowledge they need.
Our suite of training courses includes:
  • Critical Path Planning for Maintenance Outages.
  • Maintenance Shutdown Management.
  • Shutdown Planning on Computer.
  • Shutdown Management Overview.
  • Introduction to Critical Path Planning.
  • Shutdown Planning Specialist Certification Program. (A two-year program with four one-week courses with practical modules between).

Facilitating Teams to Develop the Network Logic.
Tim Dobson (Consultant) and Al Sienza (Maintenance Planner) - Greencastle IN - 2004

Combining classroom training with some consulting assistance can accelerate the planning process and degree of acceptance among staff.
Although all the techniques and skills we teach are easy to understand and apply, the confidence provided by a facilitator who has done the job before eliminates the time wasted on unnecessary discussion, keeps the group on track, and produces results quickly.

For more information.