Technical audit at a process plant enables businesses to improve the efficiency of the process and produce quality products. Auditing a process plant helps identify bottlenecks in the system, optimize, improve performance, realign strategies, enable continuous improvement, and implement corrective actions where necessary. In addition, a technical audit of a process plant helps enhance and identify the existing challenges in the system.
Auditing a process plant involves various processes like Hydrogenation, oil extraction, oil refinery, and many others. Auditing these processes help organizations to optimize their capacity, run efficiently in terms of cost, energy, and raw materials. In addition, process upgradation, monitoring, control, and automation are more manageable with the technical audit.
Following a standard auditing technique, examining the processes at every step, and evaluating the process helps auditors better understand the plant operations, analyse the guidelines adherence, target achievement, and the sync up of processes without any overlaps. While a technical audit of a process plant seems reasonably straightforward, it involves precise planning of various steps to ensure target results.
5S audits in process plants
- Sorting helps to remove unnecessary items
- Setting order helps organize and identify storage for efficient use of raw materials and finished products.
- Shine through regular cleaning and inspection of all the areas.
- Standardization of processes.
- Sustain with a continual commitment by making it an ongoing process.
Benefits of the 5s Program
Adapting the 5s program helps:
- Enables to get rid of the clutter and increase productivity with organized tools and raw materials management.
- Optimized utilization of materials, equipment, and workforce.
- Less clutter means no spillage, pileups, and injuries so that workers do not suffer from fatigue and other hazards.
- Organized management with standardized cleaning and inspection process helps reduce equipment downtime.
- Elimination of failures and standardized work processes will help improve productivity.
- Efficient management helps improve the performance of the workforce, increase employee morale, and thereby improve the company's overall performance.
Purpose of a Technical Audit
A technical audit of a process plant helps verify the processes, limitations of the existing operations, and bottlenecks in the system. It also helps to demonstrate the adherence of inputs, actions, and outputs to the 5S of the audit.
Let us look at a few planning steps involved to perform a technical audit at a process plant efficiently:
Predetermine the process: List out the areas to be audited. The parameters to be considered at the audit time must be predetermined so that a thorough evaluation is possible.
Plan and schedule: Technical audits help to evaluate the process and suggest overall improvements. That is why it is vital to keep the stakeholders involved and inform them beforehand about the audit schedule to ensure efficient management.
Documentation: The audit generally reveals the problem areas in the process and their effects. Documentation of the findings can help formulate corrective actions and follow-ups to achieve them.
Monitoring: Monitoring the changes helps determine whether the corrective actions have made a difference in improving the process and if it requires any change of action. The pre-site visit activities of a technical audit involve planning, compiling the checklists, and collecting information about the plant. The onsite activities include conducting a meeting, collecting data, gathering information through checklists, observations, interviewing the key personnel, and closing the meeting.
The auditing team visits and assesses the processes and operations to analyze various factors like storage capacity, waste management, supply & storage of raw materials, chemical handling, housekeeping, safety measures, and any health hazards. The auditing process includes types of equipment, their monitoring, calibration, accuracy, monitoring, quality control, and a few other areas. The technical audit plan at a process plant helps identify the challenges in the existing process in terms of energy, chemical, and raw materials consumption through quantitative analysis. It helps to find ways to improve yields, reduce energy consumption, and help manage raw materials efficiently.
The auditing checklist includes:
- List of data to be collected.
- Steps to be followed at the time of conducting the audit.
- Collecting data about the existing measurement methods.
- Analysis of processes/equipment.
- Any other concerns and considerations.
After a thorough analysis and data collection about the production process, raw materials used, and technology/ machinery involved, the audit process concludes with observations. The audit report includes:
- Description of the existing processes and their connection with the other production processes.
- Findings of the production process audit and the parameters observed and analyzed list.
- Cost analysis with ROI.
- Test results of the product sample test about the consumption of materials, utilities, energy, production planning, and other related data.
- Conclusion with relevant recommendations on revamping and performance improvement.
Benefits of technical audit at a process plant
- Helps to identify the bottlenecks in the existing process.
- Enables process improvement.
- Helps to implement cost efficient procurement methods.
- Helps to reduce project and annual cost.
- Enables timely completion of projects.
- Improves the quality of the output.
- Enables to optimize raw materials and the process efficiently.
A well-planned and organized technical audit of a process plant enables a proper evaluation of the entire production process with supporting calculations, observations, data collection, and analysis of the utilities, energies, consumables, and process flow diagrams. The recommendations of the technical audit enable the management to formulate plans that help them optimize the inputs, improve efficiency, increase the output, and devise methods for the safety of the workforce from any hazards at the workplace.
A well-designed technical audit plan should cover all aspects of the manufacturing process. It should also involve the key stakeholders, inform them about the technical audit, seek their inputs, and formulate the audit plan accordingly to avoid any hindrances to the existing operations schedule. A well-designed technical audit keeps all the departments involved, enables the acquisition of the correct data, and empowers the auditing team to provide recommendations that help remove the bottlenecks in the process and improve the ROI from all aspects of production.
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