It may feel like we fast forwarded straight from early spring to mid-autumn this year, but, in industrial settings at least, the normal routines of the calendar still apply. With local lockdowns and fluctuating R numbers, how we’ll celebrate the festive season at home is still uncertain, but the predictability of a Christmas shutdown is more important than ever. As we look ahead to 2021 and the demands of competing during the recovery, it’s essential to plan ahead for scheduled downtime, including all heavy machinery installation, decommissioning, removal or relocation requirements.
At AIS Vanguard, we specialise in working with companies across a huge variety of industrial and commercial sectors to help them maximise the value of planned downtime, including the Christmas shutdown. This is the most important maintenance period for many operators, which often means disconnecting assets to enable maintenance, machinery removal to allow work to be carried out on the building or heavy machinery installation to replace redundant assets or adjust process capabilities.
Our role is not just providing the specialist equipment and on-site expertise to carry out projects, including technical and complex lifts and all mechanical and electrical requirements; it’s also to help our customers to plan their project, ensuring their objectives are met and the value of their Christmas shutdown is fully realised.
This year, that planning process is more critical than ever. 2020 has been a challenging and unpredictable year, which has resulted in spikes in demand for some, while others have been operating at reduced capacity. As we look ahead to 2021, it’s clear that there is more uncertainty ahead, which, combined with the extraordinary times that have affected us all over the past few months, means that businesses may need to think beyond their usual Christmas shutdown routines and use the time to optimise their assets, both operationally and commercially.
As an experienced industrial services specialist with a 40-year track record, AIS Vanguard has the expertise, resources and equipment assets to support industrial and commercial companies in leveraging maximum value from their Christmas shutdown. Our team works with customers to understand their commercial priorities and operational parameters for the Christmas shutdown period so that we can advise on sequencing activity in a way that is time-efficient and aligned to both their objectives and their budget.
This approach includes creating a critical path with clear and accountable deadlines for each element of Christmas shutdown maintenance and asset optimisation requirements, along with a detailed and bespoke method statement and risk assessment. Our team works with customers in the lead up to the shutdown over the Christmas period to finalise these plans and carry out any preparatory work that can be done while the environment is still operational. This may include diversions to mechanical and electrical services, modifications to the building for access or egress, or decommissioning and removal or redundant assets to make space for new machinery or construction work.
With as much as possible planned and carried out in advance, we can then work with customers to deliver their industrial services requirements within their Christmas shutdown period. Our team ensures we are ready to hit the ground running when the customer’s last shift ends and have completed all activity in time for the first shift to begin on time when the Christmas shutdown period is over.
The Christmas shutdown is so much more than a marker of the end of the year in many environments; it is a staging post for operational efficiency and commercial strategy for the year ahead. Our philosophy is to plan well and plan early and, in a year where thinking ahead has been more complex and challenging than ever, meticulous planning and implementation of Christmas shutdown maintenance and adjustments has never been more vital.