Running Like Clockwork: How to Effectively Run a Plant Installation

Whether you're building an entirely new site or merely expanding an old one, conducting a plant installation can be a large and stressful venture that eats up both time and resources.  With pressures mounting from management to conduct the work quickly, safety experts to conduct the work safely and floor staff to conduct the work practically, it may feel like there are one too many demands on your time — at least.  In order to avoid being pulled in all these different directions during the installation, try to prepare in advance by following these steps.

Plan Clearly and Broadly

In developing an idea for how the installation will play out, you should try to cover all eventualities.  To do this most effectively, you should bring people in from every aspect of the installation.  You should be speaking to health and safety professionals, engineers, managers and HR staff alike.  As you develop your plan, leaving room for flexibility, you should make sure that every team — and every individual employee — is able to follow what is happening at any given time.  That way, if anybody isn't sure what's happening or what their current responsibilities are, you can refer them to this outline.

Keep Alternates to Hand

Though it can be hard to encourage those managing the budgets to comply, it's vital to have alternate parts, resources and employees to hand at all times.  Regardless of what industry you're working in, there's no predicting how events might unfold.  Construction work requires flexibility, but you cannot be flexible if you don't have a good supply of people and products to keep things moving.  For example, you wouldn't want to be knocked off schedule by a flu bug that wipes out a third of your installation team — so have replacements on call.

Communicate Openly

As mentioned in the first point, ensuring that everybody knows the plan is very important - but so too are continued good communications throughout the duration of the installation project.  Keep your managers and their teams abreast of any developments, good or bad.  While news of setbacks may feel demotivational, it's even more demotivational for employees to have this news sprung on them at the last minute as they're unexpectedly asked to work overtime.  As such, in this scenario, biting the bullet and letting them know straight away that they may be asked to work over will pay off in the long run.

In essence, the physical parts of the plant you're installing are only half of what you're managing in a big installation, and it's vital to remember that.  Management of people and careful planning are both equally as necessary as the mechanics of the thing.  Don't lose sight of that and focus solely on the equipment and finish line, and your installation should run smoothly.