6 Tips For Handling A Factory Shutdown


Factory shutdowns, or plant turnarounds, are among the most crucial times in the operation of a plant. While many factories dread the slowdown associated with them, factory shutdowns are necessary to ensure that a factory runs smoothly and safely. Plant turnarounds are when a factory halts part or all of its operations for a significant time.

These periods are usually intended for equipment maintenance, replacement, or upgrades. These shutdowns can be costly and complex, leading to complications and lost production if not handled properly. Due to this, operations managers may put them off.

However, you don’t have to avoid a factory shutdown. We recommend following these 6 tips to ensure your factory’s planned turnaround project goes smoothly with as few complications as possible.

Plan Early

Planning as early as possible when handling a factory shutdown is one of the most critical steps. While planning years in advance may not be feasible, it is recommended that you perform a plant turnaround once a year. It is also recommended that turnaround managers begin planning months before the factory shutdown is scheduled.

Early planning gives project management time to consider how well the team is trained and adjust to make up for any shortcomings. It will also provide time to consider previous shutdowns and how they were handled.

Make A Detailed Schedule

Regardless of what type of factory shutdown is occurring, having a clear schedule is a top priority when implementing effective turnaround management. This helps to ensure the factory shutdown doesn’t interfere with other jobs. Detailed planning of the shutdown should be included on the schedule to ensure all employees are aware of the effects.

Value Communication

Factory shutdowns can be dangerous, especially if the people involved do not communicate effectively. Early engagement with your team prior to the factory shutdown, such as indicating a plan for possible lead times, can be beneficial. You can successfully communicate by informing everyone about the plan and what their active role will be.

Employers must also make sure that communication is clear to avoid any potential harmful mistakes, injuries, and hazards. To be safe, everyone involved in the process should be on the same page of what is expected. A great way to do this can be by giving everyone handheld radios. This will allow accessible communication between the team members.

Ensure Workers are Assigned Properly

It is important to assign your team properly to ensure that your employees understand their role in a factory shutdown. Often, those roles can change depending on work conditions, areas needing extra maintenance or other reasons that may require a shift in roles. Confirming your workers are assigned properly can make a factory shutdown more efficient.

During a factory shutdown, properly managing your machinery can also lead to a successful plant turnaround. Having qualified and fully trained workers overlooking the operations and guiding equipment transport can help make any factory shutdown go smoothly.

Document the Steps

Detailed planning, scheduling, and budgeting require access to records from previous factory shutdowns, so documenting all steps can help future turnarounds. Detailed documentation on your machine’s maintenance will also help you pass the required inspections.

Plant executives and outage workers need the full protocol of the plant shutdown for future training. They will also want to know who will perform the work and which energy sources need to be controlled. Documentation of all this information and where control boxes are can be beneficial for the next factory shutdown.


Once you have finished your factory shutdown, the best practice is to conduct a meeting to review the modified parts and components. Documenting throughout the turnover will help summarize each project phase, allowing a final report to be created and used for the subsequent factory turnovers. Following these 6 tips can help you have a successful plant shutdown.

Sack Co. Can Help

Using an experienced company like ours will allow you to have your factory’s shutdown project completed efficiently and adequately. Since our beginnings in 1945, we have provided our customers with guaranteed quality performance on all our customer’s factory shutdowns.



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