Our goal in commissioning is to reduce the total time and risk, to accelerate the production of sellable product, and quickly resolve any issues that may prevent full productivity. Said another way, we eliminate most of the delays that are all too common during startups.
Commissioning, startup, operations, ramp up. These terms are used similarly and may or may not mean the same thing to some people. For the sake of this conversation, we are talking about the planning for and execution of the processes that take the new facility or line from installation, I/O checks, and basic vendor checkout, to the point they are making sellable product and can include taking them further to full operation at rate.
There are several established methods that go by an alphabet soup of acronyms that some organization use to guide this process. CQV (Commissioning, Qualification and Verification or Validation). IQ/OQ/PQ (Installation Qualification, Operational Qualification, Production/Product Qualification). VSU (Vertical Start-up), which is a licensed approach. For us, these are more alike than different, and mean an organized approach to planning for and executing the commissioning preparation and execution.
The Periscope Method pairs the best of these approaches and tools with a seasoned veteran of many startups. If you are using any of the methods we mentioned (license required for VSU) we can merge the Periscope Method with any of them so you are using terms and tools that you are used to, enhanced by our own when it seems useful.
We are set apart from the typical engineering firm by including more thorough planning, more operational experience and better commissioning tools. While the engineering firm is still busy building the project, we are planning the people, materials, product sequence and testing procedures for an optimum test plan. Instead of stopping when the machinery is cycling, or basic line controls are running, we continue until you are at rate and on a path to sustained rate. Our operational expertise takes into account the food safety, EHS, logistics, utilities and maintenance needs of the new system.
We are often asked when is the best time to engage us for commissioning activities. The short answer is the sooner the better. Having twice the time to plan doesn’t double the cost, but it can double or triple the effectiveness of our commissioning plan.
Better than nothing: We start when you start commissioning, or even later, when you find yourself in trouble. There is no planning we can do, but we can introduce simple tools to organize our remaining efforts and a trained commissioning agent to triage problems and provide solutions.
Good: We are engaged several weeks prior to the end of installation and I/O checks. We provide some basic planning on sequence of testing and introduce basic tools to improve the transitions into testing. Commissioning testing is an organized event.
Better: Engaged several months prior to commissioning, we work part time to better plan the sequence of testing, testing procedures, materials and resources needed. We write a commissioning plan that optimizes this phase and introduce additional tools to insure there are few gaps if any. Basic collaboration with product development needs further improves the ramp-up. We provide ramp-up tracking tools to monitor that phase.
Best: Brought in a year or more prior to commissioning, we influence the entire operational planning. We address staffing, training, the preparation of procedures in maintenance, food safety, occupational safety. We plan the logistics and materials needed for commissioning and ramp up. We shepherd the creation of formulas, ingredient validation and further optimize the project testing to include product development validation.