Actenum Scheduling Software Reduces Idle Time


Actenum Scheduling Software Reduces Idle Time


Eliminating a year of idle time by scheduling more effectively

Scheduling plant shutdowns is essential for optimizing efficiency and running smooth operations throughout the year, and require well-organized labor and equipment to work on a large number of tasks for an intensive period of days or weeks. They are necessary because equipment needs to be maintained and overhauled, and sometimes replaced; as well, shutdowns may be required by federal and state governing agencies to prevent accidents and to ensure that a plant is running within required regulations. Time is money, so effective and efficient site-specific schedules are critical to running a safe and effective shutdown. And since many facilities will undergo inspection while a shutdown is underway, unforeseen tasks may crop up and need to be inserted into the schedule if any issues are found.

Recently, a heavy industrial plant contacted Actenum to help schedule a 4-day shutdown at their plant. To ensure they made the right decisions about using their crews, the plant gave us their MS-Project schedule and asked if it could be improved upon. Actenum responded with a solution that scheduled tasks, materials, and people in an optimal way. Our DSO scheduling software loaded the MS-Project schedule, and then rapidly optimized it to eliminate as much non-productive time (NPT) as possible. This was easy to do using the built-in AI-powered optimization engine, and also eliminated the need for auxiliary applications, spreadsheets, and time-consuming manual calculations.

AI-powered software

Our AI-powered software took all constraints into account to eliminate idle time. It analyzed the mix of labor involved and their assigned tasks, and then automatically optimized the schedule so that people were working and not waiting. With everything and everyone scheduled for maximum efficiency, resources were able to be used to their fullest with activities unfolding in the best order to ensure fewer interruptions in the shutdown.

Actenum’s software also enabled everyone involved in the shutdown to benefit from a complete, single-source view of scheduled operations.

Eliminating 366 days of idle time

By optimizing shutdown activities, Actenum provided a 4% improvement in reduction of idle time. In terms of days, this represented eliminating 366 days of idle time.

In terms of financial savings, considering a cost of $500 a day multiplied by 366 days, the plant potentially saved $183,000 in just three days. And because shutdowns can take place as many as six times per year at the plant, the potential savings can exceed $2 Million. “This was a very significant achievement because of the huge savings our scheduling software has enabled our client to enjoy,” said Owen Plowman, VP Business Development, Actenum. “Our software helped align our client’s operational decisions automatically with business goals to maximize their return on investment through intelligent, responsive, resource allocation.”

In addition to optimizing schedules against non-productive time, Actenum can also optimize against cost targets. The schedulers were immediately able to see the impact of their decisions on costs using “What if?” scenarios and advanced analytics, so that it was easy to determine whether adding additional resources for certain activities would save time but exceed budget.

Increased efficiency, reduced costs

Plant shutdowns are one of the most critical periods in the operation of a plant. They can affect the plant’s financial future in either a positive or negative way: revenue lost by shutting down a plant can amount to a significant portion of an annual budget. Actenum scheduling software is a proven way to optimize a plant shutdown schedule and maximize financial savings.

To schedule a demonstration to learn more about how Actenum scheduling software can optimize your operations, contact us at

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