In the business world, there’s the familiar expression “It’s not what you know, it’s who you know.” In the oil and gas industry, there is a similar expression—“It’s not what is made, it’s how it’s made.”

No one understands the meaning of this expression better than Solomon. Since 1996, we’ve been studying the “how” of the refining and petrochemical industry thanks to our International Study of Plant Reliability and Maintenance Effectiveness (RAM Study). Our years of comparing companies, sites, and units in terms of maintenance costs and mechanical availability has provided us with an unmatched understanding of what it takes to be successful in this highly competitive industry. Our findings show that paying attention to the “how” can make all the difference in an organization’s success.

The “Why” of RAM

Before the “how” can be explained, one must first address the “why” one should participate in Solomon’s RAM Study. Simply put, the study helps clients identify and calculate areas where their reliability and maintenance performance could be improved to increase profitability. We review our findings with clients on a yearly basis to provide the most comprehensive set of reliability and maintenance standards in the industry. It goes without saying that improved reliability can positively affect an organization by not only increasing profitability but increasing customer loyalty and employee engagement. Participation in our RAM Study provides clients the ability to uncover hidden opportunities that have the potential to save them millions of dollars.

The “What” of RAM

The next step is identifying the “what” of Solomon’s RAM Study. What is it? Simply put, the RAM Study provides a detailed analysis identifying the areas requiring improvement regarding client reliability and maintenance performance. As part of our analysis, we review the operational and financial data of each client’s organization. Our goal is to highlight areas of improvement that help clients develop the most effective reliability and maintenance strategy available.

Utilizing our database of more than 8,000 process units, Solomon measures the effectiveness of our client’s maintenance and reliability program:

  • Exploring outage and cost factors to maximize operations and reliability.
  • Identifying equipment with frequent problems, unusual work hours, and spares requirements.
  • Optimizing maintenance effectiveness.
  • Helping to identify the areas where improvement and priorities need to be made to effectively manage resources.
  • Creating an optimal maintenance effectiveness program by increasing our client’s profitability and competitiveness.

 Our study provides:

  • Standard metrics for analyzing performance.
  • Gap analysis comparing performance to top performers.
  • Performance comparisons at the production unit and site level.
  • Comparisons across geographic regions.

The “How” of RAM

With the “why” and “what” solved, now we can answer the “how” of the RAM Study.

After more than 20 years of reliability and maintenance analysis, our data has irrefutably proven that “how” a product is made has the greatest effect on a company’s performance. Whether it’s the assets or the people used to make the product, when these two factors are operating at their optimum, an organization’s success is secure. This point is illustrated time and time again through our study results. Despite our client’s initial belief that it is “what” they’re making that will determine their profitability, it just isn’t true. Sure, the technology used to produce the product might vary from one organization to the next and that difference might lead a client to believe their product is the source of their profitability and productivity issues, but when RAM Study results are revealed, our clients are often surprised to learn it is the “how” of their organization that could make the difference. Even if it is as simple as changing the mindset and focus of their workers, in altering “how” their product is made, our clients quickly understand the results of our RAM Studies don’t lie!

Whether you are a large or small organization within the oil and gas industry, participating in a Solomon RAM Study is an essential step in ensuring the success of your organization. It can help you identify areas for potential improvement, determine the causes of unit downtime, and highlight excessive labor and material costs, all of which can increase production capacity. In essence, the study can improve an organization’s reliability and maintenance, two very important factors in anyone’s success. So if you’re asking yourself why you should participate in a RAM Study, it’s time to ask yourself something different: how? Solomon knows all about the “how.”