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Author's profile photo Hisham GOUDA

SAP Shutdown Turnaround and Outages for Energy and Natural Resources Industries – Part 1

Shutdown Turnaround and Outage (STO) events are critical to energy and process industries to ensure that assets run to their intended capacity safely and efficiently. Competitive pressure, regulatory compliance, and technological innovation force businesses to adopt new and innovative technologies.

Companies spend millions on strategy design, business process re-engineering, and the development of IT systems. They are seeking to optimize, speed up and simplify the STO processes. However, in most organizations, the STO processes and the IT landscape have grown organically over many decades, resulting in many point solutions with little or no integration and, therefore, little capability to support any optimization and real-time visibility.

Shutting down a primary production facility or portions of a significant asset is a large and complex project that touches multiple disciplines. Not only can it consume up to 50% of the annual maintenance budget of a plant, but it is also a potential source of environmental, health, and safety incidents. It can negatively impact the reputation of an organization. Further, the loss of revenue and income during a shutdown is often multiple times the costs of the shutdown itself.

A typical refinery is shut down every 3 to 5 years for between 20 and 45 days. During the execution period, thousands of workers, including contractors, will work onsite. They will execute tens of thousands of tasks under immense time pressure under challenging conditions. The logistical and project management complexity is massive, and it is no surprise that a dedicated team takes more than 18 months to prepare the event, including procuring long lead time items and reliable materials, searching and selecting qualified and certified resources, and much more.

SAP has conducted in-depth research with customers and partners on identifying pain points, defining best-in-class STO processes, and designing a comprehensive and integrated STO management solution. It addresses challenges as diverse as end-to-end STO processes, scope management, non-integrated planning, long lead items tracking, safety, scheduling, effective real-time reporting, control of costs, risks, procurement challenges, and user-friendliness.

SAP-integrated STO solution brings substantial savings potential:

  • Reduction in production downtime; reduced planned downtime, overruns, and unplanned downtime.
  • Greatly enhanced ‘tool-time,’ operational staff spend less time on administration tasks.
  • Cost reduction of STO; reduced cost for material, external services, and internal resources. Avoiding emergency premiums and scope creep.

Other qualitative benefits:

  • Increase process standardization & data quality
  • Develop a more robust operational compliance
  • Enhance project and budget transparency
  • Improve user acceptance
  • Decreases Time of Handover back to Operations
  • Contract staff are quickly up the curve and enabled to immediately contribute


A successful STO solution needs to be a game changer compared to current solutions.

For further questions and early insights, please contact:

for global inquiry Hisham Gouda,

and EMEA Timothy Crossett

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      Author's profile photo Harini Murali
      Harini Murali

      Hi Hisham! It's a really good blog. Just wanted to understand more if you can guide where to look for and what is the road map planned for the solution. I couldn't get roadmap items relevant to maintenance in STO solution at the SAP Roadmap explorer.

      Author's profile photo Syed Abdul Wahab
      Syed Abdul Wahab

      Yes please enlighten on implementation guide @ hisham