Fortune Global 5 Refinery Saves Over $2.1 MM In Only Six Weeks

Once the ACS Gate Log was automated and the owner's pay rules and schedules applied, there was a significant decrease of Straight Time, Over Time and Double Time for a savings of 11.7%.  These savings originated from offsite work validated by the owner, early out gate punches, late arrival gate punches and various other situations that weren't aligned with the Terms and Conditions of the contract.

The table below shows the Total calculations and what should have been invoiced and paid by the owner.  The Owner paid $18MM for just these three contractors during the 45-day turnaround when they should have paid $2.1MM less.



Detailed Contractor Findings

Each contractor was analyzed fully and detailed below are the various findings.  As you can see, each contractor had varying degrees of contractual compliance issues:

Contractor 1

  • Hours on the invoice appear to be based on time-on-site rather than scheduled time.

  • Billable time is routinely rounded up to next half-hour increment. Even when only a few minutes of the half-hour are worked, the entire half-hour increment is billed.

  • There are 479 occurrences of personnel arriving more than five minutes late.

  • There are 906 occurrences of personnel exiting the refinery 10-20 minutes early.

  • There are 223 occurrences where onsite time is less than two hours, but the corresponding invoice time is greater than four hours.

  • Out of 7,254 invoice-detail lines, TRACK found 4,546 discrepancies -- some of which are legitimate differences due to off-site work, etc.

  • Out of 7,254 invoice-detail lines, 3,270 have discrepancies of two hours or less. This is significant because smaller variations are less likely to be explained as off-site work.

  • The TRACK-calculated invoice error rate is 8.89% on hours and 12.87% on dollars.

Contractor 2

  • On five occasions, it appears that a four-hour minimum was used for billing. Procurement indicates that a two-hour minimum is contractual. Contract compliance is difficult when left to manual processes.

  • There are 23 occurrences of personnel arriving more than five minutes late.

  • There are 482 occurrences of personnel exiting the refinery 10-20 minutes early.

  • Out of 8,941 invoice-detail lines, TRACK found 3,041 discrepancies, some of which are legitimate differences due to off-site work.

  • Out of 8,941 invoice-detail lines, 2,267 have discrepancies of two hours or less.

  • The TRACK-calculated invoice error rate is 4.99% on hours and 7.15% on dollars.

Contractor 3

  • Hours on the invoice appear to be based on time calculated from first-in to last-out badge events. This method discounts interim time off-site and doesn't account for hours worked within schedule.

  • A two-hour minimum was applied to all personnel regardless of hours worked.

  • There are 23 occurrences of personnel arriving more than five minutes late.

  • There are 994 occurrences of personnel exiting the refinery 5-10 minutes early.

  • There are 24 occurrences of personnel exiting the refinery 10-20 minutes early.

  • Out of the 6,315 invoice-detail lines, TRACK found 918 discrepancies, some of which are legitimate differences due to off-site work.

  • Out of 6,315 invoice-detail lines, 610 have discrepancies of two hours or less.

  • The TRACK-calculated invoice error rate is 3.58% on hours and 4.39% on dollars.


The Analysis Process

TRACK starts with a standard process for Analysis and then customizes it for each Owner.  This ensures an accurate and complete review, giving TRACK total confidence that the savings clamied can be substantiated:

  • Select sample data (turnaround activities -- April1-May 15)

    • Contractor 1 -- 303 personnel

    • Contractor 2 -- 405 personnel

    • Contractor 3 -- 208 personnel

  • Collect data required for TRACK setup and execution

    • ACS perimeter gate IN and OUT badge events

    • Contractor personnel (company, name, craft)

    • Contract T's & C's

      • Labor rates by craft (straight, premium, shift differentials)

      • Pay calculation rules

        • Early time before schedule; late time after schedule

        • Rounding, grace period

        • Lunch deduction

        • Overtime rules (e.g., OT>40 hrs./wk.)

    • Work schedules by personnel (shift schedule start and end times)

  • Collect invoices submitted by the vendors for selected timeframe

    • Labor invoices

    • Timesheet back-up details

  • Set up TRACK master data

    • Prepare gate-event data for import

    • Configure TRACK Agreements, Skills, Rates, Schedules and Pay Formulas

    • Resolve personnel name discrepancies between gate log and invoice/timesheet records

    • Assign personnel to appropriate work schedules

    • Resolve missing IN/OUT events

  • Execute TRACK -- daily/day-to-day basis

    • Eliminate unresolved data exceptions to ensure integrity in the data sample

    • Calculate results by company, by person, by day

  • Compare TRACK results to invoice documentation

    • Load Invoice/Timesheet details into Excel

    • Load TRACK calculated values into Excel

    • Identify mismatches

  • Analyze mismatches to ensure completeness and accuracy of data

    • Eliminate incomplete or invalid data samples

  • Publish the report and present findings

To learn more, call 800.532.8348 and speak with a member of the TRACK Software Consulting Services Team

Fortune Global 10 Refinery Saves Over $600K On 30-Day Turnaround Using TRACK

A FORTUNE Global 10 refinery with sites all over North America engaged TRACK Software for a “parallel pilot” for their upcoming turnaround.  For the purposes of the pilot, TRACK™ operated in parallel with existing cost tracking and contractor management processes.  The objectives were as follows:

  • Provide first-hand experience to validate the value and benefits of TRACK

  • Provide project data in support of a timely and cost-effective turnaround

  • Report contractually-compliant contractor hours and costs, and identify variances against their current, manual process

TRACK was installed as a SaaS solution (‘software-as-a-service’) and hosted by TRACK Software – requiring only a web client at the customer site.  TRACK Software consultants were on-site during the 30-day turnaround to perform daily operations, resolve data exceptions, and allocate hours and costs to validated work orders.

There were two major findings:

  • Cost tracking and reporting, as implemented at the plant, is resource intensive and does not provide the accurate real-time information needed to proactively manage and control costs, especially during a fast-paced turnaround.

  • Refinery’s cost accounting and invoicing processes are heavily dependent on the accuracy of vendor inputs and provide for limited verification of service receipts. For the turnaround period (Oct-3 to Nov-3), TRACK calculated a 10% overstatement of contractor billable hours, representing a potential savings of $648,000.

The Current Process
The current turnaround cost tracking processes at the refinery demonstrated a number of fundamental issues:

  • Cost analysts are consumed with data collection and reporting activities; little time available for analysis.

  • The primary cost control mechanism is the budget (spending up to the budget number is expected).

  • Cost collection is an accurate process separate from vendor invoicing and verification.

  • Cost reporting is not timely (cost meeting every other day due to work load and limited resources).

  • Labor, material and equipment charges are not validated by contractual terms and conditions.

  • Work completion (percent) is not routinely input on the cost sheets; precluding final cost projections.

  • Excel spreadsheet is cumbersome (updated manually, single user access, frequent format changes).

  • Little or no cost information received from outside service vendors (invoice submitted post-turnaround).

  • SAP service and timesheet entries are approved without first-hand knowledge of service receipts.

  • Lack of vendor discipline impacts the ability to capture costs accurately on a daily basis.

  • Contract rate schedules, terms & conditions are not current or readily available for the cost analyst.

  • Special deals (fixed fees, consolidated-skill rates, inclusive rates, etc.) are not well communicated.

  • Gate logs are not complete for audit process (missing badge events).

 The Approach

  • Five turnaround contractors were identified and corresponding master data was gathered and loaded: commercial terms & conditions, contractor personnel, schedules, crafts and rates.

  • Active work orders were identified and entered into TRACK at each of the three units. These work orders form the basis for cost allocation and reporting.

  • TRACK’s SaaS service was deployed in Houston for the parallel pilot. Database backups were performed nightly to ensure the integrity of the plant’s data. Uptime availability of the system during the turnaround was 100%. Transaction response times were measured typically in the range of 1-3 seconds.

  • Gate card reads were extracted from the plant’s access control system on a nightly basis and transmitted via the Web for processing. On-site, net-billable hours and contractually complaint costs were calculated by TRACK for Time & Materials labor.

  • TRACK Software consultants performed daily operations to resolve data exceptions and allocate hours and costs to validated work orders.

  • Comparison of contractor hours and costs by day identifying variances in reported costs versus TRACK gate validation and automated calculations.

Work Process Comparison
The plant’s existing cost tracking and reporting process is separate from the vendor’s invoice and payment stream; a parallel operation.  Therefore, cost tracking and reporting is an overhead process dependent upon the discipline of the vendor for accurate inputs.  Because the reporting stream is separate from the invoice process, the two systems are subject to discrepancies that will not be apparent until the vendor submits an invoice for payment.

TRACK integrates daily cost collection and reporting with the vendor’s invoicing process.  This is done by providing an interface of authorized charges to the owner’s Accounts Payable system and to the contractor.  The contractor is paid through the reconciling of hours and costs in TRACK.  The daily acceptance of charges by the contractor, and the authorization of charges by the owner results in a single, accurate and real-time source of cost information.

In just 30 days, the parallel pilot demonstrated that TRACK would have saved the plant nearly $650,000 during their 30-day turnaround.