Since several of our blogs deal with the issue of procuring valves and the challenges that companies face when trying to get on an approved manufacturers and suppliers list, I thought it might be time to actually give the word to an end-user to give an impression of how they work to keep their refinery running.
When I visited GRUPA LOTOS I had the chance to talk to Mr Grzegorz Błędowski, the refinery’s Technical Director. He explained to me that at his refinery combines procurement and maintenance under one hat. “We decided that procurement should be part of the maintenance process and is considered to be a production supporting process. We have to look at the whole picture when we look at costs. Not only manpower costs, but we also have to think about materials, spare parts and services – the whole chain. Being aware of the whole process means we can better assess any risk and can understand the consequences of something not being in place at the right time. We can be well prepared in manpower but can do nothing without the necessary spare parts, for example. The KPIs are also the same for the procurement department and one of these is plant availability so we push the procurement department into doing everything a little faster, albeit still according to procedures. Maybe this is not the way that many companies work but in our situation it works well.”
He also mentioned that like other refineries, they also do work with a list of companies that are supplying materials and parts to Grupa LOTOS. The foundation for this list was made in 2000, when the refinery went into a big investment programme which had the goal to increase the annual production. So, they put together a list of vendors and suppliers of services and goods such as pumps, valves, static equipment like reactors and heat exchangers. The list contains at least three to five companies for every scope of services so that there is always a choice for what is needed. Of course, the list gets regularly checked and updated and if suppliers fail to meet the requirements, then these will be taken off the list.
You can see that the end-user perspective is not much different from the suppliers point of view. They also have to make sure that their plant, refinery, etc. is running in the best possible way and in order to be able to do this, they have to choose their suppliers carefully and make detailed audits before putting the name on the list.
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