Huntsman - Efficieny in maintenance planning with Primavera

Huntsman’s factory lot in the Botlek area looks like a gigantic chemistry box. The production of polyurethane chemicals takes place continuingly, in an impressive network of factories and pipelines. Safety has the highest priority, making good maintenance crucial. Today, all maintenance is planned in Primavera Enterprise.

Approximately 1100 metric tons of MDI – one of the two components needed for making polyurethane foam – daily exits Huntsman’s installations. This element finds its way to countless things we surround ourselves with every day, such as isolation materials, pillows and mattresses. Roland la Rivière, Maintenance Area Team Leader: “It is a complex and maintenance intensive process. We don’t run a cookie factory: we work with dangerous materials and have very high safety requirements and standards. Our own staff and a fixed group of contractors carry out the maintenance. Since last year, we have one planning platform for Huntsman and its regular contractors for daily maintenance, factory stops, maintenance projects and new-construction projects. Before that, the shutdown team already worked with Primavera in a standalone version. The regular maintenance was planned in MS Project. In that way, we already were familiar with the application and knew it was suited for extensive schedules. Now everyone works in Primavera. “Working with all schedules in one system creates a good overview for us”, adds colleague Bart Kreukniet, Maintenance Coordinator. “It enables you to prevent peak pressure and to schedule your resources as good as possible. Our contractors work with Primavera as well, and they also feed the schedule, which is rather unique.”

Approximately 18 Huntsman employees and contractors work daily on the preparation and coordination of all activities that are brought up by the factory. Within the factory, small groups carry out primary maintenance and, together with Production, define priority and the right order status.


Not only the close cooperation between the own staff and those hired from outside is special. Huntsman Holland is the first company in the world where Primavera Enterprise communicates with SAP in two directions via the interface of the software company Impress. Several other companies have visited Huntsman to see how this works. La Rivière: “SAP is our leading system for enterprise resource management. It is our business system for cost control, finance, material management, maintenance, et cetera. What we looked for was a planning tool that could communicate bidirectional with SAP. In 2003, Huntsman, Capgemini, Primavera and Impress started a project to accomplish that goal, with the ambition to go live in May 2004. That goal was achieved. Unforeseen aspects and growing pains are eliminated on the way.” The ambitious project gained support from within the company, after a business case written by la Rivière, in which he could prove a short cost recovery period. “Fortunately my case came true, otherwise I wouldn’t be sitting here right now”, he says laughing. “On the one hand we make profit by being more efficient: the same work can be done by less persons. On the other hand we save money on our overhead costs, as our regular contractors can work on our ICT network and in our offices.” Kreukniet adds: “That last aspect also makes the lines shorter, accessibility better and the follow-ups faster.”

Huntsman is content about the contribution Mark Schenk has made to the project. La Rivière: ”In the beginning, the situation had to be explored a bit. Maintenance requires for example another type of planning than project planning. Our activities are rather independent of each other, whereas a project situation requires a real network planning. But Mark knew very well what he was talking about. He and Bart held the courses to the approximately 40 users in our company, both Huntsman employees and contractors.”

Many advantages

Altogether, La Rivière and Kreukniet can sum up a long list of advantages of working with Primavera. La Rivière: “Before, I had to lay several reports next to each other to get a good view over the workload. Now I can see it all at a single glance. You can also make any thinkable cross-section, so that the workload can be viewed per contractor, factory, et cetera. The contractors appreciate this as well, as peaks can be prevented. Planning ahead is also easier now. In a decreasing market it is good if you can book a certain amount of persons from the contractor in good time.”

Kreukniet adds: “Everyone can look at their own planning in real time, which facilitates the distribution. I used to spend quite some time printing and distributing schedules on Friday afternoons. If by Monday morning something had changed, I could start all over again. Now, everyone can download and print the most recent planning from his or her own location. Obtaining an overall picture of the workload is also beneficial for the higher management.”