Developing an Approach to Improve Reliability and Reduce Unit Cost at One of the World’s Largest Ethylene Facilities

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Context and Challenge

  • An ethylene production facility had experienced a decline in reliability coupled with increasing costs that made it one of the most expensive ethylene crackers in the fleet to operate.

  • The organizational structure and culture drove an “us versus them” mentality between departments as well as between the leadership team and employees.

  • Corporate expansion combined with an aging workforce caused high turnover in the organization creating risk around organizational knowledge and expertise.

  • The facility lacked effective internal continuous improvement processes and capability, relying on external and corporate resources to own and drive the improvement process.



  • Executed a reliability and cost focused foundation, in conjunction with client Continuous Improvement (CI) team members, that spanned multiple departments and stakeholders across the manufacturing and business teams.

  • Developed and piloted a global foundation approach to be used throughout the fleet.

  • Formed strong coaching relationships with both CI team members and the facility leadership team to develop their understanding of how to create and manage sustainable change.

  • Developed a comprehensive implementation framework designed to deliver $46MM in reliability and cost improvements across 6 themes: Critical Equipment Availability, Production Monitoring & Optimization, Integrated Activity Planning, Maintenance Effectiveness, Cost Excellence, and Leadership & Performance Management.

For me, Evolve reaffirmed the need for people to have a purpose and to align individuals with the team. It takes more than a great process to get results; it takes people who are switched on and who see the difference they can make.
— Operations Performance Unit Leader
ChemicalsCorey Wills