Turning Around the Company’s Lowest Performing Refinery by Focusing on Production Performance and Changing the Corporate Culture

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Context and Challenge

  • Leadership team identified areas for improvement and needed support to design an improvement plan addressing both technical and cultural needs

  • Significant declines for the prior two years resulted in production operating at about 15 – 20% below capacity. The parent company considered closing the plant rather than spend planned capital

  • An emphasis on technical problem solving by the new senior leadership who had extensive technical expertise vs. a systematic change in leadership and employee behaviors

  • Prior senior leadership instilled a strong culture of top down problem solving

  • Evolve was engaged to design the improvement plan supported by the development of leadership capability



  • Worked with the client to identify institutional issues (performance culture, meeting effectiveness, lack of performance focus) that, when addressed, would embed the technical solutions developed over the long term

  • Completed process studies and critical process mapping to help clarify results and prioritize work by working with client team and then developing a clear vision of success and understanding of the required change journey

  • Developed a program management structure focused on a clear vision, detailed outcome plans and a change road map for leadership

  • Engaged the workforce in operational excellence by empowering employees to have ownership and present the results of their work to senior leadership.

  • Identified and then improved their understanding of how the refinery could reduce OPEX by 20%, including a breakdown of the cost structure

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