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Case Study: Streamlining Mechanical Integrity with Industrial Partnership

Learn how we helped a refinery streamline its MI program through the implementation of a comprehensive engineering and inspection services offering.

The Challenge

An international energy corporation, along with its subsidiaries, is a leading manufacturer and marketer of transportation fuels and petrochemical products with multiple refineries and plants across the globe. This corporation owns and operates an oil refining facility in northern Texas. The corporation identified the need for the facility to improve various facets of its Mechanical Integrity (MI) program to mitigate risks and optimize costs.

With overall goals of reducing risk and optimizing costs, the facility faced multiple operational challenges within its inspection group. The inspection group consisted of eight in-house contract companies which staffed 15 people, additional temporary contract companies, and two owner-users. The sum of these groups was responsible for maintaining the field services planning and execution of the MI program at the facility. This complex organizational structure created misalignment between the facility’s staff and the numerous contractors. As a result, the facility faced three main challenges:


Due to the complexity of the inspection group’s organizational structure, it was difficult to maintain accountability for a standardized approach to storing and maintaining inspection records. Additionally, the roles and responsibilities of the contractors overlapped, causing the records in both quality and style to vary greatly. Many processes, such as MOC completion and turnaround planning, were more difficult and time consuming due to their heavy documentation dependence.

Misaligned Goals:

The owner-users spent a significant amount of effort training, managing, and ensuring accountability of the contractors. This large time commitment—along with poor contractor retention rates—shifted the focus away from accomplishing department goals. Because of this lack of focus, the facility consistently received sub-par ratings on both internal and industry recognized metrics. Additionally, each contract company’s goals were not aligned to the program’s, which further exacerbated the misalignment and generated frustration among all stakeholders.

Management Challenges:

The department leaders struggled to manage the communication, overlapping schedules, and scope of their various contractors, which made it difficult for the facility to forecast and control their cost. In general, there was little accountability placed on each company. This inconsistency did not allow the client to hold the contract companies accountable for invoices, expenses, and completing defined scopes of work. As a result, it was challenging for the facility to create a long-term plan to reduce its budget and increase compliance.

Pinnacle's Solution

To address these challenges, Pinnacle was chosen as a partner to improve the performance of the execution of inspection activities. This started with an effort to establish agreed upon goals that supported the facility’s yearly objectives and the long-term vision. The goals were both tactical (prioritizing and organizing inspections across the facility) and strategic (ensuring training programs were in place to develop local talent that would grow with the facility and the optimization of its MI program).

Pinnacle’s long-term solution included the implementation of a comprehensive engineering and inspection services offering, which focused heavily on achieving operational excellence through the optimal balance of people, processes, and technology. In addition, the partnered solution was geared towards the generation of straightforward workflows sustained by robust systems. For instance, Pinnacle refocused the facility’s Quality Control program by developing an Inspection Test Plan (ITP) system and creating an Inspection Data Management System (IDMS) Evergreening Manual.

Pinnacle also implemented a centralized MOC action item tracking system to maintain transparency and accountability as MOCs progressed within the inspection department. Each role was responsible for uploading their deliverables to this system, which helped maintain inspection records until their incorporation into the appropriate internal systems. Pinnacle also provided expertise in the following areas:

  • IDMS and Risk-Based Inspection (RBI) software solutions and integration
  • Inspection strategy creation
  • Corrosion/damage management
  • Corrosion and damage mechanism evaluation
  • Turnaround planning and execution
  • Routine compliance inspection support (CMLs, Externals, etc.)
  • Non-destructive testing including advanced ultrasonic techniques
  • QA/QC and vendor surveillance
  • Optimized placement of Condition Monitoring Locations (CMLs)
  • Fitness for service (FFS) evaluations
  • AutoCAD Support


By engaging Pinnacle as an industry partner, the facility was able to streamline their inspection services and overall MI program, resulting in the following key benefits:

  • Improved internal metric score by 10-20%
  • Aligned inspection quality with best in class standards
  • Created automatic, reproducible process for key performance indicator (KPI) reporting
  • Gained industry partner who understands the vision and goals of the MI department
  • Implemented MI Department specific MOC management system
  • Shifted client focus from managing people and schedules to meeting company goals
  • Long term staffing plan that incorporated experienced staff with a strong training program to support new, local hires
  • Maintained consistent cost due to fixed price offering. The fixed-price model shifted the accountability of project execution and the pressure of meeting the facility’s goals to Pinnacle.

“Pinnacle is our most reliable, flexible inspection services provider,” says the facility’s chief inspector. “The Pinnacle team is the most well managed business partner that we’ve worked with and was able to break down complex tasks into simple projects with attainable goals.”

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