A Value Improvement Process (VIP) session, also known as Value Engineering, is a meeting that tries to analyze a design and find ways to improve the “value” the project provides to those undertaking it. This usually means saving money, but it can also mean saving time, reducing maintenance, increasing profit margins, etc.
Value improvement meetings are often run using methods similar to safety meetings like HAZOPs:
- A facilitator leads the meeting, keeping the group on track. A scribe takes notes. Members of the project team and others (operations, clients, valued equipment vendors, etc.) may participate
- Break the process broken down into “nodes,” sub-divisions that make a logical sense to review at the same time. (Ex: truck unloading, the crude unit, the diesel tank farm, the pig launchers and receivers, the chiller unit, etc)
- For each note, brainstorm for ideas that may generate value
- The ideas are ranked for their value: how much money could be saved, and at what cost (in time/schedule/safety etc.). Generally it’s enough to categorize ideas into Implement, Maybe, and Reject piles, depending on how promising the idea appears.
- A list of recommendations are created, for the project team to follow up on.
Also like safety meetings, several VIPs can be taken over the life-cycle of a project.
Much like having a list of HAZOP guidewords, a VIP list of guidewords, ideas, or prompts can help you have a better session. For any given situation, the majority of guidewords won’t apply, but flipping through the list may occasionally spark an idea. You may also get value reviewing previous articles on brainstorming and TRIZ.