At NSC on Monday, speaker Sam Smolik, SVP America Manufacturing and Refining Operations at LyondellBasell, offered some management advice he has learned over 40 years in the manufacturing business. He said he started at LyondellBasell when the company wasn’t in the best shape, but they have worked really hard to get where they are today.

“I believe in simplicity,” Smolik said. “When we think about our management system, we have to maintain our assets system.” He compared it to maintaining a car. He said to start on the road to success, they put the most money into their assets.

“We want simple processes,” he said. “We went from a 50- or 60-page document of requirements to one or two pages. We want to keep processes simple but we want to follow them.”

Smolik created a GoalZERO concept, which is what a company agrees to do from day one. He said that at LyondellBasell, their systematic management system approach to achieving GoalZERO follows these steps:

Assets: tools and equipment are properly designed and maintained in good condition.

Processes: procedures, standards and systems are utilized and continually updated

People: are motivated, qualified and have the proper competencies and behavior to execute in a GoalZERO manner.

“The difference is in execution. It’s how you execute, like when you play sports. Which team wins? The team with the best execution,” Smolik said. “There are people who get it and some who just don’t get it.”

He shared a flow chart that describes their processes.



Technical directives

Technical advisories

Lessons-Learned library

Standard revisions


Incident investigations


Self assessments

Internal and external reviews


Management system reviews


Standards and work process

Process technology

Process safety information

Competency and expectations

Global consistency


Risk assessment and management

Hazard identification

Operating procedures

Alarm management

Operations communications

Life critical standards

Management of change/PSSR

New manager PS review

Training and coaching

Asset integrity standard

Stationary equipment

Rotating equipment

Emergency response and management