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Monday, April 11, 2016

If it is Not Working Stop it! A Look at Best Practices for Storage of Spare Parts in the Maintenance Storeroom

Want better reliability? Don't abuse your spare parts. Here is a list of things to stop doing in your storeroom and satellite storage areas. We sprinkled in a few things you should be doing as well. The "Why's" for each of these will cost extra and you will have to reach out to us for that one. If you want to add some of your best practices in the comments below, we would be be excited to share them.
Suppliers should be your first source for many of the needs of their parts. Suppliers should provide instructions for ensuring that items will be reliable after long-term storage. This includes actions that must be taken to ensure proper functionality, such as turning shafts on motors ¼ every 30 days, protective coatings requirements for corrosive sensitive items that would impact performance, and temperature control requirements.
Storeroom personnel should establishes reviews of these items and performs the required PMs.
Reliability personnel should performs audit of critical items to ensure that practices will achieve the desired reliability level. So what do we see that needs to stop as we work with sites? Let's look at a few parts by category:
Let's start with bearings:
  • Don't store bearings out of the grease paper or packaging.
  • Don't touch bearings with bare hands prior to installation. 
  • Don't store bearings on a wall or floor that vibrates without isolators or vibration dampeners. 
  • Of course they need to be dry and clean.
Then there are belts:
  • Don't hang belts on nails or pegs.
  • Don't hang belts where they are exposed to sunlight or extreme heat. 
  • Don't crimp or twist them to fit them in a storage area.
  • Do use first in first out as a stocking and disbursement strategy.
Next, there are hydraulic and pneumatic cylinders:
  • Cylinders should be stored vertically
  • Don't remove the caps and plugs
  • Keep the hoses that lead to the cylinders plugged and clean. 
Lastly, stuff that rotates needs to be rotated:
  • Motors should be rotated on a set schedule
  • Gearboxes should be rotated too
These simple examples are only the start. Lets look at other storage needs:
Items that have expiry or require long term storage prior to anticipated use requires documentation from suppliers stating the needs during storage and the life of the item while in storage.
Items that did not have anticipated long term storage at time of purchase but end up in storage for long periods of time, must be reviewed internally for reliability at pre-defined intervals. Suppliers should be contacted for all questionable situations for confirmation of reliability.

Suppliers’ General Requirements (depending on the item):
  • Items are to be kept in their original packaging. If repackaging required, the supplier should be consulted for acceptable materials.
  • All protective attachments are kept intact: seals, plastic covers, etc.
  • Protective coatings are maintained at their original level, from time of receipt.
  • Fluid leaks or other obvious issues are addressed immediately. The supplier should be notified to either have item repaired, if within warranty, or provide the proper instructions for fluid replacement, for example, after internal repair performed.
  • Dust free environment.
  • Vibration free environment.
  • Labels exist and are legible.
  • Climate controlled and dry
  • Storeroom personnel are trained on the proper handling of the items.
  • Repair and Return items require all of the protective requirements of the OEM as well.


Hope these help as you think about how you set up and maintain a your storeroom in a way that will support reliability and up time in your facility. As we talked about earlier, please feel free to add your "do's and don'ts" in the comment section.












Monday, April 4, 2016

Paying for the Sins of the Past: Your Improvement Initiative is Not Magical.

Today is a dose of reality, a tantalizing tenet of truth, a point to ponder, if you will. The point is you have to pay for the sins of the past whether you are talking about your health or the reliability of your facility. Said differently, you can't smoke for 25 years and expect to have the lungs of a track star the day you quit.
Now I know this seems obvious, but if it truly were obvious then companies would not expect wholesale change in an organization instantaneously upon implementation of a new improvement strategy.
For example, I recently visited a site that has made great strides in their facility implementing things like Planning and Scheduling, Precision Maintenance, Root Causes Analysis, Reliability Centered Maintenance, and the Predictive Technologies, but yet they were being described by some as ineffective and the efforts as a waste because the assets were still failing. Let me clearly state, if your site has been installing bearings with a hammer and a punch or aligning motor with string and a strait edge for the last 25 years then implementing precision maintenance will not fix all your problems overnight. Every defect that have been introduced to the asset base over the last 25 years will have to be detected and removed through replacement before you can comfortably say that the assets are healthy and precision is the norm. Now most of us can't afford to replace all the components damaged by our past sins so we look at the risk and the cost and we develop a plan that is perceived as having a reasonable chance of success. This will include some failures. Hopefully less of them will be a surprise as we mature into more predictive maintenance application but they will still appear.
If you are implementing any improvement strategies at your site, make sure that as part of your communication plan you let people know of the success that you expect of course and also of the sins of the past that will still need to be worked through. If we set this expectation early then the transparency will drive the change forward. Remember, you can't drive like a drunk in a rental car jumping ditches, change the oil and expect it to be a new car again.
What have you done to acknowledge and mitigate the risk of your past reliability sins?  

Friday, March 18, 2016

Three Ways To Stop The Power Point Madness and Increase Retention!

Last week I had the unfortunate experience of setting through a 300 PowerPoint slide training session that was delivered in 90 minutes. People it was painful, overwhelming, and frustrating. We have got to put a stop to the "Death by PowerPoint" mentality of training. It is born out of the needs of the instructor more than the needs of the student. Shouldn't it be the other way around?  "Instructors" or more often then not SME (Subject Matter Experts) either want show the students everything they know about the topic or want to make it easier to present by having "it all in the slides." It completely overwhelms the learner and retention of the content plummets. It is like drinking water from a fire hose. You see all the content but you certainly don't quench your thirst. Below are three simple tools we use to reduce slide count and increase the interaction and retention when we teach.
1. Can you build an activity that allows the students to go on a journey of discovery?
If we can give them a simulation that creates a discovery of the learning points then the retention of the material increases and the slide count is reduced. 
2. Could you provide them with the learning points and have them design the lesson and teach the class?
Having them self study the material really increases understand if you are there to help them as a coach and then having them teach it back locks it in. We always say you don't know the content until after you have taught someone else. Its true your prep and their questions really move the learning to a deeper level.
3. Are you pausing the slides to let the student apply what they have learned? The application  of the new knowledge to their world will answer a lot of questions about the relevance and provide them with examples they can take back. As part of the pre-work, ask them to bring data or problems to solve in class. They can use these to apply the new skills.
In the end it is not about the amount of content you cover it is about the amount of material they remember, apply, and benefit from.
Happy learning!


Monday, February 29, 2016

Reliability Confessions of the Not Quite Best Practice

You have secrets. Secrets that have robbed the reliability from your facility and its assets. Sometimes it just makes you feel better if you confess your secrets publicly. Maybe you should let a few of your secrets go today, and bask in the relief that follows. Today, you have that chance using the anonymous post feature in the comments section below.  But first let me share a few secrets I know already:
1. "I use what ever grease is in the nearest grease gun I find. (grease is grease)"
2. "I sometimes overload the machine and cause it to fail because when it does I can take a break while maintenance fixes it."
3. "I never torque the bolts with a torque wrench. (Tight is tight, right?)"
4. "I once wrapped a fuse in aluminum foil because it would not stop blowing."
5. "I never put all the bolts back if the equipment doesn't need them. (I'm eliminating wasted time)"
6. "I don't wipe off the grease fitting before I lubricate."
7."I sometimes don't share all the critical steps for a job plan so that I can save the day when it does not work."
8. "I have put a 20 amp fuse in a 10 amp slot."
9. "One time I dropped a bolt into a gearbox during a PM and it is still there today."
10. "I added flammable hydraulic fluid to a system requiring nonflammable to save a trip back to the store room."
At least some of these little secrets happen regularly in plants everywhere. I challenge you to reread the list and this time think about what underlying systemic causes might have led for the perceived need for the individual to take these steps and then make them their secrets. Remember what Edward Deming said: "Blame the system not the people." Fixing the system eliminates many more problems within your site than blaming an individual. 
Don't forget to add a few secrets of your own at the bottom.