Pages

Monday, May 2, 2016

Reliability Begins with Effective Job Plans: A guest post from Coach Allen Canaday

Are you still using a job plan that doesn’t contain performance standards for proper work execution?  You know, performance standards, the technical information the job plan conveys to the technicians performing the task. This is the specific knowledge required in order to ensure the step is completed without introducing an error or failure.  I’m talking about such “trivial” information as torque specifications, belt tension, alignment tolerances and pressure settings to name a few.  Oh, you don’t need it?  You have a very experienced and talented work force who is overflowing with tribal knowledge? Why spend the time and money to research the correct performance standards?  After all, I don’t want to insult my technicians by implying their knowledge and skills are no longer adequate.  We’ve done it this way for years.
OK, so you don’t have performance standards in your job plans and don’t really see the value of taking the time to research and document them in the job plans.  Your current technicians understand what is required when they read statements such as “replace as necessary”, “adjust as needed” or “inspect for normal wear”.  You’re in great shape as long as most of them remain healthy, content, well-paid or never retire.  Have you considered these possibilities?  Oh, don’t forget about the new state-of-the-art manufacturing facility opening across town next year.  A new facility, modern equipment in an ultra-clean environment with salary ranges far beyond anything your facility can counter-offer.  Are you still confident with your tribal knowledge database?
The status quo will change, bet on it!  “Build it and they will come” was the famous quote from Field of Dreams.  There is tremendous competition in today’s marketplace for skilled technicians.  When the new facilities are built, and they will be, they will recruit the best of the best.  Some of those best will be yours!  The color of loyalty today is “green”.  If you are unable to compete in the salary and benefit arena, you will lose tribal knowledge!  How will you prepare for the “loss of knowledge” while there is still time?  In many cases this loss of tribal knowledge can be compared to your CMMS crashing and there is no back-up data. 
Invest in your job plan library without delay!  Why?  Because it’s the right thing to do.  Accurate job plans not only help capture tribal knowledge, but will force you to research many facets of your asset base that haven’t been explored.  The development of good job plans require research utilizing OEM documents and the inclusion of tried and true methods your technicians have developed over the years.  Other benefits of updating job plans include time estimate accuracy for each step of the plan, proper sequencing of the tasks, updating warnings and cautions as safety procedures may have changed and a review of the BOM’s. 
Your workforce’s skills and experience are dynamic.  As experienced employees leave they are generally replaced with less experienced employees, certainly less experienced in your facility.  Keep this fact in mind as job plans are reviewed and developed, the job plans have to be written to the level of understanding, training and skills of your workforce.  As the number of more senior employees leave the company the level of detail in the job plans may certainly have to increase to ensure continued or even improved performance can be attained.  Are you sure you can’t make a plan to update your job plans?

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!