Tuesday, December 14, 2010

What Can We Learn from Santa's Very Reliable Workshop? Part 2

Now even though I have traveled to many frozen tundras and worked in facilities around the Arctic Circle, I could not get invited for a plant tour of Santa’s workshop and maintenance facilities. Some might say it is because I’m on the naughty list but I am sure that is not the case. However if you read through the statistics in post one in this series I would doubt you would argue that Ole Saint Nick runs a world class organization. So let us take a look at what one would likely see in the North Pole.

First to insure up time on the sleigh, the little guys have developed a full EMP (Elf Maintenance Plan) that includes well planned and scheduled off season outages for Santa’s critical delivery vehicle. The work list for these outages is based on data collected from the online condition based maintenance system and down linked via the Allied TS-1 in real time to their North Pole CBM analysis lab (see elf at work below). This allows for the sleigh to perform at its peak and eliminates the need for preventive maintenance stops and lost time during the big night. Prior to this development, they had to carry a full preventive maintenance team onboard to service the vehicle after every seven hundred landings but with the constantly increasing delivery demands and lack of space on board that was no longer an option.

Large computer server farms were built to process the ever growing “naughty and nice” list and to increase processor utilization they also capture all of the condition reports and failure history for the sled and the toy production lines. The data is stored in the EAM (Elf’n Asset Management) System where equipment health is monitored and potential issues are flagged for further study. A little known fact about the elf population is that they absolutely love root cause analysis (RCA). In fact, they say it calms their nerves after a long day of toy making. So, all of the EAM and FRACAS information is made available for their off time enjoyment. Problems are solved and corrective actions are tracked to completion. The solutions are verified using the metrics and balanced score card that Santa put in place a few years back.

With the aging workforce, the big elf relies on the EAM to “remember” both procedures and the details needed for precision maintenance. This allows all elves to focus on the task at hand and not spend their time trying to recall torque specs for the bear stuffer’s fluff puffer.

As part of the continuous improvement process 5S and Kanban and many other tools are being implemented and all of the improvement opportunities and activities that the EIT (elf improvement team) identify are prioritized with leadership support and included in the yearly performance improvement plan. Remember the customer base is growing by a billion every twelve years so continuous improvement is not optional in the fast growing world of overnight package delivery.

Now we could spend days looking at the best practices contained in the NPOP2 (North Pole Operational Procedures 2) manual but I think you get the idea. Santa and his team of elves focus on defect prevention and elimination through:

Proper planning and scheduling

Precise problem solving

Perfected Procedures

Proactive Maintenance Techniques

Precision Maintenance

Performance improvement plans

and it is all monitored through proper use of metrics.

Tomorrow we will look at the other Claus and see how they run things down south but until then think about your site. Have you considered these areas for your 2011 performance improvement plan?

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