Friday, July 8, 2011

Best Practice is not Good Enough: Are You Moving Toward "Future Perfect"

I was listening to an individual talking about business and improvement this week and he said a few things that resonated with me. I thought I would share them today in the context of reliability improvement.
Improvement initiative should move all elements toward the perfect state not just better than the competition or better than your sister plant or even best practice. He acknowledged that it may be unattainable financially or otherwise but it should still be the point you strive for. Many organizations map their currents state process and then make only the smallest of tweaks to these processes calling them the future state (because they believe they are already pretty good ). In the ultra competitive business environment what they really needed was a step change in performance to remain in or regain the highly profitable top spot.  If the same organization were to compare against the perfect state they would realize more of the possibilities available to them leading to better overall results.
So that got me to thinking what are some of the “future perfect” states of reliability and what could we learn from them…
Zero Unplanned Downtime\Zero Breakdowns
All work is planned and schedule.
Through the use of Root Cause Analysis (RCA) and Reliability Centered Maintenance RCM) the site could move closer to this state of zero unplanned downtime by eliminating the reoccurring failures with a failure mode based maintenance strategy.
Zero Parts Inventory
In a fully planned and scheduled world parts can arrive in a just in time (JIT) manor. In this perfect state, parts arrive to the job site just minutes before they are needed. Now we have eliminated the caring cost of all the spare parts that would normally reside only on the books and in the store room.
A perfect balance of labor and required work backlog
Many facilities shoot for 10-12 percent maintenance overtime to ensure that they have enough people to get the volume of the work done without having too many idle hands when the backlog is light. What if we could eliminate the need for overtime because our plans were so accurate and our schedules were so exact that we were left with a balanced equation every time.
What others can you think of? Even though you can’t necessarily attain them all how does the “future perfect” change your perspective of what is possible?
Thanks Rich MacInnes for spurring the thoughts!

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