Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Is The MTTR Metric Killing Your Reliability?

Metrics or Key Performance Indicators (KPI) are a force for good when they are used at the right time and with the right complementary or supporting elements. But, when they are used at the wrong point in a facilities maturity they can have unintentional consequences, or even worse they can drive the wrong behaviors.
An example that I continue to see causing more issues than it is solving, is the use of the KPI known as Mean Time To Repair (MTTR). When this metric is used alone, in immature organizations, or without an understanding of the unintentional consequences it can drive your organization in the opposite direction of world class performance. If your organization is immature from a reliability cultural standpoint and you choose MTTR as your focus then you set yourself up to become very reactive by being very quick to respond to failures. The facts are:
  • Reactive response is at least 5 times more expensive than planned and scheduled work . 
  • Operations will beat on you to get faster and faster at responding so that you lower MTTR. 
  • Rushed repairs are less reliable.
  • Reactive response requires more expensive spare parts stock.
  • Repetitive failures and repairs increase the chances of the introduction of infant mortality failures. 
  • You will find yourself with high skilled maintenance technicians just standing on the manufacturing floor doing nothing while waiting on a failure to occur. 
  • Pressure to make the repair as quickly as possible can lead to taking elevated safety risks either intentional or unintentional. 
Many of the sites that choose MTTR as a primary metric early in their reliability journey create a brigade of firefighters on the ready with crash carts and mounds of spare parts. What we really want is to prevent the failures from happening to start with or at least reduce the frequency. For that we might use other metrics like Mean Time Between Failures (MTBF) early on and then deploy MTTR, after we increase the reliability of our systems. This later use of MTTR will allow us to address the issues we can't prevent and to understand any training gaps and other issues that might be affecting repair times.
Picture it this way: If MTTR is all you have then your organization will create tools like crash carts and quick response teams instead of using tools like Root Cause Analysis (RCA) to understand and eliminate the reoccurring problem. From the real world, I have seen bearing quick change carts developed to speed up re-occurring failures repairs where it they had just tensioned the belts properly the failures would have been eliminated.  Five really fast 2 hour bearing replacements is still much worse that bearings that don't need repairs at all. This site needed to understand better not respond quicker.
Are your metrics driving the wrong behaviors? Are you using them at the right time?
Tell us what metrics have not worked for you and why in the comments below. 

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Not Running From the Saber Tooth Tiger: Reactive to Proactive Leadership in 3 Steps.

Life pushes us to be reactive and we learn it from an early age. When we are young, we stick a fork in a power outlet or touch a hot stove and then we react. That becomes the predominant learning style as we grow. It is how we learn the concept of cause and effect. But later in life we are told that proactive is better but, this goes contrary to what has shaped us up to this point. Why would I want to be proactive? Why should I change? That is not what my past has reinforced.
So lets answer those questions first, and then talk about how we can become a more proactive leader moving forward. While reactivity allowed or ancestors to run from the saber tooth tiger, proactivity would have allowed them to not run into the saber tooth tiger in the first place or at the very least show up with spears for protection. Proactivity lessens the chances of needing reactivity which has been scientifically proven to lower the blood pressure in people like me (Cake loving non-athletes). High blood pressure is mostly bad so, we want that metric to trend down to a point. Why stir up the chemicals and hormones of stress if you can identify the risk early and address them before they attack you like a saber tooth tiger.
So how do we do it? No matter what project or task you want to manage or lead proactively you can get started with three steps.
First, decide what success would look like for the task or project. What are the goals? How do you know you have won? Knowing these elements first helps with the follow on activities.
Second, ask yourself what could go wrong that could jeopardize your goals or success with the task or project. List out each of these risk. Some will involve people. Some will involve resources. Be a real Negative Nancy and list as many as possible (get out you inner project negativity). Once you have the risk listed then prioritize them. I use a simple 1(low risk) -10 (high risk) scale with three categories multiplied together to rank the risk list. The categories are: severity, likelihood of occurrence, and ability to proactively detect. Once this is complete you can move onto step three.
Third, you create a plan to address the high risk items early before they occur. Many of the steps to address the risk will be communication action items that will need to be drafted in advance to explain that an issue is expected and that this is what we are doing about it proactively.
We could spend the rest of the day discussing the intricacies of proactive project and task leadership and management but these are the three overarching steps you should be taking to keep from being eaten by the saber tooth tiger you are trying to manage.

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!

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.

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Preconceived Notions Get in Your Way with RCA

Preconceived notions very commonly get in your way with Root Cause Analysis. Here is a perfect example. In this picture you can plainly see that the people on the left are taller right? Look again... Maybe we did not have all of the facts at first. It seems that in the video there is more going on than we thought. Our notions of what a room is and how it is typically shaped do not hold true in this case. This irregularity, led us to a poor understanding of the situation. Many times we go after issues with our personal opinion of the problem and the solution predetermined and it blinds us to the truth of the matter. All the data must support the conclusion not just the parts that you like. I have seen these preconceived notions derail investigations time after time and, it is one of the reasons that I suggest not using subject matter experts as RCA facilitators in this blog. Check out this post for 5 ways to help prevent jumping to conclusions. Then let us know what thoughts and ideas you have for avoiding this common problem by listing them in the comments section below.

Monday, January 18, 2016

Stop Corrective Maintenance Repairs on Preventive Maintenance Work Orders.

Today's guest post by Blended Learning student Rick Clonan of Nissan is a sample of a communication to his organization to explain a problem that they had been facing. Interestingly enough it is a problem that many of us face in our sites. Thanks to Rick's willingness to share, you might be able to craft a similar example and share with your organization. 

There has been a lot of discussion as to why we are asking technicians to write corrective work orders for problems found on a PM instead of fixing the issue on the spot.  If we consider the example of the four machines below, it becomes clear why this is the case. 

        A technician is assigned a 2 hour PM for each of the machines below.  As he checks #1, there are no issues found and the PM is completed with no corrective work order generated.   As the inspection of #2 begins, he notices an issue.  This issue is not very critical and could wait until next  weekend.  He decides to fix it anyway.  The repair takes another 2 hours.  He moves on to machine #3.  There are no issues that demand immediate attention.  Since the PM of #2 and the corrective work order to fix the issue have taken a total of 4 hours, it is now time to go home, and the PM for  machine #4 does not get done. 

         The problem is, machine #4 has a failure in it that will shut the machine down in a day if not detected.  The next shift coming in has it’s own list of things to do and will not get to the PM on machine #4 that the previous shift did not complete.

    What we are trying to accomplish is to get as many failures detected as early on in the failure curve as possible.  It is understood that some repairs need to happen as soon as the fault is detected.   Most of the time this is not the case.  With the chance to plan for a repair, all of the parts can be ordered and the job will take less time.  We need to adapt to more of an inspection mindset when doing a PM and provide a clearly written corrective work order when a failure is detected.   This is not the way things have been done in the past.  We cannot continue to do things the same way and expect better results.  We must change the way we operate in order to improve. 

Great example! We hope this helps you with a topic to share or can be a model for a similar communication to your group as you chase after reliability.

Thursday, January 14, 2016

So that Power Ball didn't work out for you! Here try this.

OK, so you did not win the Power Ball last night, and you drug yourself into the office this morning in the the same financial state as when you left yesterday. Yes, you will be putting in a few more years. What do you do to get going today? Try these three post to get your life back on track after the big upset.

You need to Smile: Smiling is the ultimate pick me up.

You need to get a process: A process will get you to a better place.

You need to laugh, it could be worse: Humor keeps us going though the tough stuff.
We hope these post get things going for you this morning and you have a great week improving your life without Power Ball. 

Monday, January 4, 2016

Starting 2016 On A Course To Profitability: 8 "P" Processes that Produce Progress

Click on the image to enlarge

Once again, it is that time of the year, when according to Forbes, 40 percent of us set off on a journey to change our lives with New Years Resolutions. Only 8 percent of us will be successful according to the same article. Ouch! So many of the companies that we interact with need profitability growth as their New Years Resolution. In today's post I have documented what we have seen from past successful growth companies.  I have referred to it as the Profitability Cycle. Take a quick look at each of the eight "P words" that drove their profitability process.
Starting with Probe, where they looked into past results and practices and measured their gaps through metrics and process checks. 
Once the probe phase is complete, they then Prioritized the principles and gaps using business case thinking. 
Next, they began to review the priority and they sequenced and linked the task to create a Plan for execution. They considered resources available and the relationships between the prioritized items. In some cases, they identified key items that must be completed in a certain order for success for the larger project. 
After the plan was ratified, they began to Promote the plan and explain the value to the larger population. They were very careful to explain both how it affects the individual as well as the benefits that should be expected. 
The made up word "Passionize" is there to convey how that now that the plan had been promoted. The leaders selected a group of people that had demonstrated a passion for each of the improvement areas within the plan. These selected people with passion were then given power to execute the principles of the plan and implement the results.  
As the passionate began to Progress with the plan, the site leadership measured progress against the plan and worked to remove barriers that could impede progress.
As barriers are identified by the leadership team or the passionate people, they go through a Problem Solving Process. Here, the passionate are looking for root causes while also looking at the business case for each of the solutions. 
Once the processes are pressure tested and problem solved, they are put into the full implementation phase known as Perform.  Here, the balance of the plant or facility is implemented, and they closely watched things like adoption and results. 
These results lead to the data that that could be used to probe and start another improvement cycle. 
The process based nature of the Profit Cycle helped to combat the enemy of improvement, which is referred to in the graphic as Pressure. Pressure existed in many forms all trying to keep the improvement from occurring. It could have been pressure to stay with the status quo or pressure to give in to political or emotional forces. 
This eternal spiraling process led to increased profitability and performance and more passionate people progressing. 
Does your improvement project have the points and processes presented?