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?

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