Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Top 5 Maintenance and Reliability Acronyms for 2011

As the year comes to a close you begin to see a lot of list. These list cover the top X "somethings" of 2011. They are beginning to show up on the TV, the radio, and the web. In fact, on the way in to the office I heard part of the top 40 pop songs of 2011. With all of these list flying around I could not help but think about the top topics for maintenance and reliability in 2011. I have looked back over conference proceedings, discussion group post, website and blog traffic and have put together a top five acronyms list with a bit of commentary on each.

5. PdM
Predictive Maintenance is one of the maintenance and reliability tools that sites are using more and more in the place of their time based preventive task. This year, as the cost of the technology continue decreasing, more folks are adopting the technologies and wanting to talk about them. I think the key point with PdM is that your work execution process has to be strong or these technologies will just identify a lot more work that you can not get through your planning and scheduling system to execution before it runs to failure.

Computerized Maintenance Management Systems/ Enterprise Asset Management Systems continue to be a big discussion point for many folks as they struggle to get the value and return on investment from these systems. Many folks continue to see the CMMS as the solution instead of the tool that enables good processes to be successful.

3. RCA
Root Cause Analysis has been very popular on this blog this year but I must admit it could be because of my focus on it as a great tool to eliminate reoccurring failures and process losses. I think the one point I would share is this: RCA doesn't have to be complicated but it requires a great deal of follow to get good results.

2. BPR
Business Process Re-engineering is a topic we see and hear most discussed around EAM implementations and LEAN projects. This tool and the process that are associated with it can remove a substantial amount of waste from your work flow. The key element for success is not that different from RCA it requires tremendous follow up and a regiment that includes the change management methodologies and our number one topic for 2011... KPIs.

1. KPI
 Key Performance Indicators or metrics as they are sometimes called have been an intense area of focus this year. They generate lots of interest as sites try to figure out where they are and how they compare to others. The one suggestion I would provide for this topic is the following: Don't compare what you dont understand. Take the time to note how the metrics are calculated and how your methodology differs from others you may be comparing with. Too often I see dissimilar metrics compared and poor discisions made based on the conclusions. If you can standardise on metrics using documents like the SMRP Metrics Compendium that is avalible through then you can remove some of the frustration around metrics and KPIs.

I would also be remiss if I did not mention one topic that does not have an acronym yet but was a major topic of interest in 2011.  That topic was the skills crisis or the departure of the baby boomer generation from the work force. Many of the acronyms above are crutial to capturing this departing knowledge and allowing for its use in the future. The key is to start now.
Reliability Now!

Thank you to all of you who have followed this blog this year and I wish you a Happy New Year

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Do you have an "Elf on a Shelf" in Your Facility?

The Elf on a Shelf has become a great behavior modification tool in many households. In ours, all we have to do is point at the little guy and bad behaviors become good.
For those of you who have not experienced the Elf’s power it is all stems from the tradition of a Georgia family who had a small elf that reported the children’s behavior to Santa every night and would come back home and sit in a different location every day. The matron of the family recorded this in story book form and the rest is history. Now kids are controlled by the little cloth elf from Thanksgiving until Christmas Eve.
Now on to the previous question, do you have an "Elf on a Shelf" in Your Facility? Do you have something that reminds everyone to do the good things every time they see it? The good things may be focusing on improvements you are trying to make around reliability practices, precision maintenance, operational procedures, quality or others. What do you have that keeps these improvements in the mind’s eye of the folks in your site?  Does it reinforce the goals of your business? Some facilities use symbols, slogans, logos and characters. Others use metrics boards, electronic OEE marquees, and other real time metrics displays. I don’t want to argue the merits of the methods, however we do know it is crucial to find ways to remind everyone that the elf is watching and we have to do our best every day to remain competitive in this economy.
So what is the Elf on a Shelf  in your facility?
I would love to hear what has worked for your site and what you would not use again.

Monday, December 19, 2011

10 Things We Learned about Asset Health Management from Domtar

Special joint blog post with the fine folks from the Ludeca Blog:

Domtar Espanola from Ontario, Canada won Uptime Magazine’s Best Asset Health Management Program. Their goal was “Go from Reactive Maintenance to Proactive”.

To achieve this goal, they put together a plan including several proactive actions and PdM technologies integrated with an Asset Performance Management Software which allow them to closely monitor equipment health.

Kim Hunt shared some of their plan elements:
  1. Implement a precision lubrication program and oil analysis
  2. Skills training: Value your staff and empower them with training. From formal training to just watching Reliabilityweb Webinars together and afterwards eating cookies and holding discussions —great for team building!
  3. Size your equipment properly
  4. Use laser alignment and balancing for precise machine rebuilds and installs
  5. Precise operator care
  6. Maintain excellence in housekeeping
  7. Equipment health monitoring. Use predictive tools including vibration analysis to baseline your equipment.
  8. Root cause analysis and problem elimination
  9. Plan and schedule your maintenance activities with effective standard operating procedures
  10. Continuous improvement - you are never done!

What did they accomplish?
21% reduction in maintenance costs
30% increase in production efficiencies
Increased MTBF (Mean Time Between Failure)
A total average savings of US$450,000 per year without increasing actual/potential production loss.

Congratulations to Kim Hunt and her team for this award and a job well done.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Don’t Start Up In a Bad Way: Five Ways to Limit the Creation of a Reactive Culture in New Facility Startup.

New facilities by nature can be reactive. Reactive behavior when it comes to reliability and maintenance is expensive. Our goal should be to be proactive in identifying risk and mitigating or eliminating it before we have to react. When you bring a new plant online there are many things that can drive the culture to be reactive. I have listed a few below:
  •          Poor start up planning and procedures
  •          The presence of excessive amounts of infant mortality type failure modes
  •          Equipment delivery delays
  •          Stocking of incorrect spare parts
  •          EPC contractor ineffectiveness
  •          EPC contract language that does not insure correct function of the assets
  •          No existing culture in the new facility while there is an influx of new employees from different cultures including other highly reactive companies.
With all of these reasons as well as others, it is no wonder that green field sites find themselves working to overcome a reactive culture, low production rates, and high cost. In order to limit the creation of this situation I have listed five way to turn the tide in favor of a proactive culture.
  1. Start early creating the business processes which will help to create the new culture. When you on board new associates being able to show them how work will be done and train them in the use of proactive tools is critical. This will allow them to change their existing paradigms where required and give you a head start on the culture that is required for maximum return on investment.
  2. Build the business processes based off of the best facilities in the world not just the best facilities in your division or company. Reach out with your early hire team and benchmark with an eye on being the best in the world within the constraints of your facilities business case.
  3. Create failure mode based maintenance strategies using the equipment vendors, EPC, associates as they are brought onboard, the operating context specific to your facility, and tools like RAM, RCM, and FMEA. If this step is done correctly then it will reduce spare parts stocking levels, equipment failures, and poor procedures which will increase early production and profitability.
  4. Budget for new associates to visit sister plants if they exist. The goal here is to ensure that they can have open dialogue with others who live with the assets on a daily basis. They should be looking to get hands on training, learn common problems, identify changes that have been made since start-up of the assets as well as other tidbits that will facilitate their site producing record tonnage the first year.
  5. Fully populate your EAM or CMMS from the start with all of the assets, spare parts, drawings, and failure codes as provided by the vendors per your contractual request.
I hope these five items offer some help on new plant or new asset start up and if you would like to learn more about the elements of a good start up then reach out to me via email and I will provide you with a look at our R5 launch methodology for new facilities.