Friday, March 23, 2012

68 Percent Infant Mortality: Not in my plant!

OK, may have seen the graphic that shows the six failure curves from the original Nolan and Heap study. This information was part of the foundation of what we know today as Reliability Centered Maintenance or RCM.
So if you are like many, you are struggling seeing how it could be possible that 68 percent of the failure modes in your site fall into the infant mortality curve. I would like to help you with a check list of things that you may be doing to drive infant mortality within your site.
  • Do your crafts install bearings with a hammer and chisel?
  • When your crafts do use a bearing heater do they like to use the ultra fast torch and rose bud method?
  • Do your crafts open up your equipment just for a quick look while leaving the PdM tool cabinet closed?
  • Is alignment tools an optional exercise?
  • Do your crafts think that a v belt is tight when it sings like a banjo string?
  • Do you filter your incoming oil for particles smaller then the drum bung hole?
  • Do your crafts understand soft foot and know how to select the correct shims?
  • Do your crafts know how to select the proper key stock?
  • If your crafts believe that if a little grease is good then a lot has to be better.
  • Do your purchasing groups check with maintenance and engineering before changing vendors, parts, or materials?
  • Do you provide calibrated torque wrenches?
  • Is training something that always gets cut when the budget gets tight?
  • Do you have lubrication standards that cover type, amount, and interval?
  • Do your operations folks have start up procedures?
  • Does operations use them?
  • And one of my personal favorites: Do your crafts remove filters so they will not clog?

Now I could go on but what I would like to do is hear from you all: What do you see that drives infant mortality as your predominate failure curve with in your facility?

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Root Cause Analysis: Getting the Maximum Return On Investment from RCA

Many Root Cause Analysis (RCA) practitioners tend to rest a bit when they finish the report. They think “Wow that’s a good looking report, now off to solve another problem” and they miss the fact that they have not solved the first problem yet. There is no return on investment for doing RCA reports… It is the implementation of the most cost effective solution that delivers the maximum money to the bottom line. With that said below is a list of four ways to ensure that you get the most bang for your RCA buck.
Follow multiple causal chains to provide multiple solutions for review
Look for all of the ways it could be prevented or mitigated including both the actions and conditions that led to the event. If you just using 5 Whys you may miss one or the other.
Evaluate all the solutions 
Sometimes we tend to recommend our “pet solutions” meaning that we use the solutions that have worked in the past without understanding the cost and benefits and comparing that to other possible solutions. We need to look at all of the ways to lower risk to an acceptable level at an acceptable cost. The logic below can help with that goal.
Be Logical: Remember “and and or”
        When looking at the fault tree use logic symbols to see where you need to only tackle one item to prevent or mitigate the failure in the case of “and” or where you may need to attack multiple causes in the case of “or” branches. If either this “or” this can cause the failure then you must address both to mitigate the risk whereas with the “and” eliminating the lowest cost cause in the branch will prevent the re-occurrence of the failure.
Remember latent and systemic level roots have the best savings potential but can also have the highest cost of implementation because in many cases you must change culture and human behavior. Because of this you should understand problems to the latent level and address problems at the cost effective level.

In the end RCA is not about developing pretty reports it is about developing a business case for the best solution from a cost and risk standpoint then ensuring that those recommendations both get implemented and get the results we expected at the lowest cost. Or to say it another way:
Have fun… understand causes… evaluate solutions… implement… verify… succeed!

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Zero Training 5S

Just recently, I saw the first example of zero training 5S. Just in case you are curious what 5S is let me hit the highlights before moving on. It is a list of five words (coincidentally they all start with "S" weird huh?) that describe the process for organizing a work space for efficiency and effectiveness by identifying and storing the items used, maintaining the area and items, and sustaining the new order.
Below are the five and since they originated in Japan I have included their five Japaneses counterparts:
Sorting (Seiri)
Stabilizing or Straightening Out (Seiton)
Sweeping or Shining (Seiso)
Standardizing (Seiketsu)
Sustaining the Practice (Shitsuke)
 Now on with the story, I was making my monthly visit to the gym (hey I have to make good use of that gym membership right?) and I noticed they had added small boxes made of masking tape on the floor next to the equipment areas. Not that different than the one shown on the left. In the box was a bottle of equipment cleaner that every sweaty patron was expected to use at the end of each workout to Shine the equipment. Now when I came into the gym no one trained me on the use of equipment sanitizer and certainly no one told me where to put it when I was done but as I looked around I noticed that every box contained a bottle and every machine looked quite clean. Now don’t get me wrong the cleaner was not a new idea in fact they had had them for years but they were always just scattered around the gym, piled in the windows and never close enough when you needed them. I would guess this lead to lower compliance to the self-cleaning policy.
It has now been a few months since they instituted the process to Standardize the storage location and the boxes are still driving the right behavior. The cleaner is there and it is used more frequently than in the past and they are now Sustaining.

What small things can you do in your site to begin to create order? The every journey begins with a few small steps.