Thursday, May 16, 2013

Check the Pump: Same Step Different Results

Many of us have preventive maintenance task in our facilities that are made up of a noun, a verb and a few connector words. They look like these:
  • Check the pump
  • Check the valve
  • Inspect the belts
  • Clean and inspect
Do these look familiar? If they do then ask yourself  two questions. If you send your 20 year veteran mechanic and your 4 year technician out to do these task will you get the same results? And secondly, if you send your 10 year technician out twice over  a 3 year period will he or she do the same thing both times? The answer is probably not. This introduces variability into your equipment maintenance strategy and unreliability into your assets. So what can we do? Here is one examples of how we could very simply step up repeatability and effectiveness of your tasks.
Let's say you have a PM task that traditionally would have said "Inspect Hydraulic Hoses for Wear" You could get any number of different responses and levels of performance. Even if you add the levels of wear A through D you still leave room for interpretation. Whats the difference between mild and moderate? But if we add the descriptions in parenthesis then it removes quite a bit of the ambiguity. This become a much more effective and repeatable PM step. We can take it a step further if we are equipped to collect additional data. If you record instances of each on the asset you can improve the task even more to a quantitative level. This quantitative PM is the best indicator of asset health.
The key here is that PM task do not have to be long and full of loads of pictures to provide good results you just have to choose your words wisely.

1 comment:

  1. Shon,

    I enjoyed your post,

    Writing work instructions is a real skill…

    Be clear, unambiguous, succinct and to the point.

    And then get somebody who will have to follow the instruction to do it with you so you can understand and see how it has been interpreted.

    Unfortunately this last step requires the author to keep his mouth shut, which is not a skill may of us have.