Thursday, November 7, 2013

3 Things You Could Learn From Your Doctor About Reliability.

So when you go to the doctor you expect your problem will be addressed quickly, thoroughly, and at the lowest cost to you. You don't want to spend hours of downtime in the "waiting room." You want a root cause understanding of the problem and a strategy and the drugs to resolves the problem. You want to pay a standard amount deductible and get no surprise bills after the treatment. Operations and Shareholders should expect no less from the maintenance and reliability organization. We should use condition based tools and proactive methods to identify issues early before operations experiences downtime. We should use problem solving tools like root cause analysis to understand the cause of the pain and prevent re-occurrence. Shareholders would prefer that all work be planned and scheduled so that it can be performed at the lowest total cost.
Here are three more things that the doctor does that we should do as well.
When you arrive, the doctor seeks to understand any changes in your life. He checks your vitals and the basic details like weight. He looks for what has changed. When you arrive at a failed piece of equipment you should perform the root cause method called change analysis. You would look at what things have changed. It can fall into categories:
  • What has changed (product mix, load etc)
  • Who might have changed (new operators or maintainers, different conditions etc)
  • How might have it changed (weather etc.)
  • When did it change (run at a new time, different shift etc.)
  • Why did it change (operations strategy etc.)
If you answer these questions then you can begin to understand the causal chains and root causes.
When you go to the doctor they don't just run one test with one technology. We should use multiple technologies to understand the health of our assets. We might use vibration, infrared themography, oil analysis, Airborne ultrasound as well as others. Using these tools together gives you a full picture of the health of the equipment just like the doctor's test gives him a picture of your health.
The last point I want to note is that the doctor or surgeon uses checklist for procedures. Many sites do not have nor want to create good procedures or checklist. These sites have told me that they do not need them because their craftsmen are skilled and experienced. My point is that the doctor has done common procedures hundreds of times and yet he, a skilled doctor, still uses a checklist. These checklist do not tell him how to tie a stitch but it does point out key measures commonly forgotten steps and verifies that all of his equipment that is used is returned.

Next time you are at your doctor think about what you see him do and how you can use that to professionalize our field.

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