Monday, February 24, 2014

How Maintenance is Like a NASCAR Spotter at Daytona

So I was up late last night watching the Daytona 500 NASCAR race and I began to notice a few things as I watched the many issues that occurred during the 500 mile event. Here are three comparisons of how the Spotter and the Driver relate to the maintenance and operations partnership. 
Spotters look out into the future. They see oil, water, debris, weather changes, and crashes on the track well in advance. This extra time allows the spotter and the driver to plan out a path of lowest risk or maximum gain. Maintenance does this with CMMS or EAM data, life cycle costing calculations, and various simulations like reliability modeling. When maintenance uses good data to build good models and communicates effectively you can make strategic changes to reach the goal whether that is winning a race or winning a championship.
Spotters give you visibility into your blind spots
This blind spot could be beside your car where your Hans safety devices will not allow you to see or on the opposite side of the track where another car is making a strategic move. Spotters see issues and they provide you with instruction to help you get around them or benefit from them. Maintenance does the same thing using the predictive tools. They identify problems early on the P-F curve and this allows for the team to plan out the repair or replacement instead of being surprised in the heat of battle. In the picture you would always prefer to be the 5 car and not the 17. When maintenance uses the correct tools with the correct training, communicates effectively AND operations listens and provides on track feed back then together they can many times drive around the crash and not always end up in it.
Spotters only work when you have a relationship with them built on total trust.
The spotter is going to come on the radio and scream "brake and go left now." There is no time to discuss why or why not this is a good idea. You can't ask him to prove to you that that is the best course of action. You have to trust him and move immediately. That takes a strong relationship. The same holds true between Operations and Maintenance. Maintenance will come to Operations and say that a failure is imminent and action is required. If the trust is not there then it will be hard to react in a timely and effective manner.  You have to build that trust by continuously working together delivering good advise and learning from the mistakes. Making calls together and providing feedback to both sides regularly.
If Maintenance works as the Operations Spotter and they become a cohesive team then you will see the benefits in higher throughput, more on-time deliveries, and most of all higher profitability.Now lets go win the race.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

5 Questions for Making Financial Decisions within a Project

Guest Post: Making Financial Decisions within a Project is an exert from Darrin Wikoff book Centered on Excellence Return on Assets (ROA) is the indicator that supports the decision making process to determine which locations will receive capital investment from the Corporation, or additional market share as a result of their demonstrated efficiency. ROA is a very dynamic metric and works like a pendulum swinging from a fixed point based on fluctuations in net income or net assets. The idea is to create a balance by increasing revenue to offset the cost of consuming fixed assets (operating and maintaining), or reducing costs to improve margins per unit produced while reducing your net asset value through depreciation. When developing your Financial Strategy you need to ask yourself a few questions:
  • At what point will capital improvements impact my ability to maintain costs at an economical level?
  • At what point do my current costs overcome my ability to depreciate assets effectively?
  • At what point is it no longer economical to maintain existing plant assets, therefore causing me to invest capital? 
  • How much additional production volume is required to offset the impact of capital investment, assuming that the cost of maintaining these assets will remain constant or certainly not increase above current cost ratios? 
  • At what point does market value impede my ability to offset costs and eliminate the possibility of capital investment as a viable solution?
 Two fundamentally bad financial models are those that focus narrowly on “cost cutting to prosperity” or “buying your way to success”. Neither of these strategies will sustain long-term benefits for your company.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

A Valentines Day Message About Mismatched Communication

Mismatched communication plagues a lot of organizations and affects the implementation of new initiatives and organizational changes. This video shows a demonstration of the concept.

To reduce the probability of mismatched communication here are three things to think about before you communicate.
1.Body language: if you are talking about the exciting changes but your body is slumped the audience will perceive this and it will cause confusion and a loss of organizational support at best and distrust and rebellion at worst. 
2. The self fulfilling prophesy: If you don't think it will work then it will not and the audience will see right through you. If you don't believe in it find someone who does to be your spokesman.
3. Follow the words with action that support them. For example,
don't tell everyone how important a meeting is and then show up late.

I will leave you today with one Steven Covey quote:
"You can't talk your way out of problems you behaved yourself into."

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

US Manufacturing Videos By Walmart?

Interesting to see that Walmart is talking about American manufacturing again. The last time we saw this was the late 80s I believe. Great videos of the people that make it happen.

Monday, February 10, 2014

A Balanced Improvement Strategy

Guest Post this week from Darrin Wikoff
Excerpts from his book Centered On Excellence:

A Balanced Improvement Strategy
Think globally and act locally.  Management must first think of the global business, then of the local company, and strike a balance within the overall business strategy.  Focusing your business strategy on the “4-C’s” will help leadership to think globally and act locally. 
• Customer-based – Growing your business means gaining new customers while retaining existing customers.  Focus on improving “value” not just the quality of your product.
• Competition-focused – Mirroring the competition is not enough, sustainability of your business requires innovation in order to produce a superior product (cost, quality, lead-time).
• Cash management – Minimize the fixed costs within a single location and share the cost of capital throughout the corporation, in affect extending the company’s overall Return On Assets (ROA).
• Community support – Longevity of your operation is contingent on gaining the support of your community through job placement, talent management, investments and innovative supplier solutions.