Monday, March 2, 2020

Seriously, It Is Time To Plan

After the latest round of speaking engagements, conferences, and workshops where I have had the opportunity to poll the audience, I’m more sure than ever that we are leaving huge opportunities untapped in manufacturing. It is time for planners to plan and schedules to be executed. Planning helps a facility from multiple angles. If you need more uptime then planning gets the required work done faster. If you need safety improvement then planned work has been shown by Ron Moore and others to be safer for those executing the work. If you need lower maintenance cost then planning reduces errors and lowers required labor and materials cost. If you believe what I have said then why does less than 6 percent of maintenance organizations ”really plan” and then execute the work? These numbers are based on recent polling at conferences and events and they were asked based on planners that break the job down into steps and provide the details required to estimate duration and get consistent execution by the maintenance workforce. I think it is a bit like going to the gym, we know it’s good for us but few of us go. What’s it worth? One power generation facility planned and scheduled their annual outage and reduced total outage time by four days while accomplishing more maintenance activities and experiencing no safety incidence. Imagine what four more days of power generation is worth during the peak season.  It is time to commit, train your planners, set expectations and attack. When we set up good job plans and then schedule them to the hour then stress levels are reduced and everyone could use less stress, right?

Monday, February 24, 2020

You Have Two Minutes: Refining Your Reliability Elevator Pitch

Have you ever been caught with only a few minutes to explain why a focus on reliability or maintenance improvement is critical to your organization and it's future? It happens very often. Your ability to explain why the leadership should care, and what you need to make it happen, is the key to moving your agenda forward. Lets look at 3 key points to nail if you want support and resources.
First, speak their language. What keeps them up at night? Is it the dollars and cents or the concern over risk? Is it getting more production out or controlling the cost on the current deliveries? Think about what you can give them with reliability that addresses their concern in their language.
 Seconded, carefully deliver a positive and practiced narrative. Watch your body language. Is it closed and confined or open and believable? Are you looking at your shoes our engaging the receiver. Are you using words like "could" "should"  and "might" or "will"  and "when"? If you don't believe it why should they?
Lastly, have a format. I like one I call "hook, story, ask!" Hook them with something they care about. Something from the first point above preferably. Then tell them a story about what is happening currently or what could happen in the future. (use emotion if you sense they are emotional receptive) and then do not forget the ask. You have to ask for their support, or resources. Be specific in your request and make it time bound if possible.
We have to sell reliability and maintenance improvement and only those of us who have seen or heard what good looks like and believe in the power can get it started. Frame it in their language and meet their needs, show them that you believe what you are saying and do not forget the "hook, story, ask!" Now go get'em tiger.

Friday, February 21, 2020

The Lens of Reliability

During some of our recent reliability improvement implementations, I have noticed a phenomenon that I think might add some perspective and help with your implementations. I call it the "Lens of Reliability" but it could really effect any big deal change to an organization that is being made from within.
It is most obvious to me in the first 3-4 months of the improvement project. It is two ways of seeing your world. The first is from your current lens or as I will refer to it, your reactive lens. The second is the future lens or as I will refer to it the proactive lens. Why do these lenses matter? They matter because they effect your ability to create a best practice future state business processes. They matter because they effect your teams ability to see a clear future state. They matter because once you know they are there, you can call them out and deal with them and move forward more effectively.
Let me explain them in the context of a business process re-engineering session. You as the facilitator or leader are discussing that we need failure codes for all emergency work orders and a team member says "we cant do that. It will take to long to put that on all the work orders". That individual is looking through the reactive lens and they are seeing the problem from the current state. In their world they know that they have 100s of emergency work orders and they will never "get all the paper work done". We need them to look at it from the future perspective and see that if we do this, the system will reduce the number of emergency work orders through tools like root cause analysis, preventive (PM) and predictive maintenance (PdM). The data will drive the improvement and will get us to the new point where the systems supports the proactive lens. Here are some examples through each lens:

Reactive lens:
  • I need a technician standing in every area waiting on a break down
  • I need every spare part in the store room for the emergencies
  • I need to limit time collecting data so I can get all the real work done.  
Proactive lens:
  • Technicians work on planned and schedule work and don't just stand in the area waiting for a failure to happen and on top of that, more improvements and repair get completed reducing emergency and unplanned failures for the future.
  • The storeroom inventory can be lower because we identify failures early with PM and PdM giving us time to order the parts for the planned and scheduled repairs.
  • The data we collect allows us to identify reoccurring failures and eliminate, reduce or mitigate the failures reducing emergency work in the future. 
I hope this perspective helps with your implementation. When you see someone looking through the reactive lens don't be afraid to call it out, discuss it, and then determine the best path forward.  It will be hard at first but if you do not address it you will end up with sub-optimized processes and practices that do not support the future.

Choose the right lens!

Monday, February 3, 2020

FMEA, and RCA, Got You Overwhelmed, and Paralyzed?

I get it, Failure Modes Effects Analysis (FMEA) and Root Cause Analysis (RCA) are hard or at the very least hard to execute consistently. If you look at the amount of them that you need to do or should do, it can be quite overwhelming. Many sites get paralyzed by this and do very little or nothing with these very important tools. Just like many of the other elements we talk about that are needed for reliability improvement, it is critical to create a plan and set an expectation. It must be broken in into manageable bite size pieces. 
For sites that are just beginning to complete RCAs and FMEAs I often suggest the following goal: What if each reliability engineer or maintenance engineer committed to one FMEA and 2 RCAs per month? Would this be doable in your organization? The expectation is that these would be good quality FMEAs of 200 lines or more and RCAs that are more than 5 whys or fish bones. They all need to be taken through implementation and follow up even if that portion occurs after the month they are scheduled in. I would suggest that FMEA be selected based on "leveragability." What I mean by that is, select your target assets not just based on criticality or failure rate but also based on how many assets that you can apply the FMEA against while developing equipment maintenance plans and systemic improvements. Think of it as, what assets can I get the most bang for the buck?
If your site were to adopt this goal and execute on it then by the end of the year you would have 12 FMEAs implemented and 24 problems addressed with RCA for each reliability or maintenance engineer.  Imagine the change in performance you would experience with this volume of issues leaving the system. 
I get it, these tools can be overwhelming, but if you set a goal and hold each other accountable then your organization can be substantially better than most of your competition within the first year. 

Monday, January 27, 2020

The Victimization of Maintenance

How many of you have heard or said the following:
  • "I could be more reliable if I had operation's support."
  • "We would suffer less downtime if I had more people."
  • "If corporate would give us a CMMS (eAM) that worked I could reduce my maintenance cost."
  • "If my equipment weren't so old, I could compete with the other plants."
  • "I would plan the work but my eAM makes it too hard to plan and schedule." 
  • "If I could find maintenance technicians in our area I could improve compliance."
  • "We would have less emergency failures if my manager would approve the money for predictive tools."
  • I would improve my preventive maintenance if I had the time. 
I could go on but you get the gist, in maintenance just like many other disciplines it can be very easy to play the "victim card." When this happens, you have given yourself and your organization permission not to act. This really becomes an excuse to fail or at the very least stay stagnant. I hear many of these quotes regularly from sites all over the globe, heck, I have even said them a few times when caught in a moment of frustration. Today I want to give one quick example of a potential way to get past victimization and make progress and challenge you to look for your workarounds for your problems. I'm not discounting that sites have things that are holding them back in some way, but more often than not with a bit of focus and perseverance there is likely a work around that can allow for improvement.
One common complaint is around eAM or CMMS functionality issues in the area of job planning.  Sites say they can not create effective job plans and store them in the CMMS for execution. This takes on many different flavors from formatting issues and graphics issues to difficulty in using the task with other jobs in the future. In many cases though, when I look at what has been done, I can only find a few attempts where jobs have been effectively planned.
Just as one oversimplified example to get you thinking, one work around is a job plan library outside of the CMMS or eAM with links where possible. I know this sounds a bit counter common thought but 400 job plans in a library outside of the CMMS is a lot better than only two job plans in the CMMS.  These can be job plans that are created in Word and saved within a file structure by asset class on a server or on a file sharing site like SharePoint. This gives you a real job plan library with no formatting restrictions that you can link to the work orders or if that is a problem for you then they can be printed and attached to the physical work orders for delivery to the technician. This also gives you job plans that your planners can cut and paste task from to create more job plans further building out the library.
Please do not be paralyzed by waiting on perfection. Throw down that victim card. Sometimes you just need to just find a way that meets the over arching goal with in the restrictions that we have.

Monday, January 20, 2020

Is Your Predictive Maintenance Program a Rifle or a Shotgun Approach?

Is your predictive maintenance program setup like a rifle or a shotgun? Would you say it is well thought out and directed at  a specific failure mode of a known risk or is it more of a shoot and scatter and see what I can hit approach?
Over the last few years I have seen more sites that are the later more than the former. They hand out PdM tools to untrained or minimally trained technicians, electricians, and mechanics and they tell them to just look for problems. In some cases there is no consideration for criticality of the asset, or the type of failures we should expect. They are literally just looking for any "hot spot" or "noisy bearing" in the area. They don't understand IR's emissivity or UE's reflectivity or many of the other things that can lead to misdiagnosis and bad calls. What's even worse is they don't have the rest of the work execution process so they are missing planning and proper scheduling so everything is handled as a reactive repair even when identified with PdM. The  problem with these programs is they fail and then the site say things like "We tried PdM and it did not work here." or "PdM does not work on our equipment, we are different"
Your PdM program must take on the traits of a rifle. It needs to be directed at identified failure modes of a level of risk to the facility that they are justified. PdM needs to feed your work control process so that it builds backlog that can then be planned and scheduled for execution.  This reduces maintenance cost substantially. If you are really going to attempt a PdM implementation, then expect to train extensively a core group of users that services the whole facility. And one last more controversial thought, start with multiple technologies that work together and learn to walk before before you run by using route based tools before you dive into IIOT and Industry 4.0.
PdM is not a point and squeeze effort take time to plan, strategize and fire that one precise shot that improves reliability in your site.

Monday, January 13, 2020

Blankets Are For Children Not Work Orders

Do you use and excessive amount of blanket work orders in your CMMS or eAM? Have you defined excessive? Do you have rules as to what can be on a blanket work order? Let's take a few minutes to talk about what blankets are and why you don't want too many in your eAM. Blanket work orders can contain or become a slush fund of hours and materials spend that leads to very poor asset management decisions. Why you say? Many organizations create them so that they can enter their maintenance time or order parts very quickly in the eAM. Capturing your time of course, is very good, but if it is not charged to a specific work order with an associated asset or piece of equipment then it does not provide much information on failure rates, recurrences, or historical cost. One reason we have an eAM is to be able to see labor and parts consumption by asset or piece of equipment so that we can then make good business decisions when it comes to replacement and refurbishment. If the cost to inspect a line or to repair a breakdown is going to a blanket work order then likely it is not being charged to an asset. Over the years, I have seen blanket work orders written at the area or line level with hundreds of hours of labor and hundreds of random parts assigned to them. None of that spend is hitting the asset history and none of those parts are associated with the equipment bill of materials.
There are times when a blanket work order makes sense. A few examples would be for tracking training hours for a team of techs or for tracking time used for operations support or even tracking morning meeting time. In these cases, we are not losing historical data and in fact are tracking a meaningful metric with the blanket work order.
The best way I have seen to limit the creation of blanket work orders is to ask yourself these two questions before you create one: 
  • Does this need to be charged to the asset for historical cost reporting? 
  • Would we want to know how often this reoccurs at the asset level? 
If yes, then create the specific individual work order tied to the specific asset or piece of equipment. So its not that all blankets are bad but their is a good and bad way to use them. Are you using them where they add value or where they obscure the very data we need to make good decisions?

Monday, January 6, 2020

7 Corporate Slogans That Will Change the Way You Live And Work!

As we start a new decade, many of us are thinking about what we need to do to excel over the next 10 years. I have chosen seven corporate slogans to build a plan that will move us forward toward greatness. Here are the 7 I chose, their providers and what they mean to me:
NextEra Energy: We Heard You
              Listen, intently. Listen and observe what is going on around you.
Apple: Think Different.
              Think hard first. Don’t respond until you think. What was really meant by what you heard or saw? Does it matter in the big picture? What should you do with the information?
Alphabet: Don’t Be Evil.
              Live a positive life and do your very best to leave everything better than you found it.
Northrop Grumman: Defining the future
              Define where you want to go. After you listen, observe, and think, then plan positively. Write it down. Break it into steps. Put dates for completion.
Nike: Just Do It
              Stay on focus and do it. Do something toward the goal every day. Even if it is just a small element do it.
McDonald: I’m Loving It
              Love what you do. You don’t have to love every part of it but if by in large you don’t enjoy what you are doing go back to Northrop Grumman.
American Airlines: Going for great.
              Be the best you can be. Don’t settle for mediocre. Plan for greatness. Have a passion for it and then jump back to Nike.
I hope these slogans help you as you listen, reflect, think, gut check, plan, do, love and capture greatness.