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.