Cars as an example of Basic Equipment Care
When we consider the Total Productive Maintenance process, specifically operator care, it is often helpful to use the analogy of how we should maintain our vehicle. The operator of the vehicle has certain responsibilities that if neglected will result in lower performance and possible catastrophic loss. Clearly the operator has the responsibility to maintain fluid levels (gas, oil...), proper tire pressure, cleanliness of the vehicle, and report any abnormal noises, warning lights, or performance. The operator does not need to be a mechanic, but does need to take ownership to ensure the proper service is performed.
Basically, the cost of maintaining equipment is directly correlated to the experience, ownership, and knowledge of the operator. If you wish to test this theory, hand your car keys to your 17 year old son!! When my son was 17, even with repeated warnings, he didn't learn not to follow the car in front of him so closely. He finally learned the lesson when I got to buy a shiny new hood and bumper for my car.
In many cases our operators treat our equipment more like rental cars. Ownership levels are not where they need to be. Operators do not clean and maintain the equipment to the required level, and treat the equipment more roughly. This is not the operator's fault, it is more of an indication of the culture at the facility.
The journey toward basic equipment care/operator care is one of instilling ownership, pride and accountability for the care of the equipment.
The take-away from this blog post is to understand the importance of operator care and ownership in equipment reliability. The challenge now is for you to think about ways to grow your operators' ownership and care for your/their equipment.