5 Maintenance & Reliability Quick Wins

1. Eliminate the 6 Major Losses to improve equipment effectiveness

Machine losses can be categorized into six types:

  1. breakdown losses
  2. set-up and adjustment losses
  3. minor stoppage losses
  4. reduced speed losses
  5. quality defect losses
  6. reduced yield losses. 

You can experience these losses because over the years your people may have overlooked them, ignored them, or unsuccessfully addressed them.   

The best approach to identify and resolve these losses is to pool your collective talents and ideas of operators, maintenance personnel, and engineers.  A proven method is form what we call Equipment Improvement Teams (EITs). EITs are focused improvement teams consisting of cross-functional team members representing operators, maintenance personnel, and engineers, with the primary goal of eliminating these problems and developing innovative equipment improvements. 

A primary reason that so many defects are missed is due to what we call the “target pop.” This is not a new soft drink.  Target pop means that many defects are overlooked by maintenance when they are repairing a breakdown because that breakdown is limited to a “targeted” area.  This confines their activities to just those things needed to get the machine back on line.  The “pop” means they are in there for as short a time period as possible.  That also means they don’t have the necessary time to look for other problems.  It is difficult to detect problems you are not looking for, unless they are obvious.

Another reason for not detecting reliability problems is called the “cycle hop.”  This is when problems are not identified because the maintenance person doing routine checks during the PM (preventive maintenance) cycles, may be looking at specific areas over and over.  In addition, details can be missed because of boredom of the repetitive work.  Another problem with the “cycle hop” is that inspection may not occur often enough to detect changes in conditions quick enough to respond to them.  With PM cycles ranging from two weeks to greater than twenty weeks, many things can occur during the long intervals that go undetected.

These same problems can occur in your car if you rely strictly on the scheduled maintenance outlined in your manual.  But you can‘t rely on that alone…you have to check your car regularly yourself. 

2. Establish an autonomous maintenance program for operators

Because of these problems, inspection and some simple routine maintenance should be done at the machine more frequently than “target pop” or “cycle hop” allow.  The ideal candidate for this task is the operator.

The operators spend far more time with the equipment than maintenance personnel and therefore they are an important resource to detect changes in conditions and perform some of the simpler maintenance tasks such as lubricating, tightening of fasteners, and inspecting.  This work is known as Autonomous Maintenance.  Although the Japanese recommend a highly structured and regimented process, we feel that to “Westernize” TPM, you have to chose a level of autonomous maintenance that best fits your organization. 

3. Develope or improve preventive/predictive maintenance

One of the reasons Preventive Maintenance (PM) doesn‘t work as well as it could is because it is often deferred to accommodate production needs.  As it is easier to defer in some organizations than others (the more often maintenance is deferred, the easier it is to defer it regularly), those organizations slowly see PM as an optional task rather than a required one.

A common saying regarding PM is, “pay me now or pay me later––but then you pay me a premium.”  That is very true with PM.  If you put it off while the expense is relatively small, you will have to incur larger costs later when the equipment breaks down.   We gave up our options and gambled that nothing would happen.

One of the activities of Total Productive Maintenance (TPM) is to refocus your preventive and predictive maintenance efforts to take better care of your equipment.  This means doing PMsand tracking the effectiveness of those PMs.  It also means using more PdM methods to monitor equipment component performance so you can detect problems early.

4. Increase skills of operators and maintenance personnel through training

Improving how well you operate and maintain your equipment is highly dependent on theabilities of your operators and maintenance personnel.  A good question to ask is, “do your people have the best possible skills to do the best possible job?”  The emphasis is on the wordbest.

Training is one of the means to make sure the operators operate their equipment and conduct Autonomous Maintenance activities in the best possible manner.  It also ensures that your maintenance personnel have the skills to troubleshoot and conduct corrective and preventive maintenance.  If you want to improve a system, make sure the people involved in that system have the necessary skills and knowledge to improve.  TPM emphasizes that need. 

5. Develope an early equipment management program

Since 85% to 90% of the cost of maintaining a piece of equipment comes from the way it was designed and manufactured, it makes perfect sense to be a “wise buyer” of equipment.  Developing cross-functional design teams of engineers, operators, and maintenance personnel is one way to ensure that you don’t buy long term burdens.

Pre-installation audits, trial runs, start-up control, maintaining problem databases, conditional acceptance, and reliability engineering concepts are part of preventive engineering––TPM’s Equipment Management process for Maintenance Free Design.   

By focusing on these 5 quick wins you will be able to drastically improve equipment uptime, reliability, production throughput and quality.  In today's post I mainly covered some of the quick wins in accordance with Total Productive Maintenance. There are other areas to achieve sustainable reliability improvements; such as key maintenance systems like planning and scheduling and storeroom control. These processes are the foundation for reliability and process improvement. We will cover those topics in future posts.

As always, please comment below if you have any other suggestions or wish to provide your thoughts on this post.  

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