Keeping TPM active in your organization (Quick Tip)


Don’t let Total Productive Maintenance become a “flavor of the month”. Communication is key to keeping Total Productive Maintenance active in your organization. Consider promoting it using signs, banners, t-shirts, communication boards, pens, note pads, post-it notes etc. Get creative because you are now a part time marketer as well as a full-time Total Productive Maintenance champion. 

Bonus TPM Tip
Incorporate TPM cleaning and lubrication standards into your document control processes. This will ensure that you are in compliance with FAA, FDA, ISO, etc., guidelines as well as helping TPM become ingrained in your organization’s culture.

Missing our friend and colleague, Bernie …

We at Marshall Institute have lost a dear friend and great employee. On December 26th, Bernie (Bernadette) Andrews passed away unexpectedly, at the too young age of 50.

Bernie AndrewsBernie touched the lives of many; if you have received a manual from Marshall Institute in the past 10 years, you have been touched by Bernie as well. She printed and packed our books and materials with the greatest care and professionalism.

Effective Maintenance Troubleshooting: 6 Key Elements

We in the reliability consulting and training profession, spend the majority of our time teaching ways to prevent equipment and system failure. Knowledge of effective troubleshooting practices can go a long way toward getting equipment back on line quickly. Unfortunately, due to many reasons troubleshooting occupies too much of a technician's time.

Working as a maintenance technician for 17 years I learned many tips and tricks for troubleshooting equipment. In the past 11 years working in consulting I have refined those field-learned tips and tricks into repeatable processes. You might consider these six key elements to improve your troubleshooting skills:

Fix Your Leaks: The Consequences of Leaking Equipment

If the culture of your organization is such that instead of fixing leaking equipment you build dams of absorbent socks, fabricate “drip-pans”, permanently attach vacuum systems to collect coolant, oil, or water and empty them back into the appropriate reservoir; you are at risk.

Why Should Leaks Be Fixed?

Happy Holidays from Marshall Institute

There is no greater joy than seeing smiles on the faces of deserving children on Christmas morning…at Marshall Institute, Christmas has always been about giving… this year, we purchased clothing, shoes, stocking stuffers, and those special wish list toys for six children through the Wake County Guardian ad Litem program.  After all of the gifts were wrapped, our very own “Santa Tom” was ready to deliver them to a local family. 


Marshall Institute wishes everyone a happy, wonderful and safe holiday season. 

Analysis & Validation (Quick Tip)


PM optimization has two key phases, Analysis and Validation. I am going to cover a few key principles for each phase in this blog tip. I see the same errors voiding the performance enhancing purpose of PM Optimization efforts so i want to pass on what i have learned to support others in their PM improvement endeavors.

During the analysis phase the key consideration is to carefully prepare, in advance, a detailed summary of actual PMs and tasks associated with them. Those tasks should be challenged by the most knowledgeable people against particular failure modes. If the task lacks meaning and the ability to prevent a potential failure, the team should decide if the task should be re-written, removed or worth changing is worth having a run to failure maintenance strategy in place. It is importantto understand the risk and consequences assumed with a run to failure strategy.

Be an Effective Maintenance Supervisor

‘Maintenance Supervision’ is an important topic that we have been talking about recently. Maintenance Supervisors play an integral role in joining the dots between management goal setting and actual performance. They are management’s front-line task force, delivering unity between daily operation and strategic direction. The role of the supervisor is riddled with challenges that require a niche skill-set; for example, amongst being the orchestrator for hitting performance targets, on time and on budget, they are required to effectively motivate employees and cultivate an environment of team-work and continuous improvement. This is a specialist position that deserves respect. 

To be successful, a maintenance supervisor must have the following traits:

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.  Car MaintenanceThe 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. 

3 Consequences of a Poorly Run Maintenance Storeroom (Video)

Poorly run maintenance storerooms can impact an organization's performance and bottom line in three ways:

  1. Constrict Cash Flow
  2. Reduce Productivity
  3. Increase Unnecessary Costs

Less tangible, but equally significant, a poorly run storeroom also affects employees' perception of the storeroom's value and their confidence in the storeroom's ability to stock the right parts, in the right quantity, at the right time.

Andy Gager, Director of Consulting, discusses some tactical processes and strategic practices that any storeroom can employ to avoid these three consequences to become a true profit center.  


Operator Care Inspection Cards (Quick Tip)


Use an old time card rack to hold operator care inspection cards. The cards can each represent an operator check and are often sorted by days of the week. The cards should be green on one side and red on the other, with text and pictures of the tasks. Each day as the operator completes the task they turn the card from the red side to the green side, creating an easily understandable visual. All cards are turned from green at the beginning of the week.

Card Rack

If you have any maintenance and reliability tips you would like to share please leave them in the comment box below.  


MRO Inventory Management: 3 Key Factors (Video)

Successful inventory management is dependent upon three key factors: having the right parts, at the right time, in the right quantity. In this short video, recorded at the 2010 NFMT conference, Andy Gager, talks about these key factors as well as the importance of an honest storeroom self-assessment and the value of benchmark data.

The video is hosted by Click on the link below and clicking the green button in the top right corner of the page to skip passed the advertisement.


MRO Video

Maintenance Planning and Scheduling - 5 Pitfalls to Avoid

Effective planning and scheduling is a cornerstone process of a world class maintenance department. To achieve success you must avoid common pitfalls. In this post we have included 5 of the original 13 pitfalls covered in an article we had published in Maintenance Technology Magazine last year.


1: Picking the wrong person as Planner 
The Planner position is one of the most critical in the entire maintenance organization. Placing the right person in this position with the right skills is paramount to the success of the group. The Planner is responsible for uplifting the utilization rate of the entire group. How can this be accomplished with the wrong person? Your very finest should be considered for this position. He or she should have a host of capabilities that management should understand before the choice is made.

Maintenance Inventory Strategies: Vending Machines & RFID

Maintenance Inventory Strategies: Vending Machines & 

Part 3 of a 4 part series featured in and Maintenance Solutions Magazine, November 2010.


One proven strategy for streamlining inventories involves placing vending machines strategically throughout a campus or facility. The machines store commonly used items, such as gloves, tape, lubricants, and batteries. Studies show that by placing these items in vending machines, managers can cut storeroom inventories by an average of 20 percent, and labor costs drop by up to 40 percent.