Successfully Adopt Predictive Maintenance Technology (Quick Tip)

Before you invest in extensive training to kick start your Predictive Maintenance technology program, consider the follow simple yet effective tip.

Rather than risk the financial and time investment (e.g. purchasing equipment, receiving training) required to implement predictive maintenance technologies, consider trying a small pilot project using an outside contractor. With the lower initial expense and the enhanced capabilities of an experienced contractor (you did do your homework on checking out the contractor didn't you?), the likelihood of success is much higher. From this point your program can be expanded on an incremental basis. If eventually you have sufficient need and funding to develop your own in-house program you will have already built your business case and justification with calculated steps showing return on investment along the way.

The Maintenance Contribution: A Measured Approach to Uptime

The following text is taken from an article published in Plant Engineering magazine October 2010, written by Hank Bardel, a  Marshall Institute Senior Consultant.

Use Proactive Methods and Metrics to Prove the Value of Maintenance

"I spent X number of dollars last year on maintenance, but don’t know what I got for my money."

Autonomous Maintenance: Make it Visual


Visual controls are a great way to promote autonomous maintenance practices - an essential element ofTotal Productive Maintenance (TPM).

If you haven't done this already consider marking site-windows and pressure gauges so that the optimum operating range is clearly defined. This should 

be done in a way so that even an untrained operator can easily identify the gauge and determine if it is operating within the optimal ranges.

Valves should be marked “normal open” or “normal closed” clearly identifying the position of the valves under normal operating conditions

Clear and Definitive PMs (Quick Tip)


PM's should have a definitive task to address each failure mode for any given piece of equipment. This definitive task should produce an indication of a minor abnormality before it becomes a full blown problem; this strategy would allow us to prepare a job plan for corrective maintenance before the equipment fails. This type of maintenance will produce the reliability necessary to move a company to World Class and show the contribution of maintenance.

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


5 Key Elements to Total Productive Maintenance (Video)

In this short video, Marshall Institute’s President, Greg Folts, talks about the 5 core elements of Total Productive Maintenance (TPM).

The 5 key elements are:

  1. Maintenance Excellence
  2. Basic Equipment Care
  3. Equipment Improvement
  4. Knowledge and Skills
  5. Equipment Design Excellence

If you have any TPM related experiences you would like to share please do so using the comment box below.

Maintenance Training to Meet Your 2011 Goals

Marshall Institute Training Center
Here’s a quick glimpse at the main Marshall Institute Training room in the Raleigh, NC office. Those who have attended training with us will of course be familiar with the picture. For those who are scheduled to attend an upcoming seminar in Raleigh, we look forward to seeing you. 

Anticipating failures

On this edition of Skill TV - Augie Schumacher, reliability engineer from Infralogix, illustrates the importance of implementing predictive technologies.

Skill TV is "A joint venture between and Joel Leonard, Skill TV is an Internet- based TV show that illustrates Leonard's fight against the maintenance crisis."

Productivity Improvement through Total Productive Maintenance

Productivity is the ratio of output over input. Outputs are the products or services a company produces, while inputs are those resources (energy, labor, equipment, materials) we use to create the outputs.

To improve that ratio, and productivity, you could keep the same level of inputs while increasing outputs or reduce inputs while keeping outputs the same. However, to optimize this ratio, you must increase output while reducing inputs. The opportunity is not to just do the right things, it is doing the right things right! That is productivity improvement.

To achieve optimal productivity requires improving the process of converting input to outputs.  Improve the efficiency and effectiveness of your systems and you will improve productivity.

Wanted: Qualified Industry Job Candidates

Today we are releasing another Joel Leonard and Skill TV video. Marshall institute is working with Joel, known in the community as the maintenance evangelist, to promote the message of the importance maintenance and reliability in industry.

Joel interviews Charles Kelly, a Plant Engineer from major manufacturing organization. This video highlights, despite the weakened economy, the need for qualified candidates is still present.

One of the biggest challenges many individuals are facing today is finding well paid industry jobs. Conversely, due to the high number of applicant rates, one of the difficulties companies are experiencing is finding qualified applicants. The key message from this video is that good job are out there; however, people need to develop the right skill sets to match the job description.  For those searching for industry work, find out what jobs are in high demand in your region then build your skill set to become qualified. Strengthen your skill set and increase your chances of finding a good job.

Enjoy the video...

Establishing Proactive Maintenance


How can you move from a reactive to a proactive maintenance environment?

One element of this answer, although not as simple as it seems, is through structure and organization. A key system for establishing a proactive maintenance department is setting up an effective PM program. The difficulty in establishing an effective PM program is keeping up with PMs when there is so much emergency work.

To change your behaviors and ensure that the PMs are completed, your maintenance crew cannot be pulled away from PMs to do corrective or emergency work. One way to alleviate this problem is to create a dedicated PM team/crew that handles PMs only. Now, as fires will still need to be put out you must establish a dedicated "Do it Now" Squad (DIN) to manage all emergency work. The beauty to this organization and structure is that as the PM crew hits their goals, the DIN Squad will have less emergency work to do.

Over time, with other elements such as planning and scheduling, this behavior will help to transition a reactive environment to a proactive environment.

TPM's Myth of Zero Unplanned Downtime

One of the goals of Total Productive Maintenance is to achieve zero unplanned downtime. While I understand the value of zero targets, in this case I think it serves to alienate some of the seasoned veterans that we desire to include in our reliability improvement efforts.  Our craftsmen intuitively know that preventing all failure is not possible, this disconnect between goal and reality aids the unfortunate leap to the philosophy that their job is simply to repair the failures quickly.  This problem is often compounded by rewarding reactive behaviors.  For example, when I worked in the trades, I quickly learned that the best troubleshooter and fastest repairman got the most recognition, praise, and overtime.

Effective Planning & Scheduling - 3 Key Partnerships (Quick Tip)


There are 3 key partnerships that must be formed in order to make the Planning & Scheduling improvement efforts more effective. These partnerships are leveraged by good working relations and communication between Operations, Parts, and Maintenance. These three departments are the cornerstones of a successful planning and scheduling process.

One effective tactic to build better relationships and communication is to include your production partner in the weekly maintenance scheduling meetings. They can provide assistance in work prioritization and scheduling machine downtime so maintenance work can be performed.

Build relationships, ask for people's professional opinion, and communicate openly about what you want to achieve. If you make people feel valuable, more often than not, they will help offer more support than you asked for.

Micro-managing Kills Productivity (Quick Tip)

I had just received my new job assignment; I was to replace Jack as facilities maintenance manager. One of the electricians approached me and said, "I just have one question: How are you planning on running this place?" Since Jack had been accustomed to accompanying his employees to the job and telling them exactly how to do every detail of the work, I felt I knew where the electrician was coming from. I responded, "I just have one question for you: How long have you worked here?" "Twenty years!" he responded. "Then I’ll tell you," I said, "if you don’t know how to do your job by now, then I don’t need you…My job is to tell you what needs to be done, why it needs to be done, get you what it takes to do the job, and then get out of your way!" You never saw a bigger smile!

Boost Line & Machine Performance with Equipment Improvement Teams (Quick Tip)

Equipment Improvement Teams are critical to increasing line and equipment reliability and performance. However, to achieve their potential make sure you have prepared well and have executed the fundamentals properly!

Equipment Improvement teams (EIT) can be critical to increasing the performance of a line or machine. To achieve significant results from your EITs, they must be properly chartered, practice good meeting principles, and be commissioned with a specific goal and timeframe. EITs fail when the goals are too big, unclear, and proper meetings are not run. Avoid these pitfalls and you will see a marked improvement in reliability and performance.

If you have any tips you would like to share with others or want us to cover, please leave a comment below.