10 months ago

Maintworld 2/2017


CONDITION MONITORING 5 Ways to Break Out of the Reactive Maintenance Cycle of Doom Improving reliability will help the bottom line of any organization – and much more. However, if that organization is experiencing any level of reactive maintenance, then improved reliability may seem like a pipe dream. Until you can break out of the “reactive maintenance cycle of doom”, it is not possible to make any real inroads into your reliability improvement initiative. JASON TRANTER, Founder and Managing Director of Mobius Institute, Jason.tranter@ IF YOU WERE to look at the failures you are experiencing today, would you agree that most of them are preventable? Are those failures consuming your resources, manpower and budget? As a result of having to deal with those failures, are repairs performed poorly, or are you performing temporary repairs that you plan to correct later (but never do)? And as a result, are you experiencing more repeat work? Do you ever perform root cause failure analysis so that you can eliminate those failures? And what happens when suggestions are made for improvement? Are they ignored? 14 maintworld 2/2017

CONDITION MONITORING And what is management’s response? Do they reduce the headcount and try to squeeze the budget in order to deal with the high costs of downtime and reactive maintenance? What happens then? Does morale decline? Do standards drop further? And as a result do you experience even more preventable failures that consume resources and results in temporary repairs being performed? We could continue to go through this list, around and around and around. Well, if you answer “yes” to the majority of the questions above, then you are trapped in the reactive maintenance cycle of doom… You have to get out! But How Do You Get Out? We have to get out of the reactive maintenance cycle of doom. If everyone is dragged back to perform reactive work, then none of the proactive tasks that will ultimately lead to improved reliability can ever be performed. Well, you may believe that management could hire additional people so that you have the resources to perform those proactive tasks. That is about as likely as management hiring unicorns to maintain the grass. The basic answer is that we have to do much more with the people and budget that we have right now. We have to stop performing tasks that waste our money, waste our time, and induce failures in our equipment. This may sound like a push for higher productivity. In a sense, it is. But that is not our focus. So, how do we break out of this vicious cycle so that we can make real improvements in reliability? 1. First We Have to Change the Culture The first step is to change people’s attitudes, which will change people’s behaviour. Everyone has to believe that they will be better off in a reliable plant. They also have to believe that they can contribute to the reliability improvement process. There are a number of ways to go about doing this, and it is a topic worthy of its own article (or even its own book) but there are a few things we can do to improve the culture: 1. Ensure that senior management is 100 percent behind reliability improvement and ensure that they are vocal in their support 2. Educate people so that they truly understand the benefits of working in a reliable plant 3. Educate people so that they understand why failure occurs 4. Involve people, ideally in a “brown paper process”, in order to get their suggestions for improvements and get their assistance in making the improvements That last point needs a brief explanation. As intelligent managers or maintenance/reliability engineers, we can come up with a lot of ways to improve reliability. We can devise a strategy via the Reliability Centred Maintenance (RCM) CONDITION MONITORING WARNS YOU ABOUT PENDING EQUIPMENT FAILURES; THE NATURE OF THE PROBLEM AND THE SEVERITY OF THE PROBLEM. analysis process. And then we could implement that plan and ensure that we do what is necessary to change people’s behaviour. But people do not like to be changed. They will change when they are a contributor to change. Besides, who knows more about the reasons why equipment fails (and why we experience production slowdowns) than the operators of the equipment and the front-line people who maintain it? But do we normally ask those people for their opinion or assistance? No, we don’t… And then we wonder why we don’t enjoy the success we hope for. So that is something that we are going to do differently in the future. The “brown-paper” process will gather together the “front line” people in small groups and learn from them what needs to change. And then we will ask them to lead the mini-projects that correct the problems that are identified – in that way they take ownership and free up your time. An activity like this is key to your success. 2. Implement a Work Management Programme Well, we really just need basic (but effective) planning and scheduling for now. Wait a minute. Doesn’t that mean you need an extra person? No, you will take one of your most effective trades people and put them in the role of planner/ scheduler. But surely that must mean that you have even fewer people to perform the corrective (and hopefully proactive) maintenance work. That is true, but the fact is that we will make the remaining trades people far more effective. Planned and scheduled work is 20 percent more efficient than unmanaged work. And it is safer. And the work will be done right the first time and Follow a Roadmap to Tackle the Reactive Maintenance Doom If you do not have a strategy, then feel free to follow the chart below. It has been developed to ensure that you lay a solid foundation before you tackle the reactive maintenance cycle doom, and then you can focus on the “world’s best practice” of reliability improvement and operational excellence. 2/2017 maintworld 15