So what are the best performers doing differently than others? The short answer is that they do what we all know we need to do; they just do it better and better over a long period of time.
They distinguish and understand the difference between a complete reliability and maintenance system and tools.
The essential elements of a reliability and maintenance system include:
- Maintenance planning and scheduling closely related to the production plan which, in turn, is driven by the market.
- Good planning and scheduling will enable people to perform work much more efficiently.
- The work done shall be recorded and the information shall be used to analyze and improve.
If these steps (in the green circle) are done, your organization will continuously improve.
If this circle is disrupted by reactive work, the circle of despair, your organization will not improve.
By doing your maintenance prevention with precision (align, balance, lubricate, operating practices etc.) you will avoid maintenance work.
Using disciplined priorities for work requests and doing the right condition monitoring including basic inspections will give enough lead time to properly plan and schedule work.
To plan work you need a good technical data base and an updated bill of material.
Good tools to enhance any of the functions in the system include:
- The computer system
- SMED = Single Minute Exchange of Die. A methodology used to enhance planning of work.
- RCPE = Root Cause Problem Elimination. Tools used to analyze and eliminate problems.
- Kaizen = "Change for the better", a methodology used to drive continuous improvement.
- Six Sigma = A methodology to define, measure, analyze, improve and control a process.
- Five S = A structured way to organize e.g. a workshop, a store, a production area or an office.
- RCM = A structured methodology to decide the right maintenance procedure.
One of the common reasons why reliability and maintenance improvements fail to generate achievable results is "program fatigue" or the program of the month syndrome. Therefore, when a new tool is introduced it is important to explain that it is going to be used in the context of the existing reliability and maintenance system. You must explain that it is not a change of direction or a new program. If the introduction of a new tool is perceived as a change of the whole reliability and maintenance system, it will lead to confusion and lack of long-term focus. Explain that you still want to improve within the Best Practices circle. Improvements in the elements of that circle will improve reliability and lower costs.