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10 Things You Can Do Right Now To Improve Reliability

Warning: Do not skip any steps if you wish to succeed

Number 1: Purchase a copy of Terry Wireman's book "World Class Maintenance". Take 4 hours and sit down with the plant manager, production manager, comptroller, and yourself (maintenance manager). Answer the assessment in the front of the book. If you do not understand the question, go to the chapter which defines the question. If you still do not understand, then the answer is no. Total the score and see where you stand. Now we are ready to begin. Awareness of a problem is the start. Understanding that everyone sitting in that room owns reliability and thus owns the problem and solution is essential in order to be successful.

Number 2: Rank your key assets based on risk. Risk can mean many things to many people. Develop a small list of questions to develop your ranking of assets. One question may be: "If this asset were to stop would it stop plant capacity?" or "if this asset stops an outage of longer than 24 hours what will occur?

Number 3: Begin writing work orders for all emergency and preventive maintenance work on priority 1 and 2 assets based on your ranking of assets above. Ensure accurate labor hours are added to each. Track and trend these hours against each other and post the results after 4 weeks. Ask a team of operators and maintenance personnel to make recommended changes to the PM program on worst performing assets as a result. See example graph below.

Fig 1

Number 4: Restore, one step at a time, your highest risk asset in worst condition and at the same time develop operator and maintenance preventive maintenance procedures. These procedures should include steps (yes, step by step), specifications, parts (filters with storeroom number), permits required, estimated time required to complete, etc.

Number 5: Once the asset is restored and a repair has been made then a corrective maintenance procedure must be written with specifications, steps, estimated labor hours, drawings, special tools, etc. identified.

Number 6: Use the new Preventive Maintenance (PM) procedures on the newly restored asset. Apply the 10% Rule of Preventive Maintenance. This rule is defined as a PM that must be completed within 10% of the time standard. Example: if the PM requires to be accomplished every 30 days then it must be completed within 3 days or it is out of compliance. The expected goal is 100% compliance. It may not start out this way but should end up this way.

Number 7: Fabricate a sign that states "Warning, This Equipment is Maintainable, Only Proactive Maintenance in this Area ", See the example below. Only allow your best maintenance personnel and operators to work in this area.

Fig 2

Number 8: Develop Overall Equipment Effectiveness metrics for the production area. If you don't know how to make this happen just send me an email and I will help. Post the daily and shift OEE on a line graph and show the trend. Leadership needs to back off and let the operators and maintenance personnel do their job and lead this effort.

OEE = Equipment Availability x Performance Efficiency x First Pass Quality with World-class levels of OEE start at 85% based on the following values: 90% Equipment Availability x 95% Performance Efficiency x 99% Rate of Quality = OEE of 84.6%

The OEE calculation factors in the major losses it seeks to eliminate. The first focus should be on major equipment effectiveness losses, because this is where the largest gains can be realized in the shortest time.

There are 11 major areas of loss, and they fall within four broad categories:

Equipment Availability:

Planned-shutdown losses

1. No production, breaks, and/or shift changes

2. Planned maintenance Downtime Losses

3. Equipment failure or breakdowns

Setups and changeovers

4. Tooling or part changes

5. Start-up and adjustment

Performance Efficiency:

Performance efficiency losses

6. Minor stops (less than six minutes)

7. Reduced speed or cycle time

First Pass Quality (Yes, First Pass Quality ONLY)

Quality Losses

9. Scrap product/output

10. Defects or rework

11. Yield or process transition losses

Number 9: Develop a vendor performance metric. This metric will have three parts. One, the percentage of time a vendor delivers a part on "the agreed upon time" (one minute late is late, sorry); two, the percentage of time the same vendor delivers the wrong part (no substitution unless agreed upon by maintenance manager); three, the times the same vendor delivers the wrong quantity of parts. The sum of these three measurements equals the vendor performance metric. Post this metric by vendor by month in the storeroom. The standard should be 95%, sorry no excuses accepted.

Number 10: Now take the assessment results from Terry Wireman's book and work on the maintenance process beginning with the planning and scheduling process first.

If you need further ideas, including training suggestions, send me an email at and good luck.

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