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Could you imagine drinking milk weeks or months after the expiration date? We all look at the expiration dates when we purchase products for consumption. It's just the healthy thing to do. Why don't we ever get concerned about the "healthy thing to do" for our maintainable assets at our site.

Routinely repairable parts and consumables are utilized throughout our sites that are well past their expiration date, inducing premature failures and unnecessary repairs. Establish a shelf life monitoring program for all items that have expiration dates. Typical items that should be monitored are: drive belts, bearings, seals, rubber or soft plastic items, etc.

Identify the normal shelf life for these items, annotate or attach a tag with the date the item was received. Utilize the FIFO (First In First Out) for issuing these items (older items first). Make it a routine part of the on-going cycle count to check all the expiration dates and remove all expired items so they don't induce premature equipment failures.

If you're not looking at expiration dates at the store perhaps you should start. CNN reported recently that a major store chain had items on the shelf that were up to two-years past the expiration date...

Not sure where or how to get started? We can help. People and Processes is more than a name, it's about the people and giving them sound processes. Learn how with our upcoming training.

Tip provided by Dave Bertolini, Managing Principal, People and Processes, Inc.

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