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Question: What is the quickest way to improve wrench time?

Answer: Short repairs during PMs (defined as short but complete repairs on problems found during PMs that are done during the PM).

To see how this works let's list the activities of a PM from soup to nuts.

Activity
Get job assignment
Move truck (equipment) from yard (dead line) to bay
Lock out tag out –make it safe
Collect special tools and equipment
Locate, check and collect parts, materials
Travel to job with materials and tools (field and infrastructure)
Quick safety walk down
Perform work (this is the only real wrench time)
Clean up work area on truck
Unlock, un-Tag
Move truck to go line, return to operations
Return tools and excess materials
Do paperwork, work order, closing comments


There are 13 activities and only 1 is productive. One thing is clear. When we can do a second or third planned job on the same asset we would add mostly to the “perform work” time. Let’s put some times into the blocks and see if you agree or not:


ActivityDoing PM only in minutesPM + 60 minute short repair
Get job assignment1010
Move equipment to work bay or go to equipment2525
Lock out tag out1515
Collect special tools and heavy equipment3030
Locate, check and collect parts, materials6060
Travel to job with materials and tools (field and infrastructure)55
Quick safety walk down1010
Perform work9090+60 = 150
Clean up work area1015
Unlock, un-Tag1010
Move equipment, return to operations1515
Return tools and excess materials1010
Do paperwork, work order, closing comments1015
Totals90/300=30%150/370=40%


Wow, 25% increase in wrench time for that job.

Another advantage

One advantage is that the PM inspectors feel trusted and take greater ownership of the health of the equipment.

There are 5 rules for short repairs

  1. You have to set a maximum time depending on the size of your facility and your type of equipment. Usually the limit is 15 minutes to as long as an hour are common.
  2. The repair must be able to be done safely with the tools that the PM person has with them.
  3. The last rule is that PM mechanic must be already carrying any necessary materials or parts
  4. Of course, the mechanic must have the skills
  5. If in your organization the scope of work on the permit has to be followed and if changed, the permit has to be reissued then short repairs are not for you

Important to code the extra time as CM and not PM on work order if possible

Disadvantages to short repairs that should be known and managed:

  • The skill requirement for PM people for short repairs is significantly higher than for just PM
  • Short repairs require significant judgment (so the short repair doesn’t turn into a long repair or isn’t too disruptive)
  • One thing that you need to accept is that short repairs cause schedule disruptions 
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