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The Road to Lubrication Excellence

The Road to Lubrication Excellence

IMC-2017 Learning Session - 33:22
by Alan Knight, Mueller Company

When implementing any new improvement initiative, there are two absolutes that must be known: where you currently are and what the goal is. In order to know where the program was, the oil vendor was contacted and a lubrication survey was performed to identify what lubricants were being used, by whom, and how frequently. Once completed, we were able to consolidate oils and greases, eliminate some bad habits, and improve our oil handling and storage practices. Once able to exercise more control over the contamination in our lubricants, knowing the condition of these lubricants in our critical equipment became necessary.

To paraphrase Jim Collins in "Good to Great" - in order for companies to be successful, the right people must be in the right seats on the bus. Having the right lubrication personnel is critical to success.

Mistakes were made early on by trying to take the less expensive route on training. The results of this was that both oilers became discouraged and bid off of the job - they had been set up to fail. We reevaluated and improved the training method and were successful, proving that there are no shortcuts and spending money for the best training is a sound investment.

Perhaps the most important ingredient to sustained success in any initiative such as this is management buy-in and support. Without it, one cannot maintain or expand and improve the program.

As stated previously, there are two absolutes; the second is the goal. Our goal is to have a world class lubrication program. We are still a ways from being there but with the strong management support we have at the plant level and at the corporate level, we have everything at our disposal to achieve it.

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