Getting Beyond the Boundaries—Operator Excellence | Part 3 of 5

The MicroMain Blog is pleased to present another entry in our guest blogger series. We are reaching out to third party industry experts for their take on maintenance management and how it can complement a quality CMMS system

Dale R. Blann is the Principal/CEO of Marshall Institute, a leading asset management consulting and training company. In this blog, the third in his five-part “world class maintenance” series, he describes how operators can support World Class Maintenance.

View his first two blog on Three Steps to World Class Maintenance (Intro) and Maintenance Excellence (Step One).

World Class Maintenance Series Part 3 of 5

Guest Blogger: Dale R. Blann, Principal/CEO, Marshall Institute Inc.  |  |  919-834-3722

The Second Step — Getting Beyond the Boundaries

By Dale R. Blann, Principal/CEO, Marshall Institute Inc.

The ability of a company to achieve ‘world class’ status depends on how well it can get the various functions to work together to accomplish its business objectives. This is nowhere more true than between production and maintenance. Maintenance must be recognized as an integral part of the plant production strategy by which the product is delivered to the customer at the quality they want, at the price they are willing to pay. But, remember, maintenance can’t do it alone!

For maintenance to do its job properly, to accomplish the maintenance mission, requires the cooperation of, and association with, virtually every department: production, procurement, engineering, accounting, human resources, etc.) in the plant — but especially with production! Not only must we in maintenance know what our objectives (roles and missions) are, but know how they are related to (and are in fact a derivative of) the larger sets of roles, missions, and strategic objectives of the overall organization.

It’s relatively easy to encourage maintenance improvement within maintenance organizational lines; that is what Step 1 is all about. It is much more difficult is to get “beyond the boundaries”; to get other departments to adjust, to work out new, more productive arrangements that sometime cross traditional boundaries, or shift ‘territories’ or responsibilities, and get different departments or functional groups to even accept each other’s ideas–but these things are absolutely crucial for “world-class” organizations. That is what Step 2 is about.

The Heart of Maintenance and Reliability

Operators are at the heart of maintenance and reliability. Maintenance does not exist as service to production; production and Maintenance are partners in equipment care! Operators should have an active, participative role in maintenance and reliability efforts. This can include:

  • Tracking PM schedule compliance (their measure);
  • Participating in joint improvement efforts (equipment improvement teams);
  • Working together with maintainers to solve problems
  • Taking direct responsibility for the condition of their equipment, and the total costs of maintenance and operations on critical assets;
  • Doing minor maintenance and basic care of equipment
  • Participating in daily and weekly planning sessions to schedule maintenance activities
  • Etc.

Consider implementing Basic Equipment Care (Autonomous Maintenance) practices and CLAIR activities for operators:

  • Clean equipment routinely
  • Lubricate routinely
  • Adjust and Tighten routinely (Check/tighten belts, parts)
  • Inspect for deterioration routinely
  • Replacements and minor repair

Furthermore, operations should work with maintenance to develop performance measures which reflect the maintenance contribution in terms of the overall production objectives, not as ‘cost’ but as necessary ‘value-added’ resource to best meet production objectives; ‘ally’ not ‘necessary evil’. Maintenance and production should be working to common goals!

Some people think it is heresy to say so, but ultimate responsibility for continual good condition of production facilities and equipment rests with production. This means that decisions on the nature, scope and volume of work should be made by Production Management. 

In the end, an asset’s performance, costs, and overall utilization is a production responsibility; the maintenance responsibility is to assist production to reach the right decisions by applying technically qualified advice and knowledge.