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Culture and Management

  • 70/30 Phenomenon

    by Christer Idhammar

    When you ask front line supervisors or team leaders if all people in their teams are performing to the same standards or if some are doing more work and achieving more results than others, you will often get the same answer. All over the world, the most common answer, after some analysis, verifies that about 30% of the people do 70% of the work. This is not only true for front line people like mechanics and electricians, but also for planners, engineers, and other salaried employees. However, our focus in this column is on the front line of maintenance. 

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  • A Maintenance Weight Loss Program

    by Michael Lippig

    The Conundrum
    Conceptually, losing weight is a matter of eating less and exercising more. However, most attempts usually fail and we often gain weight. Similarly, healthy maintenance practices are very basic. Yet again, most organizations fail to apply them successfully. Success or failure with a weight loss plan has many elements in common with the application of sound maintenance principles and may help us avoid some common traps and failures. This maintenance management article will hopefully provide some guidance.

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  • Are most maintenance organizations overstaffed?

    by Christer Idhammar

    Yes, I think that most maintenance organizations are overstaffed, not necessary with own staff, but they use more total maintenance hours than necessary. Total maintenance hours include your own internal hours, overtime hours and contractor hours. As an example a newsprint mill or a linerboard mill making 600,000 tons recycled paper per year on two machines is very good at less than 0.3 total maintenance hours per ton while most operations we have been working with are using about 0.5 total maintenance hours per ton.

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  • Can Your Mill Produce the Right Results?

    by Christer Idhammar

    This is a summary of a part of a presentation by Christer Idhammar, president of IDCON, INC. Raleigh NC, during the 15th annual Pulp & Paper Reliability and Maintenance Conference and Exhibit in Atlanta 5-8 November 2001.

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  • Do You Listen When Your Equipment Speak to You

    by Torbjörn Idhammar & Michael Lippig

    Do you listen to your motors complaining about overload? Do you see your pump packings crying a flood? Do you hear you bearings whine about contaminated lubricants? Do you notice your steam system that coughs excessive condensate and it’s complains about strained elbows? 

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  • Does Rapid Change of Maintenance Performance Exist?

    by Christer Idhammar

    Does rapid change of maintenance performance exist? If change is equivalent to sustainable improvements the answer to this question is “No”.  My experience has shown that 90% of improvement of maintenance performance is about people and 10% is about technology and processes. This does not mean that technology and design of processes are not important. It is very important to design the right processes for people to enable them to become more productive. But that is the easy part in an improvement initiative; this part might take only five to ten percent of the effort in time and money.

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  • Headcount Reduction

    by Christer Idhammar

    Not long ago I was involved in a reliability and improvement initiative in a big plant. As always, the improvement initiative was received with skeptics, many other initiatives had come and gone with various results during the last fifteen years. These initiatives, management declared, would be different than the previous ones. It had now been decided that it would be a long term reliability improvement initiative, not only a cost cutting exercise.

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  • Health care of humans and maintenance of equipment, is there a correlation?

    by Christer Idhammar

    If we maintain equipment right, we will benefit fewer failures and break downs and a longer technical equipment life. Many case studies have proven this fact. In previous columns I have shown case studies covering the strong correlation between high reliability and low maintenance costs of equipment. In this column I will discuss another aspect of maintenance and how this might prove the same phenomenon including longer life.

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  • How do you successfully manage maintenance; what is the connection between workflow, people and technology?

    by Owe Forsberg

    Management’s responsibility is to develop a process that the organization can follow in their daily job to execute or perform their work. The process can, in short, be described in the following way:

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  • Improve Basic Work Systems First

    by Christer Idhammar

    Many organizations spend too much time searching for—and starting implementation of—new reliability and maintenance concepts, and very little time on implementation and improvements of what they just started.

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  • Is people your most valuable resource?

    by Christer Idhammar

    “People are our most valuable resource” is most probably the correct political statement to make, but is this true? I do not think it is not true and in this article I will explain why I think so.

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  • Joint Reward System Drives Results and Teamwork

    by Christer Idhammar

    One of the reasons many reliability and maintenance improvement initiatives fail to deliver sustaining results is lack of team work between and within departments. It is still common that operations and maintenance do not work as the team they should be. The engineering department is sometimes described as “the black hole” by the maintenance staff. “This is where we send drawings to be updated, and we never see them again” is not an uncommon comment.

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  • Leadership in Maintenance Workshop Worship?

    by Torbjörn Idhammar

    I just returned from a few weeks in Sweden where I met with various clients and potential consulting  partners. In every discussion it became clear that we at IDCON work very differently compared to other consulting firms in Europe.

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  • Let's Kill Wrench Time Studies!

    by Torbjörn Idhammar

    For a while, I thought that the whole "wrench time" concept was dead. But, I was wrong. Over the past year, I've worked with two organizations that had to perform a wrench time study. And more than ever, the concept is featured in articles and at conferences. My guess is that consultants and educators are keeping the concept alive. For you out there in the plants, I want your opinion (see the bottom of this article to reply).

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  • Maintenance Management Legends

    by Torbjörn Idhammar

    There are many paradigms and legends surrounding maintenance management in plants. Often, the legends are known to be untrue, but people live with them because it is politically correct, or simply convenient. To be successful in improving equipment reliability and maintenance management, plants must break the legends that exist in their organizations. Some of the legends will be addressed in this article. You may find that these legends are uncomfortably close to describing how your plant operates.

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  • Morning Meetings - Maintenance Planning and Scheduling

    by Christer Idhammar

    All over the world, most mills have morning meetings. As a consultant, I have been asked to sit in on many of these meetings, and my conclusion from these experiences is that most of them are not very effective or meaningful to the attendees. 

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  • Practical implementation of production reliability

    by Torbjörn Idhammar

    If you want to improve production reliability in one or more facilities, it is important to have a clear picture of the goal(s).  At first glance, this may seem as a given, but I suggest that you ask yourself some questions or even perform self-analysis by asking a number of people in your facility.

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  • Practical Tips for Reliability Improvements

    by Torbjörn Idhammar

    A few years ago I was doing a follow-up visit to a mining company in Kazakhstan with about 67,000 employees. IDCON had been hired to implement better maintenance work processes at one of their smelting plants. Our joint plan was to start by implementing planning, scheduling and preventive maintenance (PM)

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  • Reliability and Maintenance Implementation Model – Step I.

    by Christer Idhammar

    This column is the first in a series of articles about the implementation steps you need to take if you want to be successful in improving reliability and maintenance, sustain that improvement and after that continue to improve.

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  • Reliability and Maintenance Implementation Model – Step II.

    by Christer Idhammar

    This column is the second in a series of articles about the implementation steps you need to take if you want to be successful in improving reliability and maintenance, sustain that improvement and after that continue to improve.

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  • Reliability and Maintenance Implementation Model – Step III.

    by Christer Idhammar

    This column is the third in a series of articles about the implementation steps you need to take if you want to be successful in improving reliability and maintenance, sustain that improvement and after that continue to improve in the future.

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  • Reliability and Maintenance Management Beliefs Part 2

    by Christer Idhammar

    Read part 1 and Part 3

    In my previous article, I mentioned that IDCON has a belief system that guides our business and the work we do for our clients.  You must develop and communicate your beliefs to your organization. These beliefs will guide your organization on its journey towards your goals. 

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  • Reliability and Maintenance Management Beliefs Part 3

    by Christer Idhammar

    Read part 1 and Read part 2

    These are our last 3 core beliefs that guide our business and philosophy when working with our clients.  What you should notice is that they support several of the other beliefs. 

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  • Reliability and Maintenance Management Beliefs Part I.

    by Christer Idhammar

    Read part 2 and Part 3

    Excellent leadership is the very essential success factor for lasting results of any improvement initiative an organization undertakes, including improvements of Reliability and Maintenance performance.

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  • Selling Maintenance to Management

    by Torbjörn Idhammar

    We in maintenance often complain about how hard it is for us to "sell maintenance to top management". There are several things we can improve upon when we talk to top management. In this article, I will outline typical situations that I have seen in industry and offer some suggestions.

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  • The Cost of Doing Nothing

    by Michael Lippig

    The cost of maintaining the status quo is enormous. The status quo affects each and every one of us every hour of every day, at work and at home. We have come to accept doing nothing as a safe and acceptable alternative. We even make it the default solution.

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  • The Emperor's New Clothes

    by Torbjörn Idhammar

    Let us start this column with a short version of an old story.

    Once upon a time, an emperor was offered some fantastic clothes by traveling tailors. They told the emperor that their clothes were the most exclusive in the world — so exclusive that only wise people saw the clothes. The emperor accepted the tailors' offer; they took measurements and cut the expensive fabrics. When the emperor tried the clothes on, neither he nor any of his advisors and servants could see the clothes, but no one said anything for obvious reasons.

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  • The Lack of Execution

    by Christer Idhammar

    Recently I met a young and enthusiastic engineer who declared that “ We are already done with the reliability and maintenance management strategy, it is well developed and documented by a group in our company” “That sounds good “ I replied, “That means that you are done with about 5% of the work”. Somewhat disturbed he asked me what I meant with that. “Have you spent any time to educate, inform and implement the strategy in your plants?” I asked. The answer was negative and he asked me what I meant with that. 

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  • The Reliability Culture

    by Christer Idhammar

    Reliability is a term that has become more commonly used in the industry. Many organizations are using reliability to describe their predictive maintenance department. To me reliability has always encompassed the measurement of manufacturing efficiency and includes Operations, Maintenance, Engineering and Spare Part Stores as the major players.

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  • Top Management Culture Change

    by Christer Idhammar

    Anyone who has been involved in reliability and maintenance improvement initiatives will hear that a culture change in work practices is necessary to accomplish to become successful. Examples on the culture change people talk about include:

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  • What Comes First?

    by Christer Idhammar

    I often receive the question: what do we improve first? Do we start with Root Cause Problem Elimination (RCPE) or do we start with Preventive Maintenance and Planning and Scheduling?

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  • What is Reliability and Asset Management?

    by Christer Idhammar

    Reliability has become a buzzword commonly used to describe maintenance improvement initiatives. Several books have been written with titles such as Reliability Centered Maintenance, Reliability Based Maintenance, etc. In these books I have not yet found a definition of reliability. Many suppliers of predictive maintenance tools also use the term reliability to describe their products and services.

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  • Why many maintenance improvement initiatives fail to deliver expected results I. - Hedgehog or Fox?

    by Christer Idhammar

    It is not uncommon that many reliability and maintenance improvement initiatives fail to deliver expected results. Why is it so?

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