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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.

Step I.
“To tackle a problem from the wrong end can do nothing but harm” This was said by Confucius, a well known Chinese philosopher who lived around 551-479 BC. Another way of saying this is that it is important to start off an improvement initiative by Do the Right Things, then you must learn to do them right. Too often we turn this common sense statement upside down, we focus on doing things right but do not ask if this is the right thing to do. I have written about this in many previous articles.
In step I and II you need to; See figure 1.

  1. Define and agree on some fundamental principles.
  2. Discover your improvement potential.

1. Define and agree on fundamental principles.
These principles include but are not limited to:

  • Deciding if this is a Reliability Improvement initiative or cost reduction initiative. In my opinion the only right things to do is to increase Reliability to reduce Maintenance cost. It never works the other way around more than for temporary savings, which will then be followed by higher costs later. See case studies in the September and November column. Or go to / Articles.
  • The relationship between Operations, Maintenance and Engineering. Is it going to be a customer and supplier relationship or that of a partnership? As many readers know, my firm belief is that it has to be a true and equal partnership, the only customer you have is the one who buys your product. Consequently this improvement initiative is a joint venture between Operations, Maintenance and Engineering in improving Production Reliability and lowering Manufacturing Costs.
  • Operators’ involvement. It makes sense to include operators in essential; care of equipment and also some adjustments and repairs.
  • Life Cycle Cost. Shall Specification/Design of new equipment be based on Cost to buy, install, own and scrap equipment and include Reliability and Maintainability considerations, or shall lowest cost of buying and installing be emphasized more than cost of ownership?
  • Problem identification. Are you going to classify problem such as production losses in Quality, Time or Speed, Equipment problems etc. by department, or are you going to define problems and solve them?
  • Computer system support. Today it is difficult to find a plant that does not have a computer system to support effective maintenance, however you need to make sure that the system you have can support what you want to do.

2. Discover your improvement potential and increase your organization’s awareness.

Many organizations believe they are good but do not know what good really means. If you are the driver of this improvement initiative you yourself need to know what best practices are and how you can compare your organization’s performance to these practices. Next step is for you to start the selling of what you want to do and get some disciples to follow you. A very cost effective way to do this is to bring in an outsider who in one presentation can present best practices and facilitate your organization to discover how good they are compared to how good they could be. I know this can be very beneficial to do because I have done it myself in hundreds of organizations around the world.

In this column I have commented on Step one, the very foundation of your improvement initiative. As you can see in figure 1, the next step is a formal evaluation of your practices and performance compared to Current Best Practices. This is where you will pull together your organization towards the same goals and understandings. I will discuss this step in the September column. Before it is completed it will be in the shape of a pyramid.