Archive | May, 2005

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May 1, 2005
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Managing an EAM/CMMS Project

Phase two: Best practice methodologies for system implementation

Now that the best EAM/ CMMS application for your business has been selected, the deployment phase begins. But an EAM system is not a plug-and-play application. Will you miss out on some real operational savings? Will the data be clean enough to provide value in a production environment? Will processes be tailored to match the new system, or will they be optimized to improve business? Is the vendor knowledgeable about your specific industry or regulatory requirements?

Bringing a software application live is very different from implementing a business solution. A successful implementation depends on a precise, cohesive flow of multiple discrete activities such as configuration, training, and integration. This article discusses best practice methodologies that will help get the most out of an EAM/CMMS implementation.

The project team
Ideally, the team who selected the system will take the leading role in its implementation. This team includes skilled representatives from each department that will be affected by the new system. They gained invaluable knowledge during the process of evaluating the current state of the business, identifying needs, assessing alternatives, and selecting the preferred solution. To hit the ground running, this is not the time to pull these experts onto other priorities.

Instead, start with this team and lean on vendor or consultant resources for support. Fortify the team with additional in-house personnel who are capable of facilitating the implementation. An eagerness to learn and deep knowledge of specific business functions will help ensure this project is a success.

Make it clear that it is an honor to be selected for an implementation, not a penalty. The project team will be recognized as experts by the time the implementation is complete, not only by their peers but by management (read “job security”). They will have amassed a wealth of knowledge about not only the application but the new business processes and data behind the product. Just make sure the team is not overly burdened by their usual job responsibilities while they concentrate on improving the business.

Effective planning
Once the project team is selected, the implementation kicks off with a major project planning event. During this event, roles and responsibilities, activities and tasks, and milestones and constraints are charted within the preferred implementation timeline. Rather than starting from scratch, the vendor or implementation consultant can provide a template project plan that demonstrates the typical sequence of events and interrelationships between activities. The template also helps to ensure key steps are not overlooked. During the planning session, the baseline template will be tailored to the company’s specific circumstances.

The planning event involves a high level scoping of all implementation requirements. Key performance indicator (KPI) metrics are defined at the onset of the project and used to guide the intended project outcome. Time is allotted to assess gaps and define new business processes. System interfaces, data conversions, and custom extensions are considered, as well as system and hardware configuration. A preliminary plan for employee communications and training is developed, as are functional and system testing. Each of these components is then factored into the implementation project plan. This is a critical step; many project failures and delays can be traced back to poor upfront planning.

Gap analysis
Reconciliations are performed to unveil the gaps between the current and future state, and to adapt business processes and the software configuration accordingly. Even the most configurable software applications can have gaps between supported and desired work processes. If automation is not possible, you may need to modify a process or incorporate an extension to the system. An experienced consultant with industry expertise can help arrive at such decisions quickly and avoid pitfalls that might otherwise need to be revisited later in the implementation.

As a starting point, the vendor or consultant should be able to provide a template business model. This model should incorporate best practice processes, benchmarked from the industry, which can be tailored in a workshop setting based on the software’s capabilities and the company’s unique business requirements. The model provides a launch point, as opposed to a clean slate. It expedites the reconciliation of software and process gaps, and minimizes the risk of carrying legacy system inefficiencies into the new environment.

During the hands-on reconciliation workshops, the optimal software configuration is defined and documented, the preferred business processes are validated within the new system, and legacy data quality issues are pinpointed.

Parallel processes
Configuration decisions from the reconciliation workshops feed directly into the technical implementation activity. To a great extent, these activities can occur in parallel with oversight from the project manager. The functions are distinct and there are few overlapping constraints, but a high degree of communication is essential to keep the project on course.

Baseline configuration. The configuration defined and documented as a result of the gap reconciliation workshops now comes to life in a baseline system configuration. This configured system will be used to test conversions, other data preparation, system interfaces, custom extensions, KPI metrics, and reports. The baseline configuration also will be used as the basis for system testing.

Data preparation. Depending on the scope and quality of data in the legacy system, you may decide to convert large data files such as equipment records, historical work orders, inventory, and purchase orders. Do not be afraid to archive historical records that have outlived their usefulness; it will speed up the conversion process. Another beneficial tactic is to segment static (rarely changing) data from dynamic data, and load it in advance in order to shorten the process of migration at go-live.

Minor data gaps or errors should be cleansed in the old system prior to conversion. Major data cleansing may be required due to differences in validation or data structures in the new system. Any remaining data files can be manually populated in the new system. Tools are available to automate large-scale cleanup, mapping, and migration processes in order to enable real-time conversions with minimal downtime at go-live. Have the database administrator ensure the new environment data is stable and properly tuned.

Metrics and reports. Reports are among the most overlooked aspects of a project. It is easy to want everything to look the same as it did in the old system, but that would defeat the purpose of the new system and put the project budget and timeline at risk. Odds are a lot of paper is being generated that is not necessary or not effective. The vendor or consultant can help define and prioritize reporting requirements, select a report writing tool, and develop the reports.

The goal in the new system is to ensure management views and reports reflect the KPIs defined early in the project. The multitude of reports generated in the old system must be analyzed for current need. Where possible, the system’s canned reports should be used, but where information gaps appear, custom reports and views can be developed.

If multiple plants run similar reports, a new standard should be defined. With proper planning, the overall number of reports could decrease as much as 60 percent in the new system. Without proper planning, you could end up scrambling to provide management information.

Application integration. Interfaces must be built to enable data sharing between the EAM/CMMS and ERP or other third party systems. The process review, reconciliation, and configuration materials developed previously can be combined into a process integration model. This model will help decide whether the vendor-supplied integration points or automated integration tools should be used, or a custom integration developed.

Where the touch points occur can have a significant impact on the cost, complexity, and reliability of the interface. This can be considered the high blood pressure of the implementation. Without effective monitoring and management, it can easily become the silent killer of a project. The vendor or consultant can provide guidance in interface strategy and design.

Custom extensions. It is highly preferable to avoid customizations. However, an application extension may be required if baseline functionality or workarounds do not satisfy business requirements. During custom extension design and coding, it is important to provide the maximum benefit without compromising baseline integrity or the ability to apply future upgrades.

Solution testing
Once all technical activity is completed, it is time to test, verify, and validate the new system in a controlled test environment. Integrated system testing verifies all software and hardware is functioning properly throughout the enterprise. This includes all workstations, network and printer connections, and interface compatibility.

User acceptance testing validates the functional use of new system processes and data, including the business rules, software configuration, and interfaces. Test plans and scripts can be developed from the new system process flows, and each process scenario should be tested in excruciating detail.

The third major test is sometimes overlooked and yet critical to optimizing system performance. Load testing simulates a large number of concurrent system users so that performance tuning can occur before go-live. Automated tools can simplify load testing.

User training
The project team is now well-versed in the new system, and as go-live nears it is time to introduce the end users to their new system. Training should occur shortly before go-live and only after a thoroughly tested, solid training environment with real data is available. Users need to learn how to perform specific procedures in the new system—not just how to use the tool.

Power users and key roles such as planners and schedulers do not have a large turnover and training is likely to occur only once. Lean on the vendor or consultant for these lessons. Develop internal trainers for system overviews and general functions like work requests and material requests required by a larger plant population. Computer-based or Web-based tools are gaining in popularity for infrequent users and refresher training.

The vendor or consultant should have industry-specific, role-based baseline training materials that can be adapted to your specific requirements. The test scripts and process scenarios developed previously can be leveraged to expedite training material customization.

A vendor or consultant can provide training classes for you, or can train your trainers. Alternately, members of the project team may be willing and able to conduct the training sessions. Do not ask them too early in the project; they will warm up to the idea as their knowledge base strengthens.

Start-up and roll-out
The project team’s work comes to fruition during start-up and roll-out. With all hands on deck, the production system comes alive and users officially transition to the new system.

A production walk-through conducted the day before go-live serves as a final check for log-ins, system access, and printer connectivity. A cradle-to-grave scenario performed at the workstations of key users eliminates the “gotchas” that can occur when plant environment factors differ from the development environment.

The full project team should be on hand for the first several days to help smooth over any issues, and a smaller team available for another week or so. A process for logging, prioritizing, and responding to help desk issues will help gain the trust of the end users.

The project team does not disband once the system goes live. They should work as a team to discuss lessons learned, and progress to the next phase of system optimization and continuous improvement.

Equally important
From start to finish, throughout the implementation, it is vitally important that the project work not be hidden from view. Implementing a system in near-isolation generates fear and insecurity rather than respect. Instead, ongoing employee communications will generate excitement and help the future users of the system feel involved and assume ownership.

A steady stream of information should be supplied via signs, newsletters, or letters from executives. Benefits to employees and the company as a whole should be promoted. Feedback and suggestions should be encouraged. Each important milestone should be recognized and celebrated. A successful go-live is a great excuse to pat everyone on the back with a party. What a great way to begin an important new era within the company.

Future article in this series will discuss project optimization. The previous article was “Managing an EAM/CMMS Project—Phase one: An unbiased team approach to system selection.”

C. Scott MacMillan and Lance Morris are principals of Cohesive Information Solutions Inc., 8215 Madison Blvd., Ste. 150, Madison, AL 35758; (877) 410-2570

System Implementation Process Flow

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The processes that are part of the EAM/CMMS project implementation.

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May 1, 2005
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Professional Development: Driving the Economic Engine

These days it seems that our economic engine is running just a bit ragged. Generally, it is performing fairly well, but we can’t seem to get the ultra-smooth, high-speed performance that we would like. It sputters a bit every now and then. Just when it looks like it is going to take off, it coughs or hiccups, and slows down before catching and starting back up again.

When one considers that technology and innovation have produced many significant improvements in recent years, the question is raised as to why our economic engine isn’t racing along. Why haven’t these improvements in components and machines and processes and systems caused our economic engine to accelerate to a smooth purring ride?

There are numerous issues influencing our economic engine—many real, many politic, and many mysterious. We could discuss capital formation problems, balance of trade politics, over-wary management, and so on. However, I want to focus on the part that professional development plays in this scenario. And more importantly—the role that professional development will play in the future performance of our economic engine.

As said above, our engine is running fairly well now, albeit with some fits and starts. While we are not at peak performance, we are certainly not in a crisis mode. Our industry is generally running well. I think this is true despite a real shortfall in professional development over the past few years.

Training budgets have been reduced as cost competition has driven companies to cut budgets. People resources also have been reduced due to tightened budgets. However, we have been blessed with a solid core of professionals throughout the ranks who carried on despite the reduced budgets and resources.

From crafts and technicians through engineers, supervisors, and managers, a tremendous wealth of knowledge and experience has generally seen us through the past few years despite limited resources. Although we have utilized them somewhat to our benefit, we probably have not taken full advantage of the recent innovations and other technical advances available to us.

Looking ahead, I see a crisis looming as our knowledgeable, experienced, and talented workforce leaves the workplace and is replaced by not-so-knowledgeable, much-less-experienced, and talented (yes, these new folks are talented) individuals. All the studies I see indicate that a massive migration of our workforce is going to happen over the next few years. Demographic studies indicate that more than 50 percent of the workforce can retire within the next few years. There is little question that our economic engine is going to be hit with some real changes and challenges.

While this experience migration “problem” (make that “challenge”) has many facets, and will require many necessary resolution approaches, I suggest that a major strategy is to embrace and drive professional development. From the crafts to the managers, the need for continuing professional development (or life-long learning) will become more and more critical.

Technology and innovation will continue to advance the science of how we do things. Globalization will continue to affect the way we operate our industries. Cultural and societal issues will continue to alter the way we manage our businesses. Our up-and-coming workforce will need to continuously develop and hone their skills—technical and managerial.

This calls for well-thought-out professional development strategies and plans. This calls for increased attention and commitment to professional development by individuals and organizations alike. This calls for utilization of new means of knowledge delivery (such as Internet delivery, interactive CDs, etc.). This calls for a development strategy that includes specific knowledge areas for each and all facets of the organization—crafts to managers.

Just as we keep our automobile engines in tune so we obtain the smooth, high-performance ride we crave, we need to pay attention to our economic engine to also receive the smooth, high-performance ride we crave. We wouldn’t take our new auto to the old, out-of-touch mechanic who worked on cars in the 1960s. We would insist on a mechanic who had been educated and trained on today’s engines. Should we do less for our economic engines—the ones that drive our livelihoods? MT

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May 1, 2005
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Direction Is Not Supervision

Too many times, we take a supervisory position and make it unidirectional. I am not aware of any company that assigns job titles and descriptions to supervisors instructing them to just tell people who, what, when, where, how, and why to do something.

In fact, most companies have certain descriptions leaning toward quality and improvements. A supervisor must be a dynamic person who has the ability to push to achieve the corporation’s goals while building future supervisors or, more importantly, leaders.

Corporate goals drive the business in the direction the shareholders want. The underlying goal is continuous improvement.

Continuous improvements do not just happen; they are the product of the workforce that made the improvements happen. If the workforce is making the improvements happen then it is reasonable to say that a better-trained and happier workforce will make more improvements happen and in a shorter time. Corporations who are moving toward lean manufacturing and have to go through major change management initiatives will especially benefit from this type of atmosphere. “Lean production systems require more from the front-line worker than traditional mass production.” (Allen, Robinson, and Stewart, Lean Manufacturing: A Plant Floor Guide, 2001, p. 170)

Supervisors must be adept in problem solving, scheduling, and communication. Supervisors are the direct link from front-line employees to management. Supervisors are generally personnel who have a substantial amount of shop experience coupled with the training to execute schedules and maintain the status quo.

Shop experience is an important tool in the box when it comes to dealing with crisis issues on the shop floor. In addition, the supervisor must execute the schedule within the best possible compliance to keep the backlog of overdue maintenance actions to a minimum. Finally, the supervisor has to maintain a level of normalcy to the shift to keep employee morale at its peak. The one thing that seems to be overlooked in today’s fast-paced industries is the supervisor’s responsibility to form and shape the future leaders who work as his subordinates.

There are three important factors in shaping future leaders: communication, mentoring, and follow-through.

Communication is the backbone of everything done in business. Whether the communication is for direction or feedback it is a necessity for the organization to function. Every single continuous improvement program and quality management system stresses the importance of communication in all directions in an organization. In addition, the success of all these programs relies on communication.

Supervisors play an important part in the communication system by translating technical material into information needed by management, such as downtime, quality deficiencies, and project costs. Supervisors should be training the personnel working for them on the methods of communication and priorities of communication in relation to what management needs to know.

Supervisors have a great opportunity to become mentors for personnel that work for them. Mentors play a large role in the improvement of personnel by filling a key spot as advisors. The advisory role does not stop with job-specific training but also includes career planning, education planning, and life issues.

The supervisor does not have to be the direct and final advisor for these subjects. The direction a supervisor gives on whom to talk to can be just as important for the growth and morale of the personnel. Preparation says a lot about a leader and how he assesses tasks.

Finally, the follow-through demonstrated by a supervisor can display the concern and priority he has for employees. Employees generally ask questions due to some kind of genuine concern about a situation or subject. A supervisor needs to address the situation even if there is a negative response to the question. If there is not an answer available at the time, the supervisor needs to ensure he follows up on the question.

The lack of follow-through sets a bad example to employees and reduces the trust they have for the supervisor to meet their needs.

Supervisors make things happen on the shop floor and are the primary salespeople for new changes that will affect front-line workers. Effective shop floor management is essential to the success of any corporation. Communication makes shop floor management effective and fluid. The main point to remember is that the supervisor is the first line in the training of tomorrow’s shop floor leaders.— Robert Apelgren

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The Paradigm Trap

One hundred years ago, Albert Einstein was in the midst of an extraordinary run of paradigm-busting theories. In six months, he published five that would change dramatically what we thought we knew about the universe.

Einstein’s accomplishments were reviewed recently by Ronald Kotulak, science writer for the Chicago Tribune, in a special feature. In it, he recounted Einstein’s papers of 1905:

• March: Light exists as waves and particles

• April: Molecules can be measured

• May: All matter is composed of atoms

• June: Time and space are not constant

• September: Matter can be converted into energy, E = mc2.

It was an amazing leap of thought beyond the Newtonian paradigm. How did he do it? According to a quote from Kotulak’s article, Einstein said: “I keep asking questions that only children ask. They learn how to stop asking them in their schooling. I continue to ask them.”

Also, he was not bound by the existing paradigms of the famous physicists of the time. He was a nobody, a patent clerk, and had nothing to lose by thinking freely. He had no reputation to protect.

We have touched on similar themes from time to time in this column, noting that paradigm busters typically arrive at solutions by asking simple, basic questions and they are often successful because they are new to the job and do not have the baggage of the existing paradigm.

However, once you make the breakthrough, you may become trapped in the new paradigm. According to the article, “Einstein also dug in his heels when he didn’t quite agree with bold new scientific concepts, even after most other leading physicists accepted them.

“[Niels] Bohr and Einstein were close friends in the 1920s but had a falling out over quantum theory. Bohr loved the idea that in the subatomic world the behavior of particles could only be averaged out. Things happen by chance, and it is impossible to know exactly what an individual particle is doing at a given time.

“Einstein couldn’t fit quantum physics into his unending quest to unify all the forces of nature and couldn’t accept its loose ends, famously saying: ‘God does not play dice with the world.’”

We hope you have a maintenance and reliability paradigm that works and that you are not still rolling the dice with your equipment. And no matter how well your paradigm seems to work, don’t become trapped in it. Keep your eye out for the new theory that may take you to a higher level of performance.

Robert C. Baldwin, CMRP, Editor

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May 1, 2005
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Find the Root Cause of Success

Positive deviance can have an effect on reliability and a profit report card.

When report cards make their way home from school, some make the trip faster than others depending on their contents. A recent research study tackled the topic of student report cards and how parents handle the not-so-stellar grades that sometimes appear. It found that if a student brought home three As, one C, and an F, only 6 percent of the parents concentrated on the As.

The study went on to say that parents who concentrated on the As as opposed to dwelling on the F saw the next report card improve by bringing up the F while maintaining the As; the parents who concentrated on the F did see the F improve, but at the cost of the As.

Many maintenance organizations give out report cards or metrics too. Now a less-than-adequate reliability report card does not have the effects of sending us to our room, cutting our allowance etc., but it has the same overall effect both on morale and financial security.

In general people tend to punish for poor performance and dwell only on the negative metrics. Would someone execute a root cause analysis on a system or machine that performs flawlessly to discover why? The question then becomes what does ignoring the things done right cost companies in both metrics and money.

Learn from the children
Another example of this phenomenon known as positive deviance occurred following the end of the war in Vietnam. In this example from the recently published book “Surfing the Edge of Chaos” by Richard Pascale, Mark Millemann, and Linda Gioja, the children of Vietnam’s poorer regions were suffering from high levels of malnutrition compounded by a lack of clean water and good sanitation as well as poor health care.

Working with the Save the Children foundation, Monique and Jerry Sternin moved into Hanoi to develop a new method to end the malnutrition. They embraced a concept from Tufts University called positive deviance that allowed them to facilitate the people of Hanoi in discovering their own solution to the problem. The process they used included understanding the culture and the knowledge it contained. They worked with the locals and studied not only the sick children but also the healthy ones.

They analyzed the living conditions and diets of the healthy children and concluded that the difference was that parents of the healthy children were doing some things differently—supplementing the rice-based diet with freely available fresh water shrimp, crab, and vitamin-rich sweet potato leaves and feeding their children more times per day than the malnourished children. Once this discovery was made it was easily leveraged across the culture in that area because it was developed from within; it was Hanoi’s solution. After six months two-thirds of the children had gained weight and the program was a sustainable success.

There are three points to take away from these examples:

• Study and learn from the good actors and not just the bad

• Develop and leverage the solutions from within the applicable area for buy in and sustainability

• Celebrate and encourage the successes and learn from the failures through true understanding of the issues.

Look to the successes
Reliability improvement efforts traditionally look at equipment that has high levels of vibration, oil contaminates, or elevated temperature levels. Then when the equipment fails technicians complete a root cause failure analysis (RCFA) to understand why it failed.

With this mentality the organization is looking at half of the information that is available. This shows only the failures and why they happen. What about the successes? Why did the successes happen?

One suggestion is to change the use of the RCFA process by moving the format to a root cause analysis-type process that can be used to understand both failures and successes in the same format. This one small change will allow companies to capture more solutions from their process. If there are 26 pumps in an area and only five have repetitive failure history why do the others charge on?

This is where the different way of thinking comes into play. Complete a root cause analysis on one of the good actor pumps to understand why it is so successful. Use the five whys or any of the other available root cause tools to insure finding the root cause of success. What might be found is a solid operating procedure, a good design, a best demonstrated practice, a better rebuild procedure, or any number of positive deviants that have led to a success instead of a failure. In many cases there may be preconceived notions as to what the solution might be, but the key becomes letting those go and chasing the data as a group until the solution is discovered corporately.

Use the affected group
Once uncovered, these good practices are much easier to leverage because they are internal, proven, and owned just like the dietary changes in Hanoi. There is no easier change to make than the one that was developed by the people making the change. They trust the information the change is based on because it is their information. They know it will work because they have seen it with their own eyes. They will force it to succeed because it has their names on it.

When solutions are developed that do not involve the group that is affected, they lack the buy in and data this process provides and success is a difficult goal to attain. This applies to reliability metrics in two ways—one, it provides solutions that improve metrics like overall equipment effectiveness (OEE) and mean time between failure (MTBF) and two, it provides a tool to use to address and leverage areas that excel in certain metrics. Do not forget to ask the question “Why am I succeeding?”

As it becomes apparent who is causing the positive deviance make sure to apply positive public feedback to encourage the practice to continue and propagate, basically focusing the light on what people are doing right. It has been proven that one should give three or more positive comments to every corrective one; this RCA philosophy provides an excellent vehicle to make that happen.

Because RCFA conclusions always lead to a human error if they are taken to completion this can easily turn them into a negative tool. The error may be with the equipment vendor’s design team, start up contractor’s installer, production’s operator, maintenance’s technician, or management’s supervisor. Some organizations use the RCFA or RCA findings as whipping sticks to punish people instead of as training and policy correction tools. This defeats the purpose and robs the program of the support and information that it is based on.

Always remember that no matter what contributing factors are found during the root cause investigation, at least one if not all of them is directly due to management or its policies. It may be that management chose to run the equipment above rated speeds, postponed preventive maintenance, did not provide the proper amount of training, or did not enforce the rules consistently as well as many others. With that said it is hypocritical and ignorant for management to use the RCFA findings to punish the offenders.

Make analysis a positive tool
Make the findings a positive tool by supplementing the failure investigations with the root causes of success process and find out who is promoting success in the facility. Make sure the RCAs are recognized as a positive tool that leads to praise and change within the organization. After learning from both successes and failures and implementing the discoveries, find a way to ensure that others want to be involved in these types of improvements.

Aim to constantly develop new ideas. Create energy around the RCA findings by celebrating successes with stakeholders. It is important to tailor celebrations to the team or even the individuals in some cases to get the most benefit. It may be different with each group of stakeholders but it has to make them want to do it again.

Remember that the positive things going on day to day are just as important to success as the failure you try to eliminate. Many times the solutions to the failures are right in front of you hidden by the day-to-day fires you fight.

Look at the forgotten equipment. Why are you able to forget about it? Why does it run so well? What are you doing or what was done right? These are the locator questions for many of the solutions to the reoccurring problems that tear away at the reliability of equipment as well as the bottom line. These solutions discovered from within the organization have the buy in and sustainability that is so often a struggling point for many outside solutions or cookie cutter approaches.

Once the home grown, supported, sustainable solution has been put into place and the sweet smell of success is in the air make sure to celebrate the accomplishment with all the stakeholders in the way that satisfies them the most. This becomes the fuel for many more examples of positive deviance that can change an organization into a more reliable and profitable enterprise.

Shon E. Isenhour, CMRP, is a senior consultant at Life Cycle Engineering, Inc., 4360 Corporate Rd., Charleston, SC 29405; (843) 810-4446

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May 1, 2005
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2005 Infrared Thermography Guide

Inspections can detect problems and avoid costly equipment failure.

Thermal imaging has evolved into a valuable diagnostic tool for predictive maintenance. By detecting anomalies often invisible to the naked eye, thermography allows corrective actions to be taken before electrical, mechanical, or process equipment fails. The use of palm computers and database software has improved and speeded up data collection.

An infrared inspection program can provide users with a quick return on investment. According to Scott Cawlfield, president of Logos Computer Solutions, Inc., Seattle, on average, for every $1 spent on an infrared electrical inspection there is a $4 return on investment for materials and labor to fix the problem equipment before it failed. Depending on other factors, he suggested, that ratio could be closer to 1:20.

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Infrared thermography is a valuable tool in predictive maintenance programs. Here, a thermographer inspects a switchgear panel with the HotShot XL camera. (Photograph courtesy Electrophysics Corp.)

What’s in a program?
The essential elements in an IR inspection program, Cawlfield said, are to:

• Use or create an equipment inventory list to account for what equipment was tested and when.

• Assign a criticality factor to each piece of equipment to prioritize inspection schedules and repairs.

• Determine the pertinent information to be recorded in addition to temperature readings and reference points; other factors such as camera emissivity value, equipment load, wind speed, environment, and manufacturer influence temperature readings.

• Provide consistent data collection procedures.

• Analyze problem areas and generate appropriate reports.

Barriers to effective IR programs
But not all companies are enthusiastically adopting an infrared thermography program. The barriers often cited are in the financial arena—time, personnel, camera cost, training, or contractor expense. The most-mentioned aspect of the financial barrier is the lack of awareness of the benefits to the bottom line.

The main factor standing in the way of the effective use of infrared thermography technology centers on the cost of high-level education and training. It is not only training in thermography but also other associated topics such as materials science, physics, and thermodynamics, “plus knowledge of ‘how things work’, from engines and turbines to buildings’ thermal insulation or HVAC units,” noted one inspection service provider.

Advice from experts
Users of infrared thermography must realize that they should not build the program to meet all of their needs at first—allow it to be dynamic. Maintain good record keeping for trending purposes.

And be sure to communicate what the infrared program is contributing to the company. “Tout your program as often as you possibly can in a professional, reasonable way so that when money is tight people will understand your value,” was the advice from one provider.

A little outside-the-box thinking helps, too. “There are unique applications for nearly every industry, or even every facility. Sometimes it takes a little imagination, but the benefits can be staggering,” said another provider.

 

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The thermal image (left) shows a poor connection on the back of a main breaker. The temperature in the red area exceeded 400 F, causing damage to surrounding components. The problem was found and repaired (right) before the equipment failed. (Photograph and thermograms courtesy Thermotest Inc.)

New applications
Suppliers for this directory were asked about new applications for infrared thermography, both in the plant and otherwise.

In plant applications, ITR Inc. cited monitoring of couplings and cranes, while Mikron Infrared added monitoring of boiler tubes and continuous monitoring of electrical control panels. Logos Computer Solutions mentioned PDA data collection running on Pocket SQL in conjunction with a Web browser/Web manager for infrared PdM program management.

Evaluation of motor and control circuits from the MCC was a new application suggested by Power Down. Snell Inspections and Infrared Solutions found companies doing more building diagnostics (e.g., building envelope, HVAC, and roof moisture surveys and inspections).

Expert Infrared Inspections has performed inspections on a 4 MW extreme duty dc motor in a steel mill and on television broadcasting equipment. And training has gone online, as Infraspection Institute offers distance learning courses in certification preparation and other areas.

Outside the plant, one of the more widely known new applications of infrared thermography was to measure the body temperature of individuals in airports during the severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) outbreak in 2003, noted Cantronic Systems Inc. Mikron Infrared cited an application in monitoring coal piles, while Infrared Research Inc. provided an environmental application in checking illicit discharges in streams and waterways.

Monitoring of leaf temperatures to improve irrigation was an application forwarded by IRISYS. Other new applications included using infrared to spot rodent and termite problems (Infrared Solutions), for metal shredding systems (FLIR Systems, Inc.), and security (ASC Systems).

Our two-part guide
This two-part guide to IR equipment and services is designed to give you a source for infrared thermography assistance. Information was supplied by the companies listed.

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May 1, 2005
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Volunteer As a Maintenance and Reliability Professional

 have been reading a great deal about volunteerism as the U.S. version of National Volunteer Week has just passed.

The 2005 theme, “Inspire by Example,” truly reflects the power volunteers have to inspire the people they help, as well as to inspire others to serve. The Points of Light Web site has many good resources about volunteering.

As I spent time on the site it struck me that volunteerism is alive and well in the maintenance and reliability community.

MIMOSA
As I began this article, Maintenance Technology Editor Bob Baldwin was attending the annual meeting of MIMOSA (Machinery Information Management Open Systems Alliance), a nonprofit trade association which develops and encourages adoption of open information standards for Operations and Maintenance in manufacturing, fleet, and facility environments. The simplistic explanation for MIMOSA is a highly motivated group of people who are working to ensure all software can work together in a meaningful way without adding massive new programming code.

Since 1998, the group has grown in importance and currently offers numerous ways for interested people to get involved. If plant software and its interoperability are important to you, please visit the Web site and contact one of the board members listed to discuss how you can volunteer.

I recently had an opportunity to see MIMOSA in action at the International Maintenance Conference as 15 different vendors who each offer MIMOSA Compliant software came together for the first time and created one fully functioning information system. It was a very impressive demonstration.

AFE
The Association for Facilities Engineering (AFE) provides education, certification, technical information, and other relevant resources for plant and facility engineering, operations, and maintenance professionals worldwide. I recently renewed my membership as AFE has become more active in maintenance and reliability.

It has created councils for people who have specific interests and I am involved with the Maintenance Council. I happen to know that this council is seeking volunteers as I have been asked to lend a hand.

AFE has other benefits including local chapters and a growing resource-based Web site. It would be a great place for anyone in facilities maintenance to get involved.

SMRP
My personal time is spent volunteering at the Society for Maintenance & Reliability Professionals (SMRP). This group has been around for 14 years and the volunteers have worked diligently to share best practices and to promote professionalism.

They are having an impact as you now read articles in this magazine, our Web site, and almost every other industry publication referring to “maintenance and reliability professionals.” That is you—in case you have not figured it out.

SMRP has a number of volunteer activities available including working on the best practices committee, the certification committee, the benchmarking committee, the standards committee, the marketing committee, the conference committee, and more. Once you learn your way around the group, you might even volunteer or be nominated as an officer or director and take on a leadership role.

We are all busy. Being a volunteer is hard work and requires a time commitment. I work hard in my volunteer role at SMRP and I hope that my contribution will also make a difference for the maintenance community. In return the things I have learned at SMRP have contributed to my personal and professional development.

So, get involved and volunteer as each of these fine organizations can surely use whatever help you can give. In return you will make a difference, learn a lot, and make great friends.

If you know of other maintenance-related organizations that seek volunteers, please e-mail me at tohanlon@reliabilityweb.com

Terrence O’Hanlon, CMRP, is the publisher of Reliabilityweb.com. He is the director of strategic alliances for the Society for Maintenance & Reliability Professionals (SMRP). He is also the event manager for CMMS-2005, the Computerized Maintenance Management Summit on July 26-29, 2005, in Indianapolis, IN, www.maintenanceconference.com

Internet Tip: Network Online

There is a fantastic discussion going on at MaintenanceForums.com with thousands of maintenance and reliability professionals asking questions, posting case studies, and learning from each other in a noncommercial environment. The discussion is taking place on a Web-based, “threaded” discussion board.

The board requires registration to ensure spammers and commercial posters can be removed and your privacy is assured. Your e-mail is never displayed unless you decide to post it. The board is divided into subject-based categories. It is a good idea to cruise through the board and get a flavor for the type and tone of the discussions. Once you are comfortable, go ahead and share your advice, solve a problem, or post a question. You will be surprised at the speed and quality of the responses.

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6:00 am
May 1, 2005
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Managing an EAM/CMMS Project

Phase one: An unbiased team approach to system selection

The latest ARC Advisory Group study of the enterprise asset management (EAM/CMMS) software market profiles more than 80 maintenance application suppliers. This number of choices is enough to make any plant manager shudder. How can you pick the tool that is right for you? Is the decision left to your chief information officer (CIO) who may prefer a specific technology? Should it be the chief financial officer (CFO) who may be partial to the ERP system used for financials that also happens to have a maintenance module? How about the plant manager who is concerned about the growing complexity of regulatory compliance? Or the maintenance manager who may have specific functional needs?

Maintenance touches many business areas and systems, and all parties want a solution that best serves their own needs. It may seem counterintuitive, but some companies give precedence to nonmaintenance organizations when making maintenance system decisions, and then fail to achieve the full scope of intended benefits. Other plants give maintenance free reign without considering the big picture impact.

The tug-of-war between decision makers can make or break the success of an EAM/CMMS implementation. This article addresses the delicate balance of wants and needs, and how they apply in the application selection process.

Acknowledge the needs
Plant maintenance is considered by some to be the unglamorous underground of a company’s operation. It may be just a nagging afterthought in the minds of finance, human resources, production, supply chain, and administration personnel. That is, until something goes wrong. The spotlight turns on when disruptions to “normal” business operations occur, and turns off again when production resumes. No one knows better the critical role played by the maintenance organization than the maintenance personnel themselves.

Why is it, then, that everyone has an opinion on which business application best serves the needs of the maintenance organization? Is there room for more than one decision-maker?

The short answer is yes. The chief operating officer needs a system that supports reliable, safe, and high-quality throughput. The CFO demands timely and accurate reporting of each maintenance, repair, and operations transaction that impacts the general ledger. To the CIO, compatible, extendable technology is of utmost concern. The storeroom must have adequate, but not excessive, spare parts on hand to keep the operation running. Buyers want enough information with enough notice to negotiate the best prices on parts and equipment. Even the chief executive officer, who wants to increase revenues and decrease costs, has a stake in maintenance system decisions.

And then there’s maintenance. Maintenance personnel have an exclusive understanding of how best to safely and effectively keep all plant equipment and facilities operational. They also have unique knowledge of the data and processes needed to perform their job. They clearly have the most to gain—and lose—with the selection of a new maintenance system.

Because so many parties have an interest in maintenance, an unbiased approach to selection is essential to ensure the company makes the right decision.

Prerequisites for success
With so many diverse needs to be met, how can a company select the right software? There are literally dozens of EAM/CMMS solutions on the market of varying depth and quality—some extensions of ERP systems, and some best-of-breed. The vendors profiled by ARC are only the more prominent of a much larger market.

Providers come and go, merge and divest, and continuously tailor their products and strategic positioning. Over the years, ERP providers have beefed up their maintenance modules to better compete with niche players. Best-of-breed products provide new levels of depth and breadth, and integration has improved due to technology improvements. The utmost priority must be given to determining the single best solution.

The decision process itself can impact your success also. When a new ERP system is implemented, plant maintenance is often an afterthought and maintenance personnel may be excluded from the selection process. Even when a best-of-breed maintenance system is selected along with a suite of products, decisions may be based on integration capabilities first and functionality second. Companies cannot afford to let this continue.

Maintenance has evolved into a strategic practice that can generate a competitive advantage with high reliability and low costs. New technologies and maintenance strategies such as computerized modeling and failure prediction allow a new level of sophistication not possible in the past. Therefore, maintenance personnel must take an active role in every maintenance system decision.

The selection team
The people you can least afford to lose in day-to-day operations are probably the best ones for the selection team. It should be led by either an IT project manager or an operations or maintenance manager with project management skills. The balance of the team should include skilled representatives from all affected departments. Each team member will need a generous amount of dedicated time away from daily operations to successfully complete the selection. It may hurt in the short run, but the long-term rewards are great.

An experienced third party can help soften the blow. A facilitator from outside the organization can jump-start the selection process, minimize the time impact on critical resources, negotiate delicate turf issues, and expedite an unbiased decision.

No matter who leads the selection, in order to mitigate the risks in this process and achieve the greatest possible return on investment, it is important that decision makers have or develop extensive knowledge in:

• Business: best practice business processes, data, and methodologies

• Technology: hardware, software, and networks

• Culture: organizational roles and responsibilities

• Industry: drivers and opportunities relevant to your industry

• EAM: long-term strategy and viability of the vendors

How to decide
Selection team responsibilities include conducting a thorough internal assessment, attaining a strong understanding of the broad EAM/CMMS market, narrowing the field to a select few products, and performing a methodical assessment of the short list before choosing the right solution for the job.

1. Business review and performance assessment
Interviews and workshops are conducted to dissect and document present-day practices, and underscore those that are inefficient. Process bottlenecks, organizational constraints, data inadequacies, and technical limitations are addressed. With an emphasis on industry best practice models, potential remedies are outlined so the problems will not be perpetuated. This is the big picture stage, looking not only at the potential of EAM systems, but progressive, compatible technologies as well.

2. System cost benefit analysis
Unless you can articulate your needs in terms the executive team can understand, you may have difficulty receiving financial backing. Recommendations from the business review and performance assessment are the primary drivers for the cost benefit analysis. The authors must have a high-level understanding of comparative productivity gains achieved by other companies, as well as typical solution license, implementation, and support costs. The cost of doing nothing also must be included. Existing software and hardware will eventually become unsupported, and future integration costs will rise as related systems change. A thorough, bottom-line justification will provide the ammunition necessary to receive executive support.

3. Business requirements definition
Approval to proceed follows with a documented framework of business needs and system functions required to support the recommendations. Every business process for each role impacted by the new system must be documented and reconciled against industry best practices and lessons learned. This includes, for example, planned and unplanned work, union and nonunion labor, in-house and contract services, regular and overtime hours, and direct and stock materials. Once defined, a weight can be given to the requirements to allow for an unbiased evaluation of potential software products.

4. Request for proposal (RFP) development and evaluation
The RFP delivered to short-listed vendors must concisely and accurately convey the full scope of your needs. The business requirements definition provides the basis for this deliverable. Each vendor response must be carefully judged against your weighted needs. Methods to automate EAM/CMMS evaluation using quantitative measures at various levels can facilitate objective analysis and selection.

5. System selection and contract negotiations
Short-listed vendors should be provided a standard demo script that highlights your required functionality. This way, when the vendors demonstrate their software to the selection team, the typical sales hype is avoided. It is also beneficial to visit other companies currently using the software in order to gain further insight into strengths and weaknesses. Although all signs may point to one product, insight into the individual vendors and the near-term and enduring impact of a decision also must be considered. Only in this way can you be assured that you are selecting the solution that will meet long-term business objectives. Contract negotiation is the final, critical step to ensure that your needs will be met and your investment will be protected.

Is it worth it?
After reviewing these steps, you might have doubts. EAM/CMMS selection is no small task, and it comes with a great deal of responsibility. It would be easier to just leave well enough alone, but consider the long-term rewards as well as the risks and costs of doing nothing.

An effectively selected and implemented EAM/CMMS will undoubtedly generate bottom-line savings, but it is not all about money. Employee satisfaction will increase as time is better spent on productive work, knowledge is available when and where needed, and skills are allocated to more challenging responsibilities. Improved safety practices will benefit your employees and the surrounding community. Unplanned interruptions will be avoided, and downtime will be better managed. An investment made now can benefit everyone in the long run. Just make sure you identify the right team to lead the way.

Future articles in this series will discuss software implementation and project optimization.

C. Scott MacMillan and Lance Morris are principals of Cohesive Information Solutions Inc., 8215 Madison Blvd., Ste. 150, Madison, AL 35758; (877) 410-2570

System Selection Process Flow

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The processes that are part of the EAM/CMMS selection project.

 

Process Integration Summary

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How the various business areas integra

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