The global economic recession and more recent geopolitical turmoil in parts of the world have forced us in North America to adjust to a new lifestyle—corporately and personally.
The new reality is that managers must be willing and able to rapidly adjust their thought processes, methods and strategies to align with the ever-changing daily realities facing industries everywhere.
W. Edwards Deming, the legendary consultant responsible for Japan’s post-war industrial success, argued that management has a choice: “It is not necessary to change,” he asserted. “Survival is not mandatory!” Published in 1993, his last work, The New Economics for Industry, Government, Education, reflected his system of knowledge and 14 principles for management (credited by Ford for helping it reverse $3 billion in losses between 1979 and 1982 and become America’s most profitable carmaker by 1986).
Deming’s teachings are based on work quality from the onset—and that quality is everyone’s responsibility. This translates not only to the work we perform, but also to the goods and services we procure and use on a daily basis. Buying solely on cost is not an option. Japanese corporations have long known this and award their highest industrial honor, the Deming Prize, to organizations with sustained OEE (Overall Equipment Effectiveness) of 85% or higher.
Many of you will recognize OEE as part of a Total Productive Maintenance (TPM) approach in which the maintenance department is both directly and indirectly responsible for asset availability, rate of product quality and rate of product throughput. Working as part of a combined team effort with Operations, Engineering and our suppliers, it’s incumbent upon the maintenance department to provide a solid foundation on which a product, process or management-style change can be accomplished quickly and successfully.
This type of foundation is built on a quality-based preventive maintenance program whose success isn’t measured by compliance, but rather by its
effectiveness in preventing failure and the ability to deliver asset availability at the design level.
Best-practice organizations adapt quickly. They understand the need for flexible management capabilities based on the previously referenced solid foundation, including:
- A PM program built on a backbone of effective lubrication, cleanliness, alignment and torqued fastenings.
- A planning-and-scheduling approach that allows maintainers to complete work correctly the first time and be able to take pride in their workmanship.
- A PM strategy based on an asset’s current condition, how it is used and how the immediate environment impacts its reliability.
- A PM approach that first assesses if failure is preventable and, if it is not, defers to a planned run-to-fail strategy.
Survival is borne of change (and our being able to rapidly adjust to changing conditions). As you study the bulleted list above, you’ll see why instituting a basic lubrication program can help you accomplish most of the requirements for a best-practice approach to a solid maintenance foundation. Good luck! LMT