Archive | Work Processes

58

7:43 pm
May 15, 2017
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SAP Tips and Tricks: Manage Assets with Refurbishment Order

By Kristina Gordon, DuPont

randmWhen assets need to be refurbished or fabricated, SAP offers an order type called a Refurbishment Order. The purpose of this order is to assist sending the item to a repair shop, either on or off site; having that asset repaired or fabricated; and then receiving it back into inventory at a different valuation or cost. The new store-room inventory value will be based on the cost charged to the refurbishment work order.

Name a work order type by whatever nomenclature your company uses. In this example, we will call the refurbishment work order type WO10. When creating and executing a refurbishment work order, follow these steps from creation to closure. Note that some of the transaction codes used here are finance- and costing-based. Such steps may be designated only by your finance department.

1. Set up transaction IW81 (standard SAP transaction code for refurbishment):

1704rmcsap01p

2. Fill in the needed information (note that the screen layout looks very different from a work order created in IW31):

1704rmcsap02p

3. Create the operation steps for internal labor and a line with your PO information for outside services:

1704rmcsap03p

4. Add the asset/material to the work-order components, then release and save the order:

1704rmcsap04p

5. Once work is completed and the asset/material is ready to be returned into inventory, confirm the internal labor hours to the work order that was added in step 3, using transaction IW41.

6. Add actual overhead to the work order using transaction KG12:

1704rmcsap05p

7. After time confirmations are completed and material movements have been made, TECO the work order.

8. Using Transaction IW8W, return the material back to inventory.

9. It is now time to financially settle the work order. This will also change the value of the material in inventory (Note that this screen looks very similar to the overhead calculation screen in KG12):

1704rmcsap06p

Creating and executing a refurbishment order is more labor-intensive than normal work-order types. However, refurbishment orders will keep your inventory value correct and maintain complete tracking and history of the work performed on the asset. MT

Kristina Gordon is SAP PM Leader, DuPont Protective Solutions Business, and SAP WMP Champion, Spruance Site, Richmond, VA. If you have SAP questions, send them to editors@maintenancetechnology.com and we’ll forward them to Kristina.

136

5:06 pm
May 15, 2017
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Training Today’s Workforce for Tomorrow’s Needs

Just as the Internet of Things (Iot) is transforming industrial operations, maintenance roles are also being transformed.

Just as the Internet of Things (Iot) is transforming industrial operations, maintenance roles are also being transformed.

With equipment and building systems growing smarter, those who operate and maintain them must do likewise.

By Jane Alexander, Managing Editor

Although we’ve heard that the Internet of Things (IoT) is poised to transform the industry, in some cases, it already has. Today, more and more businesses are implementing IoT-enabled equipment and generating an ever-growing influx of data that has the potential to transform their operations. For industry applications, the value of the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) is expected to continue to grow at an astounding rate. While that should come as no surprise, there is one important caveat.

According to Mohamed Shishani of Schneider Electric’s Building & IT Business (Nashville, TN, schneider-electric.us), IoT-driven data can help reduce reactive maintenance, boost preventive problem solving, and improve efficiency and productivity, but only when the workforce is prepared to use the insights to make better decisions. “It’s imperative,” he stated, “that plant operators and facility managers ensure their electrical-maintenance personnel are trained and prepared to operate and apply IoT-driven data to improve operational performance. If not, they’ll surely be left behind.”

As Schneider Electric’s “IoT 2020 Business Report” noted, operational and management professionals in buildings, factories, global supply chains, and cities must be able to turn data into actionable insights about the efficiency of machines or production lines. Collecting and analyzing this operational intelligence can help the workforce improve business strategies that drive performance and sustainability.

Shishani reports that industry is already seeing the effects of an internet-connected, internet-dependent world—and that business leaders are paying close attention to its impact on their operations. In fact, based on Schneider Electric’s research, 70% of decision makers have seen the business value of IoT through its ability to create new opportunities for their companies, improve the efficiency of their businesses, and deliver long-term business benefits.

‘Smart’ systems require a smarter workforce

Shishani pointed to circuit breakers as a good example of evolving technology. As he described the situation, “Once upon a time, a circuit breaker was just a circuit breaker, an innocuous black box that was rarely considered in the day-to-day operations of a plant or facility. Today, though, IoT-enabled circuit breakers can provide real-time and historical trending data, allowing facility managers to easily monitor their plant or building’s electrical systems.”

These smart systems provide improved visibility into operations and allow users to control everything from specific lines of equipment to the entire industrial process, locally and remotely. Proactive maintenance, based on predictive decision making, lets personnel troubleshoot and remedy issues in real time, before operations are affected. That approach reduces system downtime and opens the doors for more regularly scheduled preventive maintenance.

The collected data can provide a wealth of useful information, including circuit-breaker status, energy use, and important system notifications. With just a simple Internet connection, the information is readily available on an operator’s computer screen. Cloud-based solutions provide personnel with access to data through apps on their mobile devices, making the decision-making process even faster and more reliable than is possible with conventional systems.

Note that while IoT-enabled tools such as these offer great potential to improve a plant’s productivity, they can only be maximized if personnel are able to properly use them. As plants and facilities evolve to require constant monitoring, maintenance staff must be trained to use stationary and mobile equipment. Decisions, in turn, can be made anytime and anywhere, saving time and eliminating the need for on-site visits.

IoT-enabled-tool training

With data becoming more useful, traditional methods of performing work may no longer be relevant. The increase in data, in general, suggests the volume of it specific to electrical systems is likely to increase as well. Furthermore, just as the IoT is transforming industrial operations, the role of maintenance personnel is also being transformed.

Consider, for example, building systems that control a plant’s power, automation, safety, communication, and security. According to Shishani, the fact that such systems are becoming more integrated means electrical contractors and maintenance technicians are becoming even more pertinent to the industrial system. In his view, as their roles and responsibilities continue to expand and involve functions beyond traditional electrical work, they should be encouraged to:

• Use new skills to gather and analyze data to ensure decisions are made quickly and accurately.
• Offer solutions that take into account the energy usage of a  particular process or facility to ensure energy efficiency and sustainable operations.
• Embrace the transformation of their role as IIoT-solutions providers by expanding their knowledge of IoT and how to use the resulting data.

In light of the aging workforce, industries will be challenged to engage personnel in new technologies while training newcomers—who most likely will be Millennials—to build on existing digital skills and apply them to a new environment that is always on, constantly connected, and moving quickly.

“Whether IoT will drastically reshape the industry can no longer be questioned,” Shishani explained. “The workforce must be surrounded by the right tools and training to be able to harness all the possibilities IoT has to offer.” MT

Mohamed Shishani is go-to-market strategy and launch manager for Schneider Electric’s Building & IT Business. For more information, visit schneider-electric.us.

Tools for Success

By Mohamed Shishani, Schneider Electric

Training personnel to interpret the influx of data produced by IoT technology is critical to ensure businesses are prepared for an evolving industry. As younger workers enter the workforce, businesses must evolve with the types of resources they are providing their employees. With the right training and digital tools, companies can set them up for success.

The first step is to provide employees with the knowledge they need—right at their fingertips. In the age of IoT, giving the workforce access to the right information when, where, and how it’s needed will be paramount to the entire operation’s success. Businesses are using innovative digital tools to make sure information is readily available and easily accessible. With online portals, personnel will have access to product information, training, and technical support tools designed to make the information-gathering process easier so they can get back to their jobs more quickly. Through a combination of apprentice libraries, videos, interactive technical support, training materials and up-to-date information on the latest codes and standards, the workforce will be equipped with all of the information needed to generate informed operational decisions.

In addition, design and/or implement the right types of programs to train and develop your workforce. For businesses with an eye on IoT, training programs should be deployed to keep employees on their game. It’s important that new employees be trained to leverage tools to help them interpret data. An emphasis should also be placed on providing existing employees with training on new technologies to ensure they are able to complete their jobs with the efficiency needed to keep up with IoT technology.

Finally, incorporate safety into ongoing training. When a job involves electrical equipment, it’s imperative that safety be part of the ongoing discussion. Safe electrical practices, such as how to approach a tripped circuit breaker and how to mitigate arc-flash hazards, can be the difference between a near-miss incident and harmful electrical accident. Emergency response and CPR training are also extremely relevant and important for plant and facility operations employees. OSHA and other regulatory agencies require emergency-response training for specific occupations every one to
two years.

18

2:29 pm
May 15, 2017
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Final Thought: Back to Basics For a Better Future

klausblacheBy Dr. Klaus M. Blache, Univ. of Tennessee, Reliability & Maintainability Center

During a trip to Europe, several years ago, I visited the German Museum of Science and Technology in Munich (the largest museum of this type in the world). While there, I marveled, as many do, at the machinery and equipment that people have designed and built without the help of modern technology. Consider the many windmills that used to be so prevalent across the European landscape

According to Low-Tech Magazine (Barcelona, lowtechmagazine.com), at their peak, the total number of wind-powered mills in Europe was 200,000. The Netherlands alone is reported to have had 9,000 of them by 1850. Based on a capacity of about 50-hp each, that calculates out as roughly 450,000 hp to mill grain, pump water, and support other industrial uses.

The craftsmen of those early, engineered wonders were driven to do great work, mostly because their livelihoods depended on it. Today is not that different. For example, as stated in a Feb. 2015 Los Angeles Times article, The Boston Consulting Group (Boston, bcg.com) predicted that investment in industrial robots would grow 10% a year in the world’s 25-biggest export nations through 2025, up from what, at the time, was said to be 2% to 3% annual growth.

Those numbers reflect just one of many such projections that popular news outlets seem to continuously share. Regardless of automation’s actual rate of growth in industry, for purposes of reliability and maintenance (R&M), the reality is that our skilled trades need more technical knowledge to understand wireless controls, computer interfaces, machine learning with predictive technologies, big data, and digital connectivity.

A lot can be accomplished right now. It starts with getting better at doing the basics well with proven best practices. Much of this falls into the category of precision maintenance.

My 2016 study comparing the savings resulting from precision-maintenance training with those from general-maintenance training showed that the benefits of applied precision maintenance were greater by a factor of four. Precision-maintenance training teaches trades and plant-floor engineers essential manufacturing skills. Examples of such skills include asset care and operation and machine assembly and installation, plus hands-on knowledge of precision alignment, pumps and pumping systems, gearboxes, and root-cause failure analysis.

Maintenance best practices will continue to be key to manufacturing competitiveness.

Maintenance best practices will continue to be key to manufacturing competitiveness.

The payback

You recognize a skilled craftsman when you see one at work. It’s evident in how he or she takes care of every detail, checks and rechecks the work, and shows pride in doing something right the first time, every time. Sadly, for reasons such as time pressure, lack of training, and organizational culture, among others, there’s been a decline in craftsmanship over the years. I am, though, of the opinion that most personnel, if given the opportunity and an enabled work environment, want to do the best job possible. At the same time, the generally accepted number for human error in maintenance issues is greater than 50%. A thorough comprehension and application of precision maintenance can reduce that percentage.

Of course, we first have to find adequate numbers of qualified technical workers. That’s a challenge. According to the Georgetown Univ. Center on Education and the Workforce (Washington, cew.georgtown.edu), by 2020, the United States will be short 5-million workers with the necessary technical certificates and credentials to succeed in high-growth, high-demand industries.

In 1991, the National Research Council (NRC, Washington, nationalacademies.org/nrc/) investigated U.S. manufacturing competitiveness. The subsequent report stated, “…the most cost-effective increase in U.S. manufacturing capacity may well be achievable through improved maintenance practices for existing equipment.”

Fast-forward 26 years: I believe this NRC statement holds true in 2017, and will continue to hold true in industries of the future. MT

Based in Knoxville, Klaus M. Blache is director of the Reliability & Maintainability Center at the Univ. of Tennessee, and a research professor in the College of Engineering. Contact him at kblache@utk.edu.

114

2:55 pm
April 18, 2017
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On The Floor: Management Rapport? Thumbs Up and Down

Mechanical and electrical plant roomsBy Jane Alexander, Managing Editor

For some reason, the following question about management rapport really kicked MT Reader Panelists into high gear this month. Lots of them (more than usual) wanted to express their opinions (some in far more detail than they typically provide). The result is that we can’t include all responses on these two pages. 

Q: What was the state of rapport between their sites’ plant-floor reliability and/or maintenance teams (or their clients’/customers’ teams) and upper management, and why?

Here are a few of the responses we received. As usual, they’ve been edited for clarity and brevity.

Industry Consultant, West…
Management rapport [with maintenance and reliability teams] is one of the main indicators I use when working at a new [client] site. If there’s tension between these departments, there will be communication breakdowns—virtually every time.  Performance will suffer greatly, and each group will blame the others.

In general, I find a good, strong, open, and honest working relationship in less than 30% of my clients’ operations.  If I can resolve issues between the groups, and improve relationships, the parts of the maintenance and reliability puzzle fall into place rather easily. In the age of e-mail, texting, and voicemail, however, it’s much easier for silos to exist and not handle issues face-to-face.  In my opinion, it seems to be getting easier to let site relationships erode rather than repair them.

Maintenance Technician, Discrete Mfg, North America…
Not the greatest here (always a struggle because upper management is constantly looking to cut corners). They call it risk management, yet when something goes wrong, they panic. Some of our older equipment has been paid for many times over. Now, though, we’re into a stage where it’s hard to get parts for this equipment. We [our team] really tries to stress the importance of preventive maintenance (PMs) and taking care of things, as in “if you take care of your stuff, your stuff will take care of you.” But it becomes frustrating when that idea seems to fall on deaf ears and they [management] seem to dodge another bullet. (This opinion is based on personal experience; I’ve been working in this plant for many years.)

Industry Supplier, Southeast…
With regard to my customers, management rapport, in most cases, is still not very good. I work with a lot of plants where plant-floor staff need help, but must get upper management to buy in. Most preventive-maintenance (PM) personnel don’t have the knowledge to make their case. When I’m able to meet with both sides at the table and pitch ROI (return on investment), it seems that they begin to understand each other better, i.e., that the ROI for Management is dollars and the ROI of PM teams is reduced failures and workload.

Reliability Specialist, Power Sector, Midwest…
Our team has an excellent rapport with all levels of the organization.  The secret to good rapport is to not only talk the talk, but to walk the talk. The site’s PdM/PM program mission is to use our knowledge and appropriate technologies on the facility’s assets to provide the operating group safe, efficient, and reliable equipment.  In the same manner, we are to use our knowledge and available technologies to safely and effectively reduce the facility’s operating and maintenance costs.

Industry Supplier, Midwest…
It’s ugly (management rapport, that is)! Many of my plant-floor customers have lost budgets and been reduced to performing reactive work, as opposed to proactive maintenance. They’re dealing with plants that are already in bad shape and disrepair, and answering to management that still wants to run full production. They have no inventories, no spares, and no orders for items with extremely long lead times. It’s not a pretty picture. One ray of hope [a slight improvement] is that site management is now being forced to go to corporate for monies and also discuss why equipment was allowed to go so long without repair. The overall situation, though, leads to pain and agony for those having to do work, that, if it had been done when needed, would have been a simple fix, not a catastrophic fix.  

Industry Consultant, North America…
There’s no guarantee that upper management has a solid understanding of reliability excellence. This is especially true if no executive-level stakeholder exists. Quite often, the focus from the top is solely on cost management (not on failure prevention or defect elimination.) In my experience as a consultant, a common complaint at the working level has focused on incoherent, ongoing initiatives that aren’t solidly linked to goals. This issue could be resolved if long-range plans were created based, say, on ranking of each initiative by priority and benefit and then stretching them out over a period of time. Leadership should encourage these types of plans for excellence, and involve plant personnel in their definition.

Maintenance Leader, Discrete Mfg, Midwest…
As noted in some of my past Reader Panel responses, maintenance used to be the redheaded stepchild at our facility. The problem started with the fact that plant managers and senior managers seemed to come and go [change] frequently. Because of this, “flavor of the month” programs were the norm. This changed with the arrival of an outside consulting firm. When upper management listened to suggestions and our plant-floor personnel saw that their ideas were listened to, maintenance took ownership. This made a big difference with proactive versus reactive work. We’re now getting our preventive maintenance work done as well. Things are looking good.

Reliability Engineering Leader, Process Mfg, South…
If I had been asked this question a couple of years ago, I would have characterized the relationship between management and plant-floor teams as indifferent. It wasn’t adversarial, but more a matter of management viewing maintenance as a necessary evil than a competitive advantage.  That has changed significantly. Last year, leadership announced PM Completion Rate (with a target of 95%) as one of the top metrics for the company. That was a real game changer. Suddenly, everybody was interested in preventive maintenance—it had become part of their personal-performance expectations. Respect for the importance of scheduled maintenance compliance made a dramatic shift, and we exceeded our PM-completion target.  This coming year, unscheduled asset downtime is being added to the top company metrics and will be reviewed on a monthly basis by executive management. This is a clear example of how leadership from the top can really drive change. 

Industry Consultant, International
In answer to your question, this situation [management rapport problems] is brought on by local company politics, lack of training, and basic mismanagement among, other things.

While I’ve worked with various clients, including some where severe adversarial relationships existed between Maintenance and Production/ Upper Management, by coaching ALL responsible parties that state of the art reliability and maintenance saves money, increases OEE (overall equipment effectiveness), improves uptime, and increases productivity, etc. I have convinced maintenance and top management that maintenance/reliability is a business partner NOT a “ we break it/you fix it” stepchild.

After training of top-level maintenance, production and sometimes even general management personnel by professionals in reliability and maintenance management, common goals are identified and cooperation is much improved. Accountants watch the bottom line weighing these additional consultant/training costs against expense reductions and production improvements. Results are that teamwork builds and floor-operations to staff-level relationships smooth out.

“Equipment Ownership,” in selected cases, brings hourly production and maintenance crafts together and reinforces the hourly–personnel through management relationship. Although this has, at times raised, the eyebrows of union officers, they usually go along when the benefits to all are obvious.

Yes, I have seen too many operations where maintenance and production departments, which usually have the ear of top management, DO NOT have a smooth relationship. However, with the proper training and education of all concerned, this can usually be much improve to the economic and management benefit of all.

Plant Engineer, Institutional Facilities, Midwest
With regard to management rapport, for several months, maintenance (trades) forepersons at our institution have had to attend not only new-construction meetings, but even small-project meetings. The idea is that we (Maintenance) can add our concerns before, during, and after projects are completed. The problem with all this is how much time it takes. With so many projects and associated meetings [at our site] and the number of normal maintenance-type meetings we have, we almost always have at least one supervisor sitting in meetings 30 to 40 hours per week. Work for anybody attending these meetings gets pushed back and can delay repairs. It also creates more work for the people not attending.

Another problem we have is that only the person attending the meeting knows what was discussed and/or is coming up. Consequently, that individual has knowledge that other supervisors don’t. The system would work a lot better if one person could attend all the meetings and email a recap of each event so every supervisor would know where each project stands and what’s coming up, whether in his or her area/zone or not.

While most meetings cover such a wide variety of subjects that only 10% to 20% of their agendas can be devoted to individual trades, attendees must listen to everything. It would be better, if you were going to have a one-hour meeting, to break it down into four parts, i.e., plumbing, electrical, mechanical, architectural/structural. This way, a supervisor could attend only the part of the meeting during which his or her area was discussed, not the entire meeting, and, if email recaps were sent out, could still keep up with everything that transpires.

Engineer, Industry Supplier, Southeast
Management’s responsibilities are meeting production deadlines and goals while keeping operating costs to a minimum. The relationship between management and maintenance depends on how management views their maintenance program. Some management personnel look at maintenance as a cost center while others recognize it as a cost savings mechanism or in best case, the profit center. Understanding that maintenance is a part of the cost of the product being created softens the financial burden but also gives management a better perspective regarding the value their maintenance teams bring to the table.

Ours is an equipment-service operation that’s deeply involved in working with our customers to improve their PdM programs. As such we continue to invest a great deal of time educating upper management regarding the benefits of early detection of issues that will lead to premature failures as well as on-going inefficiencies. The more informed management becomes about heading off potential problems, and the tools and preventive measures available, the more they become involved with their maintenance teams. Informed managers will interact with their teams quicker and to a greater extent. Sometimes comparing the benefits of outsourcing major PdM activities is more appealing and acceptable to management personnel as it leaves their operators and technicians time to complete their daily routine assignments.

Maintenance personnel generally understand the need for planned routine maintenance. Their relationship with upper management is greatly improved when their leaders are also informed. Education is the key to improving the relationship between upper management and their maintenance teams as well as a way of improving efficiency and operational success of the facility. MT

Tip of the Month

“Add RED and GREEN colors to the face of standard pressure gauges. This allows anyone who looks at or takes readings on a single gauge (or dozens) to tell right away if a pressure is too low or too high. I’ve worked on equipment and in test labs where this little addition could have saved a lot of time and money, and helped any operator.”

Tipster: Plant Engineer, Institutional Facilities, Midwest (an MT Reader Panelist)

What about you?
Tips and tricks that you use in your work could be value-added news to other reliability and maintenance pros. Let us help you share them. Email your favorites to MTTipster@maintenancetechnology.com. Who knows? You might see your submission(s) highlighted in this space at some point. (Anyone can play. You don’t need to be an
MT Reader Panelist.)

102

8:19 pm
April 13, 2017
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Uptime: Aligning ‘Our’ Goals With Business Goals

bobmugnewBy Bob Williamson, Contributing Editor

Cut expenses. Boost performance. Those are among the goals of many businesses. Frequently, though—too frequently, in fact—maintenance managers find themselves between a rock and a hard place: improving maintenance while reducing costs.

By its very nature, the maintenance function is a business expense. As an extreme, we could eliminate the entire maintenance budget as a cost-cutting measure. Having done that, the business would suffer under significantly more expensive run-to-failure equipment-management practices, leading to increased costs of repair and lost revenues from unpredictable/unplanned equipment and facilities downtime.

Maintenance can be defined as “actions for sustaining a desired level of equipment performance.” From a maintenance professional’s perspective, the big picture is more about sustaining desired levels of business performance.

Let’s be clear, we could be discussing the maintenance department as we explore the principles of aligning maintenance with business goals. But, when reviewing the scope of maintenance work, we must think and look well beyond the maintenance department and consider the maintenance function, regardless of the organization(s) performing the work. This is a crucial distinction when it comes to the alignment of goals.

Typically, the maintenance department is perceived as the party that’s responsible for the health and well being of equipment and facilities. Yet, many (if not most) of the causes of unhealthy and poorly performing equipment and facilities go well beyond the scope of the maintenance department. As a result, maintenance basically gets to address the symptoms, not the true causes, of problems.

Efficiency vs. effectiveness

The noted business-management consultant, author, and educator Peter Drucker defined efficiency and effectiveness this way:

• Efficiency: Doing things right—able to accomplish something with the least waste of time and effort. (Focuses on process).

• Effectiveness: Doing the right things—producing the intended or expected result. (Focuses on results, outcomes, throughput).

Just because maintenance is performed efficiently does not necessarily mean that it is effective.

NASCAR race-team pit crews offer an excellent example. An efficient pit stop can be performed in record time. The pit crew’s work processes are highly efficient. But, if they always change four tires while only two tires are showing signs of performance-handling wear, pit stops are ineffective.

In the business context of auto racing and pit stops, it’s not the responsibility of the pit crew (let’s call it the “maintenance crew”) to determine how many tires to change. The crew chief (let’s call him or her the “maintenance manager”) reviews previous tire-performance data, compared with vehicle handling, as reported by the driver, and determines the tire-changing tasks to be completed during each pit stop.

After all, the goal of a race is not only flawless work execution (efficiency) by the pit crew, but also performance of pit stops in a manner that ensures the business goal of winning the race is a top priority (effectiveness).

All too often, we focus primarily on measuring and improving maintenance efficiency, including, among other things, preventive-maintenance (PM)-schedule compliance, mean time to repair, actual hours/planned hours, planning variance, and preventive/predictive-maintenance (PM/PdM) yield. While activities (or actions) associated with these measurements and improvements lead to excellent maintenance practices, they must be balanced with maintenance effectiveness.

Aligning maintenance functions with business goals assures maintenance effectiveness. Maintenance actions then contribute to the goals of the business.

This business line of sight reflects alignments from the upper-most purposes of an enterprise, down to plant-floor work execution.

This business line of sight reflects alignments from the upper-most purposes of an enterprise, down to plant-floor work execution.

Line of sight

I’ve discussed asset-management standards and the importance of aligning an organization’s work processes with their goals in numerous Maintenance Technology columns over the years. Both the PAS-55:2008 Asset Management Specification and ISO55000: 2014 Asset Management Standard refer to the importance of aligning asset-management practices to the goals of the business. PAS-55 referred to this alignment as a “line of sight” designed to assure the effectiveness of such practices.

Let’s use the chart on p. 6 to drill down through a typical line of sight, from the upper-most purposes of an enterprise, all the way to work execution on the plant floor. Since business terminology varies widely, here are my clarifications and some examples for this diagram:

• Business Opportunity (our market/customers/requirements)

• Shareholder/Owner Expectations (return on the investment)

• Organization’s Mission-Vision (who we are and where we want to be)

• Strategic Themes, Policy Statements (guiding principles)

• Strategic Business Plan (what and why)

• Business Goals (what we want to accomplish)

• Key Performance Indicators (measuring what is critical: financial, customer, process, people, and/or regulatory)

• Objectives/Strategic Initiatives (what and how)

• Organizational Structures (our divisions/cost centers/departments/shifts/crews)

• Job Roles & Responsibilities, Job Requirements (who, what, where, when)

• Work Processes, Methods, Procedures, Systems (how work should/shall be performed)

• Work Execution (performance management—how well).

Top-down/bottom-up

There are two ways to approach line-of-sight alignment. Most organizations view it from a top-down perspective to define their respective business models and what they should measure to determine whether they’re on a successful path. Their KPIs (key performance indicators) often provide necessary measures of success.

From a bottom-up perspective, we see Work Execution reflecting the fundamental actions required to meet the Business Goals as measured by the KPIs. The two paths (top-down and bottom-up) meet in the middle—aligned toward the same KPIs.

Connecting and aligning Work Execution to the KPIs are some of the most critical links in the process. The KPIs can be made actionable by linking to the appropriate Equipment Utilization Losses (see Uptime, March 2017).

Specific Objectives or Initiatives are determined from the KPIs; Organizational Structures are defined; specific Job Roles & Responsibilities (in various departments) are defined; and Work Processes are developed to define how work is to be performed. All of this leads to the flawless Work Execution that’s necessary to achieve the Business Goals (as in the pit crew example).

Seeking alignment

Aligning the work culture (an organization’s behaviors) with a line of sight to the organization’s business goals begins by communicating the Business Opportunity and how the organization needs to pull in the same direction to take full advantage of it.

Linking maintenance to business goals is only one of many alignments that must exist in successful enterprises. Thus, we must remember that a maintenance department alone cannot effectively maintain equipment and facilities. More and more, we’re learning that the maintenance function is a team sport that requires multiple disciplines (players) brought in at different stages in the life cycle of a physical asset.

Paying attention to maintenance-work processes and efficiency are good things to measure. It’s when we align the outcomes of those processes and efficiencies with business goals that maintenance truly becomes effective in a business model. MT

Bob Williamson, CMRP, CPMM, and member of the Institute of Asset Management, is in his fourth decade of focusing on the “people side” of world-class maintenance and reliability. Contact him at RobertMW2@cs.com.

503

6:23 pm
April 13, 2017
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Maintenance Efficiency: Understand It To Drive It

Various factors and measurements affect an organization’s ability to improve workforce efficiencies.

Worker of oil and gas refinery

By Al Poling, RAM Analytics LLC

It’s a given: Maintenance is the largest fixed cost in manufacturing. Maintenance-workforce efficiency has a profound effect on that cost and, in turn, overall business performance. Can that efficiency be improved and, if so, how?

The common metric used to measure this efficiency is wrench time. Research on wrench time has revealed maintenance workforce efficiencies ranging from 18% to 74%. In other words, inefficient maintenance operations will spend exponentially more on maintenance labor than the most efficient operations to complete the same amount of work.

To illustrate the significant financial impact of maintenance workforce efficiency, a highly efficient operation with 74% wrench time spends $100 million/yr. on maintenance labor. A highly inefficient maintenance operation would spend more than four times that amount (or more than $400 million annually) to complete the same volume of work. Translation: The inefficient maintenance operation would waste $300 million a year due to inefficiency.

Critical factors

Numerous factors influence effective use of maintenance labor resources. At the top of any list, however, is a well-defined maintenance-work process. This type of process describes, in detail, each step of maintenance work from identification through execution and closure. Despite claims to the contrary, there is effectively only one universally used maintenance workflow. The five major components are identification, planning, scheduling, execution, and closure:

Identification is the timely pinpointing and prioritization of maintenance work. These activities are performed by equipment operators who use a well-defined work-prioritization matrix or by maintenance coordinators who base priorities on business and related needs.

Planning is formal organization of the work to be done, including scope assessment and identification and procurement of the labor and materials required to complete the job.

Scheduling includes setting the optimum time period in which to complete the planned work. It takes into account the overall resources required at the site and attempts to level the resource load to use normally available maintenance resources.

Execution is the actual hands-on work performed by skilled maintenance craft personnel. This includes company personnel and contract maintenance workers.

Closure involves capturing work history, including critical information on failure modes used to facilitate reliability analysis.

Failure to have or follow a well-defined maintenance-work process results in chaos and, therefore, grossly inefficient resource utilization.

Tools and prep

The next factor that influences maintenance-labor efficiency is the availability of tools and materials required to complete the assigned work. Without that availability, work can’t be completed in a timely manner.

Wrench-time studies consistently reveal that traveling for tools and materials is the most common barrier to maintenance-workforce productivity. If highly skilled (and costly) maintenance-craft personnel have to spend time retrieving tools and materials, it will take significantly longer to complete the work, including possibly delaying completion. It’s troubling why so many organizations depend on highly skilled maintenance resources to perform such mundane work (material and tool transport) rather than assigning those tasks to less costly storeroom and/or delivery personnel.

Next in line as a detrimental impact on maintenance-workforce efficiency is the interface with operations. Equipment must be prepared in advance of maintenance work. Examples include equipment decontamination, lockout/tagout, and work permitting. If these types of tasks aren’t performed in a timely manner, wrench time will suffer. Paying highly skilled maintenance workers to stand around while operators perform such work—that should have been done in advance—is absurd. Yet, as wrench-time studies show, this is a common occurrence in today’s plants.

The culture effect

Empirical evidence suggests that particular work environments, or cultures, are more prone to maintenance workforce inefficiency. At the top of this list is an environment in which unreliable equipment reigns. In this type of reactive environment, it is virtually impossible to achieve high levels of maintenance-workforce efficiency. Unplanned failures, by their very nature, don’t facilitate planning and scheduling, leading to extremely inefficient and expensive reactive corrective work. As if this weren’t bad enough, it is invariably the value of lost production and subsequent lost profit that causes the greatest economic harm to the site and business. Sadly, these costs are often overlooked.

The next environment most prone to maintenance workforce inefficiency is one where maintenance labor costs are low. Southeast Asia, for example, experiences severe inefficiencies—often at appalling levels. In those regions, it’s not unusual to find human labor being utilized instead of equipment. For example, you might find large numbers of maintenance workers with shovels doing the work that a single bulldozer could complete in short order. Sometimes, though, this is by design, i.e., to create more jobs to support a growing middle class. Nonetheless, while it’s an expensive way to operate, the costs can be more easily absorbed due to exponentially lower-skilled maintenance-craft wages.

Surprisingly, highly reliable operations represent yet another, although not necessarily obvious, area where maintenance inefficiencies can be found. In such environments, the business is typically enjoying very high profit margins as a result of achieving maximum production with existing assets.

Of course, it’s human nature for people to focus on what’s important and overlook anything that’s deemed less so. Thus, in a highly reliable production environment, as profits rise, maintenance-cost management can take on a lower sense of urgency. In extreme cases, the inherent inefficiency can lead to anywhere from tens to hundreds of millions of dollars in unnecessary maintenance expense. Interestingly, this situation may also occur in less-reliable operations when the market is tight and profits are high. (It’s not uncommon for managers to remove any maintenance cost controls as long as sales demands are satisfied.)

In both of those scenarios, however, maintenance inefficiency will only be tolerated as long as profit objectives are being met. As soon as market conditions change, pressure will once again be applied to maintenance cost and, subsequently, to maintenance-workforce efficiency. The reaction to this often-sudden change can be quite ugly as arbitrary rules with the potential for unintended consequences, e.g., discontinuing proactive maintenance as a way to reduce maintenance labor costs, are put in place.

Effective measuring

In an ideal production environment, skilled maintenance resources are used efficiently and effectively. As the father of statistical process control W. Edwards Deming advised, “You can’t manage what you don’t measure.”

To ensure that maintenance resources are being efficiently and effectively utilized, they must be measured. Although not used extensively today, the early 20th century methodology of maintenance-work sampling provides an effective means to measure wrench time. (Despite exaggerated claims by some that this sampling is akin to Frederick Taylor’s infamous time and motion studies of the late 19th century, it is not.)

Maintenance-work sampling is simply a statistical tool that, when used effectively, can measure maintenance-workforce productivity. Identification and elimination of barriers to productivity can significantly increase the value-added contribution of existing maintenance resources. Work sampling is the process of capturing and analyzing a statistically valid number of random observations to determine the amount of time, on average, that workers spend in various activities throughout their normal workdays. Non-value-added activities are then targeted for reduction and/or elimination using root-cause analysis.

The maintenance-work sampling approach is based on the proven theory that the percentage of observations made of workers doing a particular activity is a reliable measure of the percentage of total time actually spent by the same workers on the activity. The accuracy of this technique is, naturally, dependent upon the number of observations. To achieve a 95% confidence level in the results, approximately 3,000 observations must be made and recorded. While this might seem excessive, a single trained observer can collect that number of observations during a week of single 8- or 10-hr.maintenance work shifts.

Keep in mind that maintenance-work sampling makes it possible to measure utilization of work groups and the overall maintenance workforce. Key opportunities that warrant attention can be isolated and examined. A good example is that of travel time involved in obtaining requisite maintenance tools and materials and delivering them to where they will be used. That time can be accurately measured and a cost assigned simply by taking the number of total hours consumed by the activity and multiplying by the hourly rate.

Additionally, with maintenance-work sampling, unique factors that affect maintenance wrench time can often be identified. For instance, if inadequate means of communication exist between a work group and the supervisor, valuable time can be wasted tracking each other down. Radios or mobile phones, can solve this problem.

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The accompanying charts (Figs. 1 and 2) are based on a real-world case study where work sampling was leveraged to identify and eliminate maintenance-workforce inefficiencies. Figure 1 depicts a decline in non-value-added activities, while Fig. 2 depicts an increase in value-added activities.

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As these charts show, initial measurement of the site’s maintenance-workforce wrench-time revealed a mere 28% value-added work (wrench time). Through the systematic reduction and/or elimination of non-value-added activities over the course of three years, the wrench time rose to 74%. What really matters here, however, is the recovery of the value of time that was being wasted, as shown in Table I. (Efficiency gains can also be measured in terms of full-time-equivalents, as shown in Table II.)

As part of its development and publication of standard reliability and maintenance metrics, the Society for Maintenance and Reliability Professionals (SMRP, Atlanta, smrp.org) published its work-management metric, 5.6.1 Wrench Time, in 2009. The stated objective of this metric is “to identify opportunities to increase productivity by qualifying and quantifying the activities of maintenance craft workers.”

The Society also published the SMRP Guide to Maintenance Work Sampling, in 2012. As one of three co-authors, I can state definitively that the intent of this publication was to educate younger reliability and maintenance professionals who had not been exposed to maintenance-work sampling. Although adoption has been slow, several companies are beginning to include this sampling methodology as a valued component in their reliability and maintenance tool kits. Ironically, sites are often introduced to maintenance-work sampling by maintenance contractors who want to demonstrate the efficiency and effectiveness of the skilled maintenance-craft personnel they provide.

(Editor’s note: SMRP’s Guide to Maintenance Work Sampling is a simple “how to” document that includes statistical tables designed to help users understand the correlation of the confidence level associated with a number of observations. The guide can be purchased for a small fee at SMRP.org. The co-authors donated their time to the development and publication of this document and receive no royalties from its sale.)

Last words

While it might be enticing to simply reduce the number of skilled maintenance craft workers on site as wrench time increases, a more prudent path may be to redeploy resources and invest in failure-prevention activities and/or infrastructure.

Increased wrench time may also provide an opportunity to reduce overtime as resources become available and/or to reduce the reliance upon third-party maintenance resources. With today’s critical shortage of skilled maintenance workers, however, displaced workers would likely be able to secure employment elsewhere.

In summary, maintenance wrench time plays a significant role in measuring efficient utilization of skilled maintenance-craft personnel. This valuable metric can be used by any manufacturing operation to ensure that it is realizing the greatest return possible from its investment in human capital. MT

Al Poling, CMRP, has more than 36 years of reliability and maintenance experience in the process industries. He served as technical director for the Society for Maintenance and Reliability Professionals from 2008 to 2010. Contact al.poling@ramanalytics.net.

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3:16 pm
March 13, 2017
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‘Lean’ Your Way To Workplace Efficiency

03175srandmThe 5S process has proven to be a highly effective organizational tool for modern, Lean work environments. Are your operation’s plant-floor personnel taking full advantage of this methodology?

According to experts in storage, organization, and material-handling solutions at Akron, OH-based Akro-Mils (akro-mils.com), organizations that invest in a 5S process increase productivity, create higher-quality products, and lower operating costs through simple waste removal, visual identification, and efficient use of space. By incorporating a 5S Lean methodology, they note, facilities can:

• improve workflow and productivity
• develop a cleaner, more efficient environment
• create extra workspace
• increase safety
• reduce wasted time and effort
• boost worker morale
• ensure improvements remain intact.

A recent Akro-Mils blog post provided the following refresher on steps in the 5S process, along with some ways this Lean approach can lead to improved workplace efficiency.

— Jane Alexander, Managing Editor

randm1. Sort.

The first step in the 5S Lean methodology is eliminating items that are not needed for the current workflow. This step is crucial to reducing clutter, eliminating outdated or expired materials and supplies, and freeing up valuable real estate in your workspace. A key decision point in this step is determining which items stay and which items go. Unnecessary items are moved out of the workspace and either immediately disposed of or stored offsite and dealt with later.

2. Set in Order.

Frequently used workstation materials and tools should be arranged so that all needed items are readily accessible and easy to find. In this step, the workspace is reorganized and redefined for the most efficient use of space. All tools and supplies are labeled and organized, and a system is implemented to make sure they are always returned to their proper locations.

3. Shine.

When first implementing a 5S Lean process, all work areas receive a thorough cleaning and inspection. A formal cleaning and maintenance schedule is then developed to prevent dirt from accumulating and keep equipment in proper working condition.

4. Standardize.

Benchmarking and evaluation tactics should be used in your 5S Lean process to maintain a consistent approach for carrying out tasks and procedures. For example, standardizing the storage of supplies through color-coding is an effective way to provide helpful, easily recognizable visual indicators throughout an entire facility.

5. Sustain.

The last step is to continue maintaining efficient workflow and productivity with your 5S Lean system. The best way to do that is through education and empowerment of those using the system. Communicating the benefits of an ongoing 5S process will help ensure personnel’s continued adherence to it and, just as important, that there is no falling back into bad habits. Equipping workers with a well-designed 5S checklist does more than merely support the following of those procedures. It’s an effective way to create accountability and keep this valuable process going strong. MT

For more information on 5S and other workplace topics, and to download a copy of the Akro-Mils 5S Procedure Checklist, visit akro-mils.com.

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7:14 pm
February 9, 2017
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Reliability on a Global Scale

An aerial view shows the entire RIL-Hazira facility, covering more than 4 square kilometers. All images provided by RIL-Hazira.

An aerial view shows the entire RIL-Hazira facility, covering more than 4 square kilometers. All images provided by RIL-Hazira.

Petrochemical plant in India commits to superior maintenance to build a world-class program.

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