The ABCs of Structured Maintenance

Order In – Order Out, Order In – Order Out, Order In – Order Out… is the life breath of a manufacturing business. And the effective maintenance of the equipment, processes and systems that convert Orders In to Orders Out are foundational to the success of that business. This post is an update to a post from five years ago that focuses on the critical importance of structure in keeping maintenance effective. – C.H.


Structured Maintenance (From 1/12/2012)

Sustainability goes far beyond concern for the environment. Adam Werbach* says that “being a sustainable business means thriving in perpetuity”. To thrive in perpetuity requires constant attention to the present and the future on the factory floor, within the business as an organization, within the industry in which the business operates, within global economic and social realities, and within the natural world we all rely on.

For manufacturers, that begins with efficient production and timely delivery of high quality products — all the time. And that requires production equipment that reliably performs as intended. It is the function of the maintenance program to assure that the equipment performs reliably. As extreme examples, think about what “reliably performs” means to passengers in jet aircraft or to sailors in nuclear submarines, not to mention astronauts. The sign on the shop wall that said “If It Ain’t Broke, Don’t Fix It” was retired some time ago.

To be clear on terms, that which is to be maintained, I refer to as a “maintained item”, or, more simply, “item”. An item may be a machine (such as a lathe), a system (e.g. electrical power distribution) or anything else that you may want to declare as a unit for the purposes of maintenance and performance records keeping.

ABC BlocksIt is convenient and useful to divide maintained items into three classes:

Class A Items – The failure of a Class A item can shut down or significantly impair production, or create a serious safety condition, in the entire facility. Most Class A items are utilities or similar services, such as a main power transformer, a boiler, materials conveying system or critical ventilation unit.

Each of these critical items needs both a plan to keep it performing reliably and a plan for its rapid repair or replacement, in case it does fail. The “keep it performing” plan might include a scheduled inspect / clean / service routine, pre-emptive parts replacement based on service hours or proactive parts replacement based on throughput or on monitored machine condition (for example, vibrations analysis).

The corresponding rapid repair / replacement plan might involve in-line spare capacity, critical spare parts inventory, rental equipment (for example, an air compressor) and/or fast response third party service (examples: digital control systems or boilers). Since parts for critical items are often quite expensive, spare parts inventory costs must be weighed appropriately during the planning process.

For critical items, Failure Mode and Effects Analysis (FMEA) may be of significant use in formulating both plans. FMEA is a technique for evaluating the probable occurrence of various failure modes and the likely effects of such failures. FMEA is widely used in the automotive, aerospace and other industries for product and process design and improvement. It works well for critical item maintenance planning too. If you aren’t familiar with FMEA, start with a free power point presentation from Purdue University at www.stat.purdue.edu/~kuczek/stat513/IT 381_Chap_7.ppt. There is a lot more on FMEA on the web. Don’t confuse FMEA with FEMA, the federal agency that is supposed to respond to natural disasters.

Class B Items – Class B includes most primary production equipment, failure of which can shut down or significantly impair operation of a single production line, or create a localized safety concern.

The “keep it performing” plan for each of these less critical items might, as with Class A items, include a scheduled inspect / clean / service routine, pre-emptive parts replacement based on service hours or proactive parts replacement based on throughput or on monitored machine condition.

Appropriate repair / replacement plans might include common spare parts, reconditioned parts (e.g. gear boxes or rewound motors), prearranged “order as needed” parts from reliable suppliers or specialized third – party service calls (preferably with pre-arranged vendors).

Class C Items – Repairs or replacement of Class C items, taken individually or in small groups, are less urgent. Scheduled inspect / clean /service routines are often appropriate. For some high wear parts or for items that require other items to be down while maintenance to be performed, scheduled preventative maintenance may be the best route. Run to failure is an acceptable strategy for some Class C items.

The real point to this post is that effective and cost efficient equipment maintenance requires item–by–item planning, to keep the equipment performing reliably and to correct failures when they do occur. Grouping items by criticality helps make maintenance planning easier.

There is a lot more to maintenance planning than any one post can even hope to cover – look for more on maintenance in future posts.

Chuck at ReneThoughtful comments and experience reports are always appreciated.

…  Chuck Harrington (Chuck@JeraSustainableDevelopment.com)

This blog and associated website (www.JeraSustainableDevelopment.com) are intended as a resource for smaller manufacturers in the pursuit of Sustainability. While editorial focus is on smaller manufacturers, all interested readers are welcome.

* Werbach, Adam, Strategy for Sustainability, Harvard Business Press, Boston (2009), page 9.

Risk Management and the Smaller Manufacturer – Part 2

This is the second of a three post series on risk management. Part 1 of this series, posted last week, provides an overview of risk management.  This post, part 2 of the series, reprises and updates a post from 2012. This post provides specific risk management suggestions for smaller manufacturers, especially the use of Failure Modes Effects Analysis (FMEA). Part 3 will focus on the risk management aspects of the new ISO 9001-2015 Standard for Quality Management Systems.


Risk Management for Smaller Manufacturers

(From 13 September 2012)

The previous post to this blog offered some general ideas on risk management. This post addresses risk and the smaller manufacturer. To begin, two points need be clear:

>> Risk Management doesn’t necessarily mean the elimination of risk. Risk is a fact in business, and risk is often the flip side of opportunity. Consider the insurance industry. That industry exists due to risks. Insurance carriers assume risks from others (that is, they sell insurance coverage), and they invest the premiums they receive. Insurance carriers manage risks on both ends: on underwriting and on investment. You can be sure that risk-based industries like the insurance industry understand the risks they take.

Capture - OSHA Incidence Rates>> Look at this graph of manufacturing employee job related injury / illness incidence rates over the past 17 years. The rate at which the incidence rate has improved blows me away. The point here isn’t about safety or OSHA Recordables. The point is that sustained efforts to reduce risk do work, sometimes dramatically.

Failure Mode Effects Analysis 

FMEA, Failure Mode Effects Analysis, provides a powerful tool for identifying, assessing and addressing risks. FMEA can be applied to products, processes and projects. In essence, FMEA provides a framework for looking at possible failure modes (meaning risks), determining the probable frequency of occurrence of each, then the likely severity, then the potential for detecting symptoms of each mode. From these considerations, a risk priority is calculated, so that risk management actions can be prioritized.

FMEA can also be applied to organizational – level matters, including strategic planning.  In particular, FMEA can be used when setting Objectives. By applying FMEA, particularly in conjunction with Ishikawa (“fish-bone”) diagrams, possible impediments to achieving your objectives can be determined and prioritized for pre-emptive actions. A prior post to this blog outlines how this can be done [1].

Capture - FMEABasic introductions to FMEA are available on the web from the American Society for Quality  [2] and from Wikipedia  [3]. Also, there are many books available, starting with an inexpensive 90 page “primer” [4]. If you prefer to use a qualified consultant, you might call your nearest Manufacturing Extension Partnership office for a local referral [5] .

As you may have guessed, FMEA is, in my view, one of the best general purpose tools for managing risk in manufacturing organizations. And managing risks is a key component of navigating the future. The new ISO 9001-2015 Standard for Quality Management Systems [6]  will explicitly require evidence of “risk based thinking”. FMEA provides a valuable tool for compliance.

Chuck - Vancouver3Thoughtful comments and experience reports are always appreciated.

 

…  Chuck Harrington (Chuck@JeraSustainableDevelopment.com)

P.S. — When it is time for your firm to seriously pursue Sustainability, contact me — C.H.

Note: This blog and associated website (www.JeraSustainableDevelopment.com) are intended as a resource for smaller manufacturers in the pursuit of Sustainability. While editorial focus is on smaller manufacturers, all interested readers are welcome. New blog posts are published weekly.

Images: Illness / injury incidences graph – Jera, using data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, www.bls.gov. FMEA graphic – Dieter Vanduen, in the public domain, via Wikipedia


[1]  See Green and the Zoom Lens Mind, this blog, http://blog.jerasustainabledevelopment.com/2012/02/22/green-and-the-zoom-lens-mind/

[2]  http://asq.org/learn-about-quality/process-analysis-tools/overview/fmea.html

[3]  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Failure_mode_and_effects_analysis

[4]  Mikulak, R. and R. McDermott and M. Beauregard, Basics of FMEA, Second Edition, Productivity Press, New York (2009)

[5] For the MEP, go to www.NIST.gov/MEP. There is a map of the U.S. Click on your state for local contact information.

[6] The ISO 9001 Standard for Quality Management Systems is expected to be significantly revised and re-issued in 2015.

 

 

Structured Maintenance

Sustainability goes far beyond concern for the environment. Adam Werbach* says that “being a sustainable business means thriving in perpetuity”. To thrive in perpetuity requires constant attention to the present and the future on the factory floor, within the business as an organization, within the industry in which the business operates, within global economic and social realities, and within the natural world we all rely on.

For manufacturers, that begins with efficient production and timely delivery of high quality products — all the time. And that requires production equipment that reliably performs as intended. It is the function of the maintenance program to assure that the equipment performs reliably. As extreme examples, think about what “reliably performs” means to passengers in jet aircraft or to sailors in nuclear submarines. The sign on the shop wall that said “If It Ain’t Broke, Don’t Fix It” was retired some time ago.

To be clear on terms, that which is to be maintained, I refer to as a “maintained item”, or, more simply, “item”. An item may be a machine (such as a lathe), a system (e.g. electrical power distribution) or anything else that you may want to declare as a unit for the purpose of maintenance records keeping.

Items can be divided into three classes, so appropriate maintenance plans can be developed for each:

ABC BlocksClass A Items – The failure of a Class A item can shut down or significantly impair production, or create a serious safety condition, in the entire facility. Most Class A items are utilities or similar services, such as a main power transformer, a boiler, materials conveying system or critical ventilation unit.

Each of these critical items needs both a plan to keep it performing reliably and a plan for its rapid repair or replacement, in case it does fail. The “keep it performing” plan might include a scheduled inspect / clean / service routine, pre-emptive parts replacement based on service hours or proactive parts replacement based on throughput or on monitored machine condition (for example, vibrations analysis).

The corresponding rapid repair / replacement plan might involve in-line spare capacity, critical spare parts inventory, rental equipment (for example, an air compressor) and/or fast response third party service (examples: digital control systems or boilers). Since parts for critical items are often quite expensive, spare parts inventory costs must be weighed appropriately during the planning process.

For critical items, Failure Mode and Effects Analysis (FMEA) may be of significant use in formulating both plans. FMEA is a technique for evaluating the probable occurrence of various failure modes and the likely effects of such failures. FMEA is widely used in the automotive, aerospace and other industries for product and process design and improvement. It works well for critical item maintenance planning too. If you aren’t familiar with FMEA, start with www.asq.org/learn-about-quality/process-analysis-tools/overview/FMEA.html. There is a lot more on FMEA on the web. Don’t confuse FMEA with FEMA, the federal agency that is supposed to respond to natural disasters.

Class B Items – Class B includes most primary production equipment, failure of which can shut down or significantly impair operation of a single production line, or create a localized safety concern.

The “keep it performing” plan for each of these less critical items might, as with Class A items, include a scheduled inspect / clean / service routine, pre-emptive parts replacement based on service hours or proactive parts replacement based on throughput or on monitored machine condition.

Appropriate repair / replacement plans might include common spare parts, reconditioned parts (e.g. gear boxes or rewound motors), prearranged “order as needed” parts from reliable suppliers or specialized third – party service calls (preferably with pre-arranged vendors).

Class C Items – Repairs or replacement of Class C items, taken individually or in small groups, are less urgent. Scheduled inspect / clean /service routines are often appropriate. For some high wear parts or for items that require other items to be down while maintenance to be performed, scheduled preventative maintenance may be the best route. Run to failure is an acceptable strategy for some Class C items.

The real point to this post is that effective and cost efficient equipment maintenance requires item–by–item planning, to keep the equipment performing reliably and to correct failures when they do occur. Grouping items by criticality helps make maintenance planning easier.

There is a lot more to maintenance planning than any one post can even hope to cover – look for more on maintenance in future posts.

Thoughtful comments are always appreciated.

…  Chuck Harrington


*
Werbach, Adam, Strategy for Sustainability, Harvard Business Press, Boston (2009), page 9.