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    Identifying Autonomous Maintenance Tasks

    We recently had the opportunity to participate in the commissioning of a new production line for a major food manufacturer. One of our tasks was to identify the Preventive Maintenance (PM) tasks that would be the starting point for all routine activities at start-up.
    We and the client recognized that creating PM tasks and frequencies was [...]

    Mike the Mechanic: Your Go To Guy?

    I have been in several food plants in the last several years that utilize the “line mechanic” approach to maintenance. What this typically means is that a mechanic is assigned exclusively to a production line and told to “make it run”.
    When I discuss this with plant managers the arguments in favor of this approach go [...]

    Sanitation and Maintenance; Different Sides of the Same Coin

    Equipment sanitation and maintenance may appear to be very different functions, but when we think about their roles in the production picture, it is apparent that they should be managed in much the same way;
    1) They both require equipment downtime to accomplish the bulk of the work
    2) The tasks should be planned and scheduled well [...]

    When The Economy Improves; Are You Ready For A Retirement Exodus?

    Nearly all of the food manufacturing plants I have visited in the last year or more recognize that they have an aging workforce. They also have a list that identifies employees that they expect to retire in the near future. These are generally, of course, very skilled and very knowledgeable people. The exact kind you [...]

    Reliability Demands Schedule Coordination Between Maintenance and Sanitation

    When working inside manufacturing plants, we often find evidence that maintenance and sanitation groups perform their work in isolation. Some of this evidence includes:

    Lubrication points that are extremely clean
    Equipment guards off at start-up time
    Maintenance techs complaining that “sanitation chased us off the job”
    Equipment partially disassembled, but not cleaned
    Equipment disassembled and cleaned but not reassembled
    And on [...]

    Interim Leadership: An Idea Whose Time Has Come?

    We encounter many manufacturing organizations that have vacancies in key positions for months while searching for the right person to permanently fill the job. Whether the vacancy is in operations, maintenance, quality control, or others, having a leadership position vacant often results in a performance downturn.
    We see a trend towards filling these openings on a temporary basis [...]

    Maintenance Council: Do We Need One?

    In almost all of the multi-plant systems we encounter, there are always “good” performing plants and “poor” performing plants and everything in between. One way this lack of consistency manifests itself is in the area of “best practices”. 
    Typically, every plant will have practices or processes established that can be considered as best practices for the [...]

    Do People In Your Organization Know What Is Expected Of Them?

    Organizations tend to grow and change in an evolutionary manner over time, rather than by deliberate, planned redesign. The responsibilities and expectations of the people, as well as the skills needed to perform the work tend to alter in the same way.
    Establishing and communicating the roles of personnel, and the skills needed to accomplish the [...]

    Organizational Structure Is Critical To Maintenance Success

    Becoming successful in improving uptime and reducing asset care costs is not just about improving the technical capabilities in the plant. We frequently encounter organizations that have good routine maintenance plans and understand planning and scheduling, but can’t move from reactive to proactive because they can’t get their planned work accomplished.
    What we hear from Maintenance [...]

    Operators: The Eyes and Ears of Asset Care

    Early warning about equipment issues can save a lot of time and money. Diagnosing and making repairs prior to equipment failure can make it possible to plan the work in advance and be ready to make the repair when the right people and materials are available. In addition, potential collateral damage can be avoided.
    Paying attention [...]