Remove Wasted Time and Frustration from the Maintenance with Zachary Yost
Let’s welcome Zachary Yost who is an integration lead at CNS. Our main topic will be the removal of wastage in the maintenance work process.
Zachary will give us insight on:
- What were the goals in trying to streamline the work process?
- How did you come up with the solutions to these inefficiencies?
- How does the planning process compare prior to the changes and after?
… and so much more!
He has over 14 years of experience in maintenance engineering having worked in different positions as a maintenance technician, maintenance planner, and currently integration lead.
During his time as a maintenance planner, he noticed a lot of inefficiencies in planning and prioritization of the work process. He also appreciated how waste transitioned between stages of work.
What were the goals in trying to streamline the work process?
The initial plan was to look at maintenance planning in its entirety. It was evident that the planner’s position had a history of high turnover due to frustrations. The role experienced a huge backlog which continued to grow as inefficiencies continued.
Therefore, there was a need to specify each frustration of the former planners
How to go about identifying each wastage?
The team used the brown paper exercises which involved exposing how every element of the work process flows into one another. The exercise featured key action owners to let them express their individual frustrations.
The frustration is just an emotional response to inefficiencies in the system. Subsequently, there is a need to focus on the elements of the system for its adjustment rather than on the people
Was this exercise overwhelming?
There were so many inefficiencies listed by the action owners that it became difficult to prioritize the focus areas.
What were the key processes that needed focus?
There was a lot of frustration around planning that led to poor quality of work downstream. The planners became pushers for other departments to do their tasks.
The biggest focus was to ensure that the planners only focused on their core-purpose which is job planning and are not overwhelmed.
Another key process was to identify what will be required and document it as necessary.
How did you come up with the solutions to these inefficiencies?
The team followed the guidelines in RACI. It involved identifying the players who are responsible and accountable.
The employment of SAP also enabled the team to use visual indicators to inform on the work progress and what needs to be done in the subsequent stages.
Automation was also a fundamental approach. However, the team was keen not to automate the wrong things. There was a need to find a balance between automation and ensuring only the right processes were being automated.
What were the barriers to these changes?
There are legacy beliefs in the maintenance process that couldn’t be easily changed. The planning department took on too much responsibility and accountability which made the players become defensive.
Another challenge was the slow process of getting other departments to adopt SAP since maintenance is affected by other players outside the team.
The senior leaders were supportive. However, their expectations were a challenge since they needed immediate results from the changes being implemented.
How did you overcome the barriers?
Using numbers to display the performance metrics as a result of the changes assisted in gaining support for the process.
There was a significant improvement in the delivery time. We leveraged this to earn confidence in the process.
How does the planning process compare prior to the changes and after?
The initial period was 40-60 days of job planning but this has reduced to an average of 30-35 days.
What would you have done differently?
The team would have moved faster in the educational aspect to adopt the changes needed.
It would also have been useful if the team was more serious with the difficult changes. Additionally, the team should have been more creative in championing the adoption of SAP.
What can you tell those seeking to improve their work processes?
Adopting awareness, desire, knowledge, ability and reinforcement model (ADKAR) is essential since maintenance is team work.
They need to look at the process entirely to identify the specifics and not focus on the people.
They also have to analyze the difference between the present and potential future state.
Everyone needs to understand how their role contributes to the entire process and how critical their feedback is.
What makes the biggest difference?
Cross-functional representation is essential for unique perspectives and identifying the challenges.
What is the key takeaway?
Communication is key in change management and it is a cross-functional process.
Focus on the actions and find the best way to communicate to make the handoffs clear.
Zachary Yost Links:
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