272 – Operator Care: A Thought Out Approach with Cliff Williams
Welcome Cliff Williams back to the Podcast. Cliff is a principal advisor with People and Process as well as TMS Asset Management. The guest has also worked as an asset manager for many years.
In this episode we covered:
- What is operator care?
- Where should we use operator care and autonomous maintenance?
- What prerequisites are often needed to implement operator care?
What’s Cliff currently working on?
Presently we are leaning more towards asset management-trying to incorporate maintenance reliability into asset management.
What is operator care?
It implies that those who are operating any piece of the equipment are involved in reliability such that; they need to take care of the machine.
In fact, they are the closest to the machine enough to identify the issues and participate in finding the solutions.
It’s like turning car renters into owners, correct?
Yes. It is about breaking the barrier between the operators and maintenance. The operators need to accept new challenges involved in addressing some of the issues that affect the pieces of equipment in their custody.
However, it requires a lot of change management.
How does operator care differ from autonomous management or TPM?
Autonomous maintenance is part of the operating context but it succeeds well if it goes along with preventive maintenance. Operator care on the other hand, looks at changing the role of the operator to assist in maintaining a required operating level.
Operator care does not really change the culture of the organization whereas autonomous maintenance requires culture change.
Where should we use operator care and autonomous maintenance?
It largely depends on the environment;
Autonomous maintenance is best suited for places with a lot of interaction between the operator and the machine or the product. The team is often large in this case. Whereas operator care works in places with minimal or no interaction with the machine. The operation is often computerized such that they only operate a system.
What prerequisites are often needed to implement operator care?
- Change management: taking care of the people’s side of things.
- Have a clear understanding of the results you want
- Use the desired results to drive change.
Involves defining what we are going to measure, the impact on people. But you cannot do it without work management, Right?
Yes. People have to understand the expectations; anticipate how much will be done. Sell the idea of reporting issues that have to be worked on but also be clear that work management is key. Communicate that:
- We are going to evaluate the work to prioritize it or to find a better way to do it in combination with other orders.
- Manage the expectations
- Publish the schedule and make it visible.
What level of planning is needed?
It’s all about change management: you have to sell the idea (what are the desired outcomes and what is expected of the team?). Communicate well to avoid misleading information from other sources.
Anticipate areas you will experience resistance to the change and address them beforehand.
Some organizations simply put up names on a RACI chart and switch responsibilities but it doesn’t work like that, does it?
That way both autonomous maintenance and operator care will fail.
- Autonomous maintenance requires high level training: digging deeper into details of an asset.
- Operator care is more or less task specific training. But always communicate the expectations.
So it is not just the “what” but also the “how” and “why”?
Yes. The goals have to be clear to the team- if it’s about improving availability or throughput.
What similarities are there among organizations that have succeeded in operator care?
The culture is more engaged and collaborative as opposed to command and control. People are often willing to take on extra tasks.
The maintenance team is more involved in value adding projects since operators are capable of taking on technical tasks.
Anything else you want to share?
- Perhaps to reemphasize the need to communicate the why instead of just the what to the team.
- Training people to do what you expect is fundamental to the program.
Where do those who want to make a shift start?
- Evaluate the need for the program and understand it.
- Have the numbers you expect and reasons. It will help in telling whether you are succeeding.
Cliff Williams Links:
- Cliff Williams LinkedIn
- Book: People A Reliability Success Story by Cliff Williams
- TMS Asset Management
- People & Process
- Past Cliff episodes
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