Defect Elimination with Doug Plucknette
Welcome Doug back to the podcast. Doug is the Author, President and Owner of Reliability Solutions Inc. Though briefly, give an introduction of yourself.
I started my reliability consultancy career back in 1999 after serving in several capacities at different organisations. Although currently semi-retired, I still respond to past clients who need help in streamlining their processes.
In this episode we covered:
- How do we start moving defect elimination from smaller to a little more advanced problems?
- How long does it take to move from simpler problems such as leaks to dealing with more advanced asset problems?
- How do you prioritise the problems to be worked on?
It must be interesting being able to choose only the jobs that you want to do, isn’t it?
It helps in being brutally honest with the clients which is necessary during defect elimination. While consulting for a client facing multiple problems, it is essential to step back and start with the simple basics. You can start from a single point such as repairing a leak or improving the team’s understanding of the process.
An approach in understanding the process is by reaching out to the most experienced team members to explain how it worked before the defects set in. The defects will be highlighted during such conversations. This exercise can be done across all the departments e.g Quality, Safety, Maintenance, and Purchasing. Sometimes it is hardly a leadership issue as it is a cultural one.
Sometimes an organisation wants to implement RCM but is too busy being reactive to its many problems.
The secret is to first identify a simple defect and completely deal with it. Make use of the team to identify the defects by letting them suggest what they believe is the problem. Amongst the team you will identify leaders who are willing to routinely work on the problems and are good at them. The leaders will inspire others to get involved.
How do you prioritise the problems to be worked on?
Again, you have to engage the team in pinpointing the problems they would like to first address. By involving them you will create motivation and synergy as they will see that their input is valued.
If the problem is about a leak from up, you have to start from the top and stop it before cleaning the bottom. When the team sees a change at the bottom it encourages them.
What people can see makes a big difference, doesn’t it?
l worked at a plant where we decided with the cleaning team to weigh the rubbish after cleaning. We tracked and posted the results after every rectification made. The result was tremendous.
For instance, fixing air leaks can save an organisation’s energy consumption and tons of money.
Once you repair the leaks you will notice a difference in:
- EHS reportable leakage incidences
- Improved OEE
- Improved worker engagement
How do we start moving defect elimination from smaller to a little more advanced problems?
After involving the team in defect identification and finding solutions, bring In OEE. However, start by measuring OEE at the asset level but not at the line level. Identify the asset that is really struggling on the line and pinpoint why it is struggling. Here is where tools such as RCA, RCM, statistical process control and kaizen are used.
How long does it take to move from simpler problems such as leaks to dealing with more advanced asset problems?
It can take a long time because being reactive does not immediately go away. Good people management skills are required to recognize those involved in making the changes. The recognitions need to be public.
Measure with OEE to determine how much reactive maintenance is happening. Also measure the adherence to scheduled PMs and PDMs. This tracking is under the control of the operations manager and not the maintenance manager.
PM compliance is the operations manager’s role because they own the equipment.
Even when a part of the team is dealing with a breakdown, the others can utilise the time to perform PMs on other equipment. Always look for windows of opportunities to conduct PMs such as during changeovers,
The operations and maintenance managers need to meet in identifying these windows to conduct PM.
How can one get a work order system to do some basic planning of activities?
Its about getting the different parts of the system to work together. Different tools should also be streamlined to work together.
That’s when you apply defect elimination right?
Especially when different parts of the system and the tools fail to communicate. For instance, you can find a plant facing a challenge in tying a document to an asset in order to trend it on their CMMS. Such is a defect that needs to be rectified.
Some organisations collect data but fail to trend it to recognize whether there is an improvement or regression
They may fail to recognize the changes because they may be tracking it month by month and not on a daily basis.
The most significant side of defect elimination seems to be engineering. How does it apply to new equipment design and installation, storage of spares etc?
When working electronics and controls you need the drawings to be accurate. Otherwise you need to find the defects in the process to achieve accurate drawings and eliminate them. Defect elimination is more essential than any other goal in the process. Create goals for defect elimination.
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