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Raising the bar for better plant maintenance

Raising the bar for better plant maintenance
Raising the bar for better plant maintenance

Standardizing maintenance management programs is often difficult for companies, and requires an in-depth look at all processes and assets. However, according to Plant Services, standards give both employees and customers an outline for expected levels of quality and service.

It must be noted, though, that setting goals that are too loftycan also have the opposite effect, and employers may avoid these standards altogether if they feel they are unachievable. Likewise, if there is no incentive to maintain these standards – i.e. they are too low – managers can’t expect workers to adhere to them.

David Berger, a principal of Western Management Consultants, said that many buzz words have arisen in the manufacturing industry that imply there is a one-size-fits-all model of standardization, but this may not be the case.

“In my view, these expressions can cause considerable grief for maintainers and those who supervise them, depending on what is done with the information,” he wrote. “Although these may be dangerous strategies, so is setting local standards for each operation without regard for corporate, industry or global standards. Thus, when it comes to setting standards, it is all about balance.”

Berger used a simple example to demonstrate the importance of developing standards that are unique to one operation. When determining how long it should take to change a tire, he said, the worker must know the make and model of the vehicle, what kind of tire it is, the fasteners that are in place, what tools and facilities are at their disposal, the working conditions and several other factors.

When looked at from this point of view, changing the tire of an aging Ford minivan will be vastly different than how a pit crew changes the tire on Formula One race car, he said.

Such standardization can also greatly improve productivity. According to statistics from the Department of Labor, manufacturing productivity rose by more than 2 percent in the majority of the 19 countries that were surveyed.

Using maintenance management software may be one of the best ways to identify which areas of production need standardization and better quality management.

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