REAP ALL THE REWARDS of lean equipment reliability


Lean is about eliminating waste from any business process, not just manufacturing. However, many organisations that implement a Lean Thinking approach to production often pass over the opportunity to improve equipment reliability and the bottom line. Paul Rodgers, training practice manager at MCP Consulting Group, offers 10 top tips for taking full advantage of this opportunity. 

It is simply not possible to create an effective, lean, production process without a robust plan to maintain equipment to the highest possible standards and performance. Yet, our work with certain clients, over the years, has shown this is exactly what occurred!

Paul Rodgers advises revisiting your maintenance plan – look at the risk to the business and make sure you revise and adapt it as you go.

Layout 1The chart above shows the factors you need to consider in order to achieve the highest possible equipment reliability


No.1. Use reliable Overall Equipment Effectiveness (OEE) measures: You will be able to understand equipment performance and develop solutions using the experience of those closest to the process. OEE is calculated by multiplying the three OEE factors: Availability x Performance x Quality = OEE

  • Availability: takes into account all events that halt planned production long enough to track a reason
  • Performance: takes into account anything that causes the process to run at less than maximum speed
  • Quality: takes into account parts that do not meet quality standards, including parts that need rework.

Remember, OEE Quality is similar to First Pass Yield, in that it defines ‘Good Parts’ as parts that successfully pass through the manufacturing process the first time without needing rework.

No.2. Monitor performance: by the hour, day and week, align and calibrate the performance measures and how they are achieved

No.3. Develop a loss management capture process: record and identify where production time is lost through breakdowns, changeovers and stoppages. A best practice Loss Management Business Process should consist of the following four major steps:

#1. Capture loss event: Capture the event and note data related to start time, end time and perform preliminary activities like volumes estimation, loss categorisation, and high-level root cause analysis.

#2. Validate, Quantify & Classify events: compare the maximum production potential for the day against the actual production achieved. To create an action list, it is necessary to evaluate the loss in terms of financial & commercial, volume impact and any cost in performing maintenance re-work operations.

#3. Investigate the loss event: It is not required to perform root cause analysis for all loss events. Considering your valuable resources and time spent, work out the loss events that have higher impact on production volumes. Assets must define certain criteria where root cause analysis is required for example:

  • Frequent failure of same equipment or repeated loss due to the same reason
  • Failure due to asset integrity issues like high corrosion, loss containment, ESD
  • Loss greater than 5% of maximum production potential

The owner should ensure Root Cause Analysis (RCA) is performed and all action points are implemented to mitigate the loss and prevent any future occurrence.

#4. Review and Action: Feed this information into your improvement programme and develop strategies to reduce the time lost on any future occurrence.

No.4. Revisit your maintenance plan: Look at the risk to the business and make sure you revise and adapt it as you go

No.5. Spares and poor availability impact dramatically on production: Drive out the waste of waiting by having the right spares available

No.6. Root Cause Analysis: Breakdowns happen, so when they do, analyse, improve and develop countermeasures. Root Cause Analysis (RCA) is a technique that helps answer the question of why the problem occurred in the first place. It seeks to identify the origin of a problem, using a specific set of steps, using associated tools, so that you can:

a) Determine what happened
b) Determine why it happened
c) Find out what to do to reduce the likelihood that it will happen again
d) Document the causes, actions and share

RCA assumes that systems and event are interrelated. Ensure the lessons learned are shared within the production area. Toyota has the concept of the 100-year fix. Make sure you do not get repeat occurrences!

No.7. Repair the things that you know are not working correctly or not in perfect condition: Ensure you have a robust and well-planned maintenance routine in place

No.8. Standard Operating Procedure (SOP): A standard operating procedure, or SOP, is a set of step by step detailed written instructions created to help operators carry out routine operations. SOPs aim to achieve efficiency, quality output and uniformity of performance

No.9. Operator Asset Care (OAC): Operators are the best people to look after and improve machinery and equipment assets. OAC is a proven approach to achieving effective machinery and equipment as it is part of Continuous Improvement. Develop the skills and competencies of operators, so that they carry out basic maintenance and set-ups. Assign craftsmen to be responsible for specific specialist pieces of equipment. Operator Asset Care is an essential part of the ‘world class’ approach to maximise the effectiveness of operational assets and processes. It not only addresses maintenance but all aspects of manufacturing operations.

No.10. Finally, develop a culture of continuous improvement in Equipment Reliability: Harness the knowledge and experience of your operators and production specialists

MCP’s range of Continuous Improvement (CI) programmes help drive constant and sustained improvements. These include: Lean Practitioner, Problem Solving using RCA, OEE and Total Productive Maintenance (TPM) including OAC.

Publisher: Process and Control Dec/Jan 2017