8 Ways to Harvest More Reliability

EP Editorial Staff | September 15, 2015

Use these eight improvement tools to find and harvest the low-hanging reliability fruit in your operation.
Use these eight improvement tools to find and harvest the low-hanging reliability fruit in your operation.

Use these eight improvement tools to find and harvest the low-hanging reliability fruit in your operation.

When it comes to improvement opportunities, most facilities still have low-hanging fruit.

By Dr. Klaus M. Blache, Reliability & Maintainability Center, Univ. of Tennessee, Knoxville

I’ve visited more than 100 facilities in the past several years. What I noticed during this time is that each site, no matter how good its reliability efforts, still had at least two, if not more, of the eight improvement opportunities listed here. Do you still have some low-hanging fruit to harvest? The following strategies can all be implemented at minimal cost.

— MRO (maintenance/repair/operations) spare-parts inventory reduction of 10% to 50% is possible. MRO inventory and purchasing costs can be more than 50% of a company’s total maintenance budget.

— PM (preventive maintenance) Optimization of maintenance tasks in discrete and process manufacturing and data-centers typically results in:

  • 15% to 50% Use As Is
  • 15% to 30% Change to PdM
  • 10% to 50% Eliminate Current Tasks

— Predictive maintenance (PdM)-technology checks should be at least 25% of your total maintenance effort. Another 30% or more should be on doing the corrective fixes from the finds during the PdM checks. PdM performance is highly correlated to higher productivity.

— Use visual controls and mistake proofing to aid problem identification and solving. This helps identify abnormalities and promotes the correct actions that re-enforce standardized work/best practices.

— Use the basic tools of FMEA (failure mode and effects analysis), RCM (reliability-centered maintenance), RCA (root-cause analysis), 5S, and kaizen workshops. In my study of several hundred companies, these tools were credited as the driving factors in the organizations’ ability to capture reliability- and maintenance-related savings.

— Implement a precision-maintenance process that performs tasks with discipline and precision to a proven standard. This results in improved reliability, overall equipment effectiveness (OEE), and energy efficiency.

— Although most large companies may have more than 100 metrics, most groups/efforts can really make a difference on (maybe) three to five improvement items. Therefore, work on what matters, and make sure that these key performance indicators (KPIs) are properly aligned up and down the organization.

— Engage your workforce in reliability and maintainability change efforts. My studies have shown that engaging a workforce increases the likelihood of success by a factor of seven. MT

Klaus M. Blache is director of the Reliability & Maintainability Center (RMC) at the Univ. of Tennessee, Knoxville (UTK), and a research professor in the university’s College of Engineering. For more information, email kblache@utk.edu and/or visit rmc.utk.edu.


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