What Constitutes World-Class Reliability and Maintenance? (part 5)

Christer Idhammar

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In this column, I continue discussing the systems and practices that indicate to me that a mill is "world class."

To evaluate how far your mill has to go to achieve this designation, I would suggest reading this column with a group of operations and maintenance employees that includes both management and craftspeople.

On a scale of zero to ten, rate your mill's use of the following systems and practices, with ten meaning that you are so good that it would probably not pay off to do more improvements in this area. A five indicates that you feel you do a good job, while a zero means that your performance is a disaster.

Many readers of this column have e-mailed me with questions about how many evaluation points there will ultimately be in this series of articles. There could be no end to how long this list might become, but I do, however, intend to keep it at 20 points. I am also very encouraged to hear that so many mills are using this list to do a self-analysis of their maintenance performance; one day I hope to receive those results.

Many other questions that I have received concerned a typical evaluation average. Perhaps this question is coming up because you find that your mill's ratings are low. We have done over 250 similar evaluations in mills worldwide and the average in most mills is between 4 and 5. Best mills rank above 6, and very few are above 7.

Hopefully, this gives you some encouragement. If you rated yourselves above 6, you are either very good, or you might be overly optimistic or unaware of your actual performance. Remember that we demanded no fewer than 50% craftspeople to participate in the evaluations that resulted in the above averages. If only management does the evaluation, ratings tend to be higher.

14. Safety standards are very high. Without having enough statistical data to make this a proven fact, I am convinced that there is a strong relationship between good maintenance practices and a mill's safety performance.

The average OIR (OSHA Incident Rate = incidents per 200,000 working hours) for the U.S. pulp and paper industry is about 8.5, though below 2 is considered good. Even given the fact that OIR reporting disciplines differ between mills, a mill with a low rating is doing something different than the average mill. Three things they do better are maintenance prevention, preventive maintenance, and planning and scheduling.

15. Front-line supervision supervises many crafts (see point 4 in the January P&P maintenance column). A good organization needs good supervisors. However, the role and management style of a supervisor must change with the skill level of their craftspeople. To be effective, systems and procedures must be instituted to support the supervisor and the team of craftspeople.

If your mill's craftspeople have a high level of skills, they do not need detailed technical instruction. Instead, they need support in the form of priorities, planning, and scheduling. Both craftspeople and supervisors must realize that people skills are more important than technical skills.
As a result, your mill will see good teamwork, motivated people, and high working morale. People will also have more time to work on problem solving and to eliminate sources of failure.

16. Individual training plans are developed and used. As a result of a crafts skills analysis, your mill will have individual training plans for each craftsperson and supervisor. Your training is then very focused and cost-effective. You measure training by increased skill levels, not by the number of training hours. In addition, your mill very rarely lacks the skills to do a proficient job.

17. Root cause failure analysis. Your mill has established a reliability group as task forces or as a separate function. You know which problems you should work on, by priority, and you are continuously designing out problems. Key people are trained in FMEA (Failure Mode and Effect Analysis) methodologies and are using these skills to solve operations, as well as equipment, problems.

In a bigger maintenance organization, you have a separate reliability group. Because problems are a combination of equipment, operations, people, and other factors, this group might not report to operations or maintenance, but to the mill manager or independent engineering manager.

As a result, your mill has continuously fewer problems. You do not discuss increasing your preventive maintenance efforts, but instead you decrease (optimize) predictive maintenance.

Source: IDCON