Efficient Plant January 2018 - 26
feature | voice from the field
GINA'S TOP 5 TIPS FOR EFFECTIVE RELIABILITY
Gina Kittle, program
manager for The Timken
Company's manufacturing advancement
program, Product and
Don't underestimate the
of basic tasks
and operatorbased maintenance.
Use the right
tool at the
the right predictive technology, TPM
RCM Principles, etc.
what they help
to create. From
technician to operator to supervision
should be part of
a huge experience seeing thousands of people
come together to improve maintenance and
reliability. It's amazing. I'm making bearings,
but you may work with someone who is making ice cream, or someone making insulation
or producing fruit or making pistachios. But
we all have the same issues."
Kittle takes the knowledge gleaned from
SMRP and uses it to develop best practices for
Timken. "I use the metrics definitions every
day," she said.
Kittle offers advice for all young engineers-
male and female. "As women, we have to protect our image a little more than men do," she
explained, "from little things like how we dress
to big things like being sure that our voice is
heard. I would advise any young engineer to
put your time and effort into making sure that
the information you have is correct. If you say
something, be sure you've done the research
and are certain this is the way to go. Once you
lose credibility, it's hard to get it back."
WOMEN IN ENGINEERING
STRIVING FOR EXCELLENCE
Kittle is aware that she is a woman in a
male-dominated profession, but she doesn't let
that drive her. "Especially in today's world, my
goal is to be known as a mechanical engineer
with the right credibility and the right certifications," she explained. "I want to be held up
on the merit of my 20-plus years of experience.
It shouldn't matter whether I'm a female. However, it's important to bring diversity to how
groups like SMRP interact."
Even with this positive attitude, she can't
ignore that diversity has not always come easy
in business, and particularly in manufacturing.
"It has been a struggle," she admitted. "When I
first started out in the mid-to-late 1990s, there
were contractors that didn't want to deal with
me. They would walk right by me and shake
my boss' hand even though I was in charge of
the project. There are times when women in
our field must overcome things like this, but at
the same time, you can't let it weigh you down."
With Timken, Kittle supports plants of all sizes. One may have 80 maintenance technicians,
and another may have six. Therefore, programs
that work in one facility may not succeed in
another. This requires creativity in developing
"When I go into the plants, I'm on the floor
troubleshooting," she said. "I also do a lot
of training on root-cause analysis and teach
about different methodologies. When I go
into a plant I'm first taken to the source of the
biggest headache. Then we develop a plan to
correct it." This problem-solving aspect is one
of her favorite parts of the job.
When she began working in the company's
Union, SC, plant 21 years ago, Kittle was introduced to one of her first mentors, Bob Williamson, CMRP, CPMM, and member of the
Institute of Asset Management. "Bob trained
Keep it simple. Don't
overcomplicate processes, especially
in the beginning. Keep it
simple for all
in front of all
us, and we began having pit-stop events using
TPM principals," Kittle said. "We dug a little
deeper than autonomous maintenance and
improved our overall PM with some robust
maintenance plans and procedures. We found
a significant amount of savings in decreasing
downtime. We used this program for many
years. Later, we automated the operator checklists but, for the most part, we stuck with the
five pillars of TPM (there are six now). I later
moved to Pulaski, TN, but the program was so
strong it sustained."
Kittle incorporates many manufacturing
best practices, but the key to what drives most
of her programs is effective metrics tracking.
"From a global perspective, we try to always
know exactly where we are by tracking three
main metrics categories," she said. "You can't
look at just cost, or just proactive maintenance,
or just PM compliance. You have to look at all
of them in a cross-functional way. Drawing
conclusions around the metrics is key for us. It
also lets us focus on where to spend the most
effort. Specific programs may work for one
plant, but not for another."
Kittle still incorporates some of the same
philosophies she learned from Williamson.
"I use a lot of the RCM philosophies, but I
try to bring it all together without calling it a
name," she explained. "Sometimes we just need
to get back to basics and use the principles
of TPM and allow the pillar of autonomous
maintenance to make a difference. There are so
many tools in the reliability toolbox. You have