Efficient Plant October 2017 - 49
column | uptime
HO ISN'T FAMILIAR
with the proverb "A penny
saved is a penny earned?"
It seeks to convey the idea that what's
not spent today can be saved and eventually increase in value in the future.
How does this relate to an efficient
Improvements in equipment or process efficiency are often seen as "saving
pennies" that can lead to lower costs per
unit produced and/or increased capacity,
and, ultimately, additional revenues. In
many plants, however, there's a tendency
to chase dollars while overlooking "pennies" left on the floor.
When businesses waste lots of
pennies, they can no longer afford to do
what really must be accomplished. Yet,
while lots of pennies turn into big dollars
over the long term, countless operations
Speaking of proverbs, consider
"Waste not, want not." It encourages the
wise use of what we have, including time,
money, and talent. Here, the term "want"
doesn't refer to a desire for something,
but rather the lack of something needed
to accomplish a goal. Let's look at this in
the context of production standards.
Production standards can be good
for business or, if not closely watched,
terrible. To be clear, a single standard
can be easily monitored, updated, or
eliminated when no longer relevant. But,
in many manufacturing processes, there
are several standards, with allowances
for machine production rates, quality
and scrap, and unplanned downtime.
Often created through well-intended industrial-engineering processes,
production standards may, over time,
become foundational, never changing,
time-proven, legacy principles. To chal-
lenge their validity is akin to questioning
if the sun rises in the east. The inertia of
these past production standards can be
nearly impossible to overcome.
Since a manufacturing process is
made up of many different smaller
processes, it's relatively easy to overlook
the many different production standards
that could be getting out of whack with
the reality of the day and needs of the
business. Once the standards are written
and approved, there's no ownership,
little oversight, and minimal improvement. Conversely, what if businesses
constantly monitor their production
standards, compare them to what's
actually happening, and then pursue
ways to improve them? Aha: Continuous
improvement in action!
All waste is not equal. When actual
amounts aren't reported, trended, or
analyzed, how can waste be reduced?
Simple: What gets measured gets
In the end, the proverbs "a penny
saved is a penny earned" and "waste
not, want not" point to the need to pay
attention to seemingly small percentages
and simple production standards in
meeting the bigger needs of customers
and the bottom-line balance sheet of the
Bob Williamson, CMRP, CPMM, and
member of the Institute of Asset
Management, is in his fourth decade
of focusing on the "people side"
of world-class maintenance and
reliability in plants and facilities
across North America. Contact him at
Despite the fact that lots of 'pennies'
can turn into big dollars for a plant,
they're often ignored.