Paper360 - January/February 2018 - 34
Reliability and Maintenance
The Operations and Maintenance Partnership
I would like to extend a large thank you to Larry
for the kind words and to the whole TAPPI team for
enhancing reliability and maintenance content for
TAPPI members. IDCON is looking forward to helping
the partnership grow and succeed. For you who don't
know IDCON, here is a very short introduction.
IDCON is a reliability and maintenance management
consulting firm focused on helping mills and corporations establish improved equipment reliability. We work
hands-on with mill people from corporate managers
to craftspeople. One week, we'll work with a corporate
team to establish best practices on reliability; the next
we'll work with a planner to plan, or a craftsperson to do
World-class performance can only be achieved in a reliability partnership work system.
This graphic shows the engineering, maintenance, and operations partnership, with key
responsibilities for reliability.
equipment inspection. We are a family-owned company
established by Christer Idhammar (my father) in 1972.
Many of you know Christer through his many articles,
conferences, and mill visits. He is still active in the
firm, but I have been leading the company since 2009.
To kick off the leadership series, I would like to touch
on the partnership between operations and maintenance in our mills. I think the partnership is crucial
to achieve reliable production.
In my experience, it is common to find the relationship to be adversarial, instead of a close partnership.
Operations often see themselves as a "customer" of
maintenance, and maintenance therefore becomes
a service provider. This relationship is not always
established in the organizational structure-yet it is
embedded in the culture. In a customer/service provider relationship it would be obvious that operations
would be responsible for the cost. However, it is common to see maintenance responsible for the cost even
though operations is the "client" asking for service. A
non-paying client can create tension and animosity
between the departments and build walls rather than
create a partnership.
A customer/service provider relationship also fosters
emotionally-based priorities for maintenance work.
When a customer wants something, the service supplier typically says "yes, sir." Work orders are therefore
not always critically evaluated as to what is the most
important work to execute for the mill as a whole.
Operations tends to focus on short-term production
goals while maintenance looks at the long-term equipment reliability for electrical, instrumentation, and
While operations are experts in the manufacturing
process, it is unusual to see an operations manager
with extensive operations and maintenance skills.
A customer/service provider relationship will therefore create unreliable equipment since the "customer"
doesn't know what the equipment truly needs. It is not
uncommon to see lubricators being pulled off to do