Efficient Plant June 2018 - 38

Answers to questions
facing today's reliability
& maintenance
professionals

department | on the floor

Maintenance Q
And the A
Butterfly

Why is standardized
work in maintenance so
important?

Dr. Klaus M. Blache
Univ. of Tennessee Reliability
& Maintainability Center
(RMC)

The Lorenz butterfly
model demonstrates how
sensitive chaotic systems
are to even minor shifts
in direction, leading to
unpredictable outcomes.
Without standardized work
processes, your reliability
and maintenance efforts
can demonstrate the same
unpredictability.

38

| EFFICIENTPLANTMAG.COM

Maintenance professionals pride
themselves on being able to do
a job without direction. They are the
experts in machinery and equipment
repair, so what's the concern? As I say
often, "It's all related."
Some of you may remember the
1990 movie "Havana," in which
Robert Redford states, "a butterfly can
flutter its wings over a flower in China
and cause a hurricane in the Caribbean." That statement suggests that, if a
weather system is in perfect balance, a
slight flutter can decide direction.
Although memorable and poetic, scientists know that the butterfly
example, involving such a small air

movement, is just bad physics. On a
more comparative scale, this starts to
make more sense. For example, if a
large boulder is perfectly balanced on
top of a mountain, throwing a rock at
it can decide the direction of fall.
Mathematician Edward Lorenz
developed a model in the 1960s that,
when mapped, looked like a butterfly.
Lorenz found that the resulting shapes
were extremely sensitive to initial
conditions (minor change in starting
point). Minor shifts in any direction mapped a completely different
butterfly. This mystery of the butterfly
effect evolved to Chaos Theory, which
studies the behavior of very sensitive
dynamic systems. Because of the sensitivity to these very small differences,
it's extremely difficult to predict the
outcome of these complex systems.
Chaos Theory, like reliability and
maintainability, is about getting ready
for the unexpected. If you don't follow
standardized work processes, it's
much more difficult to attain stability.
What presumed little things go on in
your maintenance department that
can have a "butterfly effect" on your
organization? Consider trades/technicians who:
 take verbal job requests that
should be formal work orders
 sometimes get to the job site and
discover that operations personnel
won't allow the machine to stop
 receive unclear maintenance tasking direction, so they improvise
 see most jobs prioritized as High
Priority or Safety as a way to get them
to the top of the list

JUNE 2018


http://www.EFFICIENTPLANTMAG.COM

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