Maintenance Technology July 2017 - 48

FINAL THOUGHT

Good Processes
Enable Good Results

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

Wherever and
however they
occur, process
variations can
be expensive
and frustrating.

P

rocesses can be formal/informal, followed/
ignored, audited/uncontrolled, and so on.
The extent to which a standardized process
is followed is typically a good indicator
of how well an organization is doing. Hidden
operational costs accumulate quickly with increasing
process variation from such things as work management, document control, material management, and
root-cause analysis. This is not true just for reliability
and maintenance, but for any interaction of people,
process, and technology. I'll use my experience on a
recent trip to explain.
It began with a decision to fly on a major airline
that I had not used for some time. The troubling
issues I experienced piled up fast, starting with
check-in for my outbound flight. During the trip, I
tried to document as many problems as I could recall,
categorizing them into four areas: system malfunction, ineffective existing process, poor use of human
resources (people issues), and redundant activity/
time wasted. Here are several examples:

■

■

48 |

At the airport, despite having checked in online
and printed my boarding passes the day before,
I was told to go to an automated kiosk where I
had to enter the same information to start the
baggage-tagging process. Other travelers received
the same instructions. Unfortunately, nobody
was informed we had to visit the kiosks until we
reached the check-in counter. You can understand
the frustration of individuals running out of time
to catch their flights.
As it turned out, the person at the understaffed
check-in counter was sending customers to the
kiosks to buffer her growing line. It wasn't a good
strategy. The kiosks weren't properly performing
all functions, so they were sending customers back
to the harried counter employee. Soon, she was
dealing with two lines-the original one and one

MAINTENANCE TECHNOLOGY

returning from the kiosks. All the while she was
complaining that her end-of-shift replacement
hadn't arrived and she wasn't even supposed to be
on duty.
■ Luckily, there were three people on duty at the
baggage X-ray area when I arrived, and they
seemed to have plenty of time to chat among
themselves. Once they realized I was waiting to
drop off my bag, one of them strolled over and
attempted to hoist it onto the conveyor belt. I
use the word "attempted" because the gentleman
seemed to have difficulty lifting the <40-lb.
item. Instead, he had to slide the suitcase on the
conveyor, where it barely stayed in place.
In total, I documented 15 improvement opportunities. Fortunately, airlines have better processes
regarding aircraft maintenance. The Federal
Aviation Administration has regulations and
guidelines for standardized processes. They clearly
don't extend to check in.
So, how do my travel woes relate to your site's
reliability and maintenance efforts? When assessing
and implementing a reliability and maintainability
(R&M) process, the first step should be to create the
culture, including, among other things, a reliability
plan and goals/targets. (Best results come from
implementing several foundational elements first.)
The next step is to implement elements enabling
standardized work processes. This leads into steps
for optimizing and sustaining the effort. Then it's on
to application of R&M best practices and continual
improvement. Plant personnel should all be tied to
a RASIC (responsible, approve, support, inform,
consult) "roles and responsibilities" chart and/or
swim-lanes (diagrams of workflow).
In the end, stable R&M processes lead to multiple
benefits, among them: increased throughput,
reduced wastes and costs, improved safety, reduced
process variation, error reduction, higher employee
involvement, and easier training on and sustaining
of processes. People associated with the process,
though, must be capable and willing. You're only as
good as your processes allow. MT

Based in Knoxville, Klaus M. Blache is director of the
Reliability & Maintainability Center at the Univ. of
Tennessee, and a research professor in the College of
Engineering. Contact him at kblache@utk.edu.
JULY 2017



Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Maintenance Technology July 2017

Editorial
Uptime
On The Floor
Powering Auto Production
Following The North Star
Flying Inspections
Untangle Compressed Air Misconceptions
Change Your Lubrication Mindset
HMI-Design Essentials For Today's SCADA Systems
SAP: Tips and Tricks
Cybersecurity Best Practices
Bearing Storage
Interpreting IP Code
Noisy Pumps
Move From Time- to Condition-Based Lubrication
CMMS Energizes Maintenance Efforts
Products
Ad Index
Showcase
Final Thought
Maintenance Technology July 2017 - 1
Maintenance Technology July 2017 - Cover1
Maintenance Technology July 2017 - Cover2
Maintenance Technology July 2017 - 1
Maintenance Technology July 2017 - 2
Maintenance Technology July 2017 - 3
Maintenance Technology July 2017 - Editorial
Maintenance Technology July 2017 - 5
Maintenance Technology July 2017 - Uptime
Maintenance Technology July 2017 - 7
Maintenance Technology July 2017 - On The Floor
Maintenance Technology July 2017 - 9
Maintenance Technology July 2017 - Powering Auto Production
Maintenance Technology July 2017 - 11
Maintenance Technology July 2017 - 12
Maintenance Technology July 2017 - 13
Maintenance Technology July 2017 - 14
Maintenance Technology July 2017 - Following The North Star
Maintenance Technology July 2017 - 16
Maintenance Technology July 2017 - 17
Maintenance Technology July 2017 - Flying Inspections
Maintenance Technology July 2017 - 19
Maintenance Technology July 2017 - 20
Maintenance Technology July 2017 - 21
Maintenance Technology July 2017 - Untangle Compressed Air Misconceptions
Maintenance Technology July 2017 - 23
Maintenance Technology July 2017 - 24
Maintenance Technology July 2017 - Change Your Lubrication Mindset
Maintenance Technology July 2017 - 26
Maintenance Technology July 2017 - HMI-Design Essentials For Today's SCADA Systems
Maintenance Technology July 2017 - 28
Maintenance Technology July 2017 - 29
Maintenance Technology July 2017 - SAP: Tips and Tricks
Maintenance Technology July 2017 - Cybersecurity Best Practices
Maintenance Technology July 2017 - Bearing Storage
Maintenance Technology July 2017 - Interpreting IP Code
Maintenance Technology July 2017 - Noisy Pumps
Maintenance Technology July 2017 - Move From Time- to Condition-Based Lubrication
Maintenance Technology July 2017 - 36
Maintenance Technology July 2017 - 37
Maintenance Technology July 2017 - 38
Maintenance Technology July 2017 - CMMS Energizes Maintenance Efforts
Maintenance Technology July 2017 - 40
Maintenance Technology July 2017 - 41
Maintenance Technology July 2017 - Products
Maintenance Technology July 2017 - 43
Maintenance Technology July 2017 - 44
Maintenance Technology July 2017 - 45
Maintenance Technology July 2017 - Ad Index
Maintenance Technology July 2017 - Showcase
Maintenance Technology July 2017 - Final Thought
Maintenance Technology July 2017 - Cover3
Maintenance Technology July 2017 - Cover4
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