A Business problem that we are currently experiencing is that we must annually as teams perform an ÃÂEquipment Improvement ProjectÃÂ. The purpose of these teams is twofold. The first purpose of the Equipment Improvement Project is to refresher training to reinforce Total Process Reliability philosophies, techniques and practices. The second purpose of the Equipment Improvement Project is to follow prescribed process in returning the equipment to like new condition and maintaining it in that manner.
No matter which piece of equipment is selected, we are able to accomplish the conceptual training portion of our Projects. However, the second portion of our projects do not always meet their desired intent if the equipment selected is something that is easy to do rather than the piece of equipment that would add the most value back to our process if returned to a like new state. An example of this is the choice of equipment that is not critical to the process and a new unit could be purchased for less than what it costs to bring it to like new condition.
Additionally, we have from experience found that selecting the best candidate improved moral within the group of personnel that operate and maintain the equipment, as well as, improved reliability and value added to the process.
The need to improve the selection process drove us come up with a selection process to identify the best Equipment Improvement Project Candidate. The first thing change that took place was to allow operations people input into the selection process. Typically, management would select the candidates without input form operations and maintenance personnel. Personnel would then bring their list of candidates to the process team for review using criteria that would identify the best candidate.
The next step was to follow a triage process similar to many risk management processes. We found that by assigning a number associated to the four categories of safety, environmental, value and resources that we wanted to measure. It was very easy to select the best candidate.
After implementing the use of this selection method, we have had many successful projects that have brought our operations personnel to buy-in to the process, as well as, increase equipment reliability and environmental regulation compliance related to equipment breakdowns.
Figure 1The following questionnaire (figure 2) was created, and the data gathered used to measure the implementation and identify areas for improvements.
Figure 2Equipment Improvement Team Equipment Selection Questionnaire1.Does the triage of equipment add value to the selection of equipment for improvement?a.Yesb.No2.Was the triage selection process better than selecting equipment without a triage process?a.Yesb.No3.Do you feel more candidate equipment where considered than in the past?a.More Than beforeb.About the samec.Less than before4.Do you feel that safety concerns should be a primary consideration when selecting equipment?a.Yesb.No5.Do you feel that environmental concerns should be a secondary consideration in selection of equipment?a.Yesb.No6.Do you feel that improvements, which provide great improvements in overall operating costs, should be considered before safety or environmental concerns?a.Yesb.No7.If you were to reorganize the priority of our triage, what priority would you consider for the following? Assign a number of 1-4 from highest to lowesta.Safety __________b.Environmental __________c.Value __________d.Resources __________Figure 3 (cont.)8.Which of the following factors were most influential in your decision to provide a candidate for consideration?a.Personal preferenceb.Economic benefitsc.Equipment reliability benefits to the process teamd.Compliance with regulatory agency requirements9.Do you feel that management will support your teamÃÂs equipment selection?a.Yesb.No10.After initial Equipment selection process changes have uncovered what you believe is a better candidate would you be more or less likely to bring this to the attention of your team and management?a.More Than beforeb.About the samec.Less than beforeAnalysis of the survey provided some very interesting information. The biggest discovery was that most of the operations people felt that they where not consulted in the selection of equipment for improvements previous to the triage selection process. Secondly, most of felt that equipment improvement efforts did not have much value since the best candidates where not always selected.
Other points of interest where identified through measures implemented on equipment reliability after selection process included: Mean time between failure (MTBF), Overall Equipment Effectiveness (OEE), the number of defects and counter measures completed on time and follow-up audits results.
The greatest improvement and probably the hardest to measure the intangible reward that the operation personnel received when pieces of process equipment within their sphere where fairly selected and improvements made. We have seen a dramatic increase in ownership and pride concerning process equipment reliability within our operations personnelReferencesTPM: An Often Misunderstood Equipment Improvement Strategy MaintenanceTechnology (2004, March), Retrieved on February 10, 2005 from the WorldWide Web: http://www.mt-online.com/articles/04-00tpm2.cfmHow to Address Selection, Graduate Opportunities (2005, January), Retrieved onFebruary 10, 2005 from the World Wide Web:http://www.gradlink.edu.au/content/view/full/131Continuous Improvement, Sustainable Energy (2005, January), Retrieved onFebruary 10, 2005 from the World Wide Web: http://www.seav.vic.gov.au/advice/business/energy_management/continuous_improvement.asp