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Lean Equipment Reliability Tips to Make Organization Profitable

Profitable Business Organization

The most common goal of all the manufacturing units is to increase the production and reduce the costs. Lean implementation enables the organizations focus on the continuous improvement by consistently reducing the waste at every stage in every possible manner that is accepted to workforce as an organizational culture. It is almost impossible to go for lean production system without having the robust plan for maintaining equipment’s as per the industry best standards.

Importance of Equipment Reliability for Lean- ERM Benefits:

The high level equipment reliability reduces maintenance costs, minimizes the costs associated with frequent downtime, and ensures that products are not made outside of defined specifications. Although everyone understands the importance of equipment reliability but the required and made changes in equipment reliability program are often ignored. Equipment reliability is not limited just to the concerns for equipment’s, fixtures, machines and tools but it involves the technical, operation, and management aspects also ranging from equipment’s’ specifications to a daily operation & maintenance program. Without having a sustainable equipment reliability program, any manufacturing unit can’t sustain the expected performance standards. The equipment reliability and maintenance (ERM) is integral part of Lean programming, and the top ten benefits of equipment reliability for Lean are:

  • Plant reliability
  • System safety
  • Cost saving
  • Quick availability of parts
  • Prevents draining of financial resources
  • Equipment reliability improves efficiencies
  • Improves confidence of maintenance staff
  • Improves retention of maintenance crew
  • Reduces injury risk
  • Surety for on the time delivery

Relation between Lean and Equipment Reliability:

‘Elimination of waste’ is at the core of Lean methodology. Lean is more about getting the right resources at right place at right time to make the right products in the best possible manner for the interest of customers and organization.

Lean builds quality and reliability reduces the maintenance issues because the Lean organization moves from reactive to proactive maintenance.Lean uses Kanban (pull-system) to build on-demand product and reliability brings in condition-based maintenance as the response to demand in the line of measured target values.Reliability supports Lean process through a strategic lifecycle asset management that improves ‘Overall Equipment Effectiveness (OEE)’. Lean and equipment reliability share the numbers of core processes:

  • Standardized work/processes
  • Focus on autonomous/ operator maintenance
  • Continuous improvement
  • Waste reduction
  • Data-based decision making

How to Improve Lean Equipment Reliability – Fifteen Tips:

If the equipment assets are not reliable, the availability suffers and we tend to use the equipment at slower speed resulting in reduced throughput. When the equipment’s are down to be repaired, you spend more on part and labor. Equipment reliability management unleashes the peak production potential of equipment assets. Is it easy to improve Lean equipment reliability? Following fifteen tips may help you great for improving equipment reliability for Lean production:

  • Use the best OEE measureless, Overall Equipment Effectiveness, is calculated by multiplying three factors: Availability x Performance x Quality. Availability accounts the events halting the planned production to detect the reason. Performance accounts the causes responsible to run the equipment’s at lower than the maximum speed. Quality accounts the parts that don’t meet the quality standards and the parts that need to be replaced.
  • Monitor the performance.Set and calibrate the performance metrics on the basis of hours, days and weeks in the line of workplace conditions.
  • Develop a management process to assess the loss.Develop a system that could identify and record the data to represent a big picture of where the production time was lost through changeovers, stoppages and breakdowns. The commonly followed practices for Loss Management Business Process are:
  • Capture loss event for volume estimation, loss categorization, and root cause analysis.
  • Validate, quantify and classify the events to develop an action plan for evaluation of loss in terms of product volume impact, maintenance re-work operations cost and commercial loss.
  • Investigate the loss event with focus on considering the valuable resources and time spent. It gives you fair idea about frequent failure of same equipment, repeated loss because of same reason, failure because of asset integrity issues like loss containment, high corrosion, ESD. Each loss greater than 5% of maximum production potential is recorded.
  • Review to act promptly to feed the gathered information for planning the improvement program and strategies to reduce the loss.
  • Analyze the maintenance plan to look at probable risk to the business and revise it as per new requirements.
  • Check for the spares’ poor availability that impacts on production dramatically. Eliminate the waste of waiting by assuring the quick availability of spares.
  • Root Cause Analysis (RCA) helps to counter down the loss and waste possibilities with new improvement measures. RCA technique helps to know the primary reason at specific origin for the problem. It delivers insights to: Determine what happened; Determine why it happened; Find out what to be done to reduce the likelihood of same problem in future; document the causes, actions taken and sharing to update other stakeholders.
  • Repair the equipment’s that are not fit according to changed requirements or are not working properly; however, to accomplish this task, you will have to have the robust maintenance routine plan.
  • Standard Operating Procedure (SOP), a set of written instructions, helps the operators carry out day to day routine operations with care. It is aimed to achieve maximum efficiency and quality output with uniform performance.
  • Operator Asset Care (OAC) is a holistic approach to have the best possible machinery and equipment as the part of Continuous Improvement plan. You will have to develop the required skills and competencies of machinery and equipment users/ operators, so that, they could carry out the basic maintenance at their own. Responsibilities for the specific daily set ups and maintenance can be fixed.
  • Infuse the culture of continuous improvement in Equipment Reliability program by harnessing the experience and regularly updated knowledge of operators and work floor managers.

Follow the following 5S principles:

  • Sort (eliminate that is not needed in a work area)
  • Set in Order (organize)
  • Shine (clean and inspect the equipment/machinery and work place )
  • Standardize (Fix the standards for performing)
  • Sustain (ensure that everyone follows the standards)

Concluding Note:

Autonomous maintenance, focused improvement, early equipment management, training and education, safety followers everyone, healthy environment are the key pillars of Lean equipment reliability program. The involvement of an experienced Lean consultant hired from Lean consulting company drives your organization on the right track for achieving the maximum gains with available resources through strategic road-map structured just for your organization.

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