A straightforward maintenance strategy yields improved plant performance
Changing plant mindset
As workflow processes change, so do individuals’ mindsets. The reliability team members have enjoyed seeing some of the traditional barriers within the company between operations and maintenance crumble as a growing sense of common purpose and cooperation develops.
Holmes described one of the changes: “Along with the reliability programs and some of the efforts related to how we monitor and look at our deficiency backlog, we’re also getting into AEM (asset effectiveness management). This method looks at the process units, what they have to make per our sales, and tracks their process downtime. We want to make sure that we’re not only looking at it from a predictive and preventive standpoint to see what’s causing downtime, but to also have those operating units telling us what their biggest pains are. In the past, maintenance was addressing things that they were seeing failing and having problems, but it wasn’t always the same issues or biggest problems that the process units felt they had. So there was a kind of disconnect there. With us transitioning and now focusing on AEM, in addition to all of our predictive and preventive efforts, we’re getting a better grasp on what needs to be addressed and handled to ensure that we have the manufacturing availability we need.”
Electrical reliability technician, Mike Chaney, has also seen positive effects as he works with operators. “Being in a sold-out state as we are, we get a two day window in some cases to find problems and get them fixed within that window,” he said. “If we can avoid downtime down the road—that’s big. Causing downtime right now is not a good thing. So if we can prevent that from happening, it saves the plant lots of money in the long run. Production sees what we’re finding using this technology. So when we say something to them, they’re not so quick to respond, ‘We aren’t going to do that.’ They’re more willing to say, ‘We’ll get this valve ready for you to pull out and then see what you’ve got.’ They know we’re saving them headaches. If we can keep things running, it makes their day nicer.”
When this whole program began, Holmes said that they had no good way to distinguish, track, or analyze reliability work performed in the plant. To remedy that, Monsanto created order codes to work within the SAP CMMS. In order to track labor and material costs to specific equipment, individual deficiency notifications are entered from any findings arising from the facilities preventive (PM) or predictive (PdM) maintenance reliability programs. Each issue identified during PM routes or PdM triggers will have a separate deficiency notification / work order created. This allows for predictive vs. reactive work cost analysis to be performed and KPI’s to be generated and tracked.
The code analysis data helps quantify planned versus reactive work. In turn, the system generates bad actor lists and provides for a dollar figure that indicates how much of a cost avoidance reliability program initiatives are providing. An average of 12 AMS deficiency orders are entered each month. With a cost avoidance of over $1,600 per work order, it correlates to over $200,000 saved in time and materials annually. However, Holmes points out that this is strictly an out-of-pocket cost avoidance savings and does not reflect increased income from gains in plant manufacturing availability.
One big effective family
There is more work to do within the plant, but Holmes and his plant management see the direction clearly. “The big hurdle that we have is that operations doesn’t always know what the reliability programs are doing,” he said. “So there’s a constant effort to share and communicate, not only with production but our other maintenance workforce. We continue to share what these guys are doing, their successes, findings, and training. That’s imperative as we try and grow the relationship. It’s very apparent to our upper management, so it’s one of our goals to keep that communication going to tie the three together: maintenance, production, and reliability as one big family.”
Peter Welander is a content manager for Control Engineering. email@example.com
- The technical elements of an effective maintenance program are not complicated.
- Procedural and cultural changes within a plant are critical to ongoing maintenance management success.
- Many tools are available to support such programs, they are not difficult to implement, and the payoff can be huge.
Search “HART plant” at www.controleng.com to read Plant of the Year stories from earlier years.
HART Plant of the Year Award—Celebrating ingenuity and innovation
The HART Plant of the Year Award is presented annually by the HART Communication Foundation to recognize people, companies, and plant sites around the world for their ingenuity and innovation in applying and using HART Communication. A HART Plant of the Year takes the capabilities of HART instruments beyond configuration and calibration, or uses real-time diagnostics and process variables of HART-enabled devices integrated with its control, information, and safety systems. Each is a powerful example of how to utilize HART Communications better, and to realize even greater benefits for their company. To nominate your plant, go to www.hartcomm.org.
Annual Salary Survey
After almost a decade of uncertainty, the confidence of plant floor managers is soaring. Even with a number of challenges and while implementing new technologies, there is a renewed sense of optimism among plant managers about their business and their future.
The respondents to the 2014 Plant Engineering Salary Survey come from throughout the U.S. and serve a variety of industries, but they are uniform in their optimism about manufacturing. This year’s survey found 79% consider manufacturing a secure career. That’s up from 75% in 2013 and significantly higher than the 63% figure when Plant Engineering first started asking that question a decade ago.