In the first post I talked about how the transition from one or two shifts to a 24 hour production scheme affects the way we usually manage our maintenance department. This kind of transition demands a change to a more methodological approach focused on preventive and proactive measures.
In the first points I talked in detail about the lack of time to perform definitive repairs, the increase in maintenance costs (and negotiate them during the planning stage of the new shift implementation), the use of predictive maintenance and taking advantage of every available time to perform maintenance tasks.
Following on from this topic, let’s see the next points:
5- Avoid having chronic problems
Before working 24 hours a day, maintenance people usually rely too much in the night shift so they make a quick fix expecting to have a more definite solution during the night. After the implementation of the 3rd shift the next time to do that would be during the following weekend (just imagine if the problem happens on Monday morning!).
Maintenance people need to learn how to effectively deal with problems finding their root cause. Otherwise we will face the same problem over and over until the weekend (or more if there is not enough time to fix it then). If your people are not used to working this way, you should start thinking about organizing training sessions or workshops to improve the situation.
6- Check if the people at night are able to cope with production problems
If your people worked on a rotating shift basis before the transition, you won’t have major problems. But if the people at night aren’t used to work assisting production lines you need to consider carefully the balance of experience among all shifts. It’s different spending the night fixing the problems from previous shifts and doing some preventive maintenance than attending to the problems that usually arise during production time. In this way, a supervisor’s experience is crucial and you need to pay attention to this issue.
7- Review your existing maintenance plans
If you already have a maintenance plan for the plant, it is necessary to carefully review it to optimize the tasks, eliminate the ones that are not necessary or maybe redefine frequencies. This is mainly because when there is plenty of time to do preventive maintenance, optimization is not the first consideration and there could be plenty of opportunities to improve our maintenance tasks. Of course you should base this process on your knowledge of your equipment and preventive maintenance methodologies, not just eliminate tasks because you can’t do them.
8- Take advantage of best maintenance practices and methodologies
Methodologies such as Reliability-Centered Maintenance (RCM) or even Total Productive Maintenance (TPM) can be helpful. I am not saying that you should start implementing TPM on top of the 3rd shift implementation, but, you can take elements from it to transfer some tasks to production staff if possible. RCM could be useful in some cases to optimize maintenance plans of complex equipment.
9- Create dedicated teams to perform preventive maintenance work during production time
This is very effective if you have assets that can be taken off from the production line, like transport carriers or tools that require calibration. In this way, you assure two things: Firstly, you perform preventive maintenance during production time and leave weekends for the rest of the equipment. Secondly, you keep this activity separate from daily production related problems. Otherwise, you have some people preforming preventive maintenance tasks, but they end up repairing something on the production line.
The same for work during the weekend. You need to separate preventive maintenance work from other tasks. With the new working scheme, there will be plenty of pending repair work from the week that has to be done during the weekend and this will leave the preventive work orders in second place, if you don’t do something to change the system.
If you take all these into consideration you will be better prepared for the transition. The important this is not to let the preventive maintenance system crash. You can monitor this by looking at indicators like preventive maintenance accomplishments (Scheduled Work Orders (WO) vs Completed ones). If you see that pending WOs start accumulating, this is a clear sign that you need to do something about it. Once your preventive maintenance system has collapsed, it is extremely difficult to start it up again.
Have you experienced this transition? How did you prepared your department to receive it? Do you have other key points or issues to add?