Applying 5S series – (Part IV) Third S: Seiso – Shine

Clean places facilitate failure identificationSince the introductory post of the 5S series I have talked about the first two different steps of the methodology: the first S -get rid of all the things that are not necessary- and the second S -organize the place in the most efficient manner-. In this post I’m going to talk about the third step: Seiso – Shine.

This step is the one that people usually associate with 5S: a deep clean. However, it is not just about cleaning, it also involves taking measures to reduce the time spent in cleaning activities. The main idea is to systematically prevent the area from getting dirty by eliminating the sources of the dirt. Continue reading

Moving to 24-hours production schemes – 9 considerations for the transition (Part I)

24 hours productionGoing from one or two shifts to a three shift production schedule is good for the company, it means that we are increasing our production so we are selling more products. However, this is not an easy transition for our maintenance department and must be carefully planned to avoid negative effects on our equipment reliability.

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Applying 5S series – (Part III) Second S: Seiton – Set in order


Every item in its place and a place for each item

As I mentioned in the first introductory post, 5S is one of the best methodologies to organize our workspace. It has five steps. In the first one, we need to get rid of all the things that are not used at the location. Here, in the second one, I will tell you how to organize those things in an efficient manner.
In my case, I carried out steps 1 and 2 in parallel, which is a very common way to do it. Specifically, in this second step we apply the concept: “every item in its place and a (specific) place for each item”. Continue reading

Applying 5S series – (Part II) First S: Seiri -Sort

Interpl untidyIn my previous post I explained 5S methodology and began to discuss planning the implementation. As I mentioned previously, I will use an example to illustrate each of the five steps of the method. In this opportunity I am going to talk about the first S: Seiri or Sort as the English equivalent.

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Overall Equipment Efficiency: What is it? Why is it important?

Imagine that you are at the plant, all of the equipment is working, and production seems to flow without problems. That is a dream come true for a maintenance manager. Everything is working fine, right…
OEE IndicatorThe thing is that all equipment is running without stopping; but breakdowns and production stops are not the only factor that affects productivity. Think about a machine that produces something, and due to some problem it only works at 90% of its capacity. The machine is working continuously, but we are still losing 10% of production. In fact, in a 10-hour shift, losses are equivalent to the machine being stopped for one hour!
Similarly, if the equipment produces defective pieces, we get the same effect because each discarded piece should be reworked or replaced by a new one. At the end of the day, the time spent producing defective pieces is comparable to stopping the machine altogether for that same amount of time. Continue reading

Applying 5S series – (Part I) Introduction

Untidy Workshop

photo credit: Tudor Barker






Maintenance managers always want their employees to work efficiently, follow procedures, and comply with OH&E Standards. However, when the work environment is in poor conditions, workers do not feel compelled to follow the appropriate guidelines. In fact, an untidy, dirty, and unorganized working environment encourages employees to acquire bad working habits. Consequently, if we want to improve our personnel’s work ethic, we first need to evaluate whether the environment inspires people to work efficiently and correctly or if it does the exact opposite. If latter situation is presented, we need to make improvements before asking workers to change their habits. The best way to guide this improvement process is to implement 5S in the work environment.

5S is a methodology to clean, to improve, and keep the workplace in optimal conditions Continue reading

How to deal with chronic problems and emergencies (Part II)

In the fist part, I talked about problems in general and chronic problems. Now I’m going to discuss about the other type, the emergencies or acute problems.

Acute cases

codered emergency smAcute cases are more critical. We are unable to fix the equipment until we identify the cause of the problem. This is an extremely tense situation, especially in fast paced environments. Usually after the most common repairing options have failed, technicians tend to start replacing every component in the system, sometimes all of them at once. This is highly ineffective and only complicates more the situation. Consequently, the most important thing in these cases is to adopt a methodical approach even if it seems to be slower. This approach is called Fault isolation Process. Continue reading

How to deal with chronic problems and emergencies(Part I)

When equipment fails we need to repair them as soon as possible, especially in a fast paced environment where availability is a critical issue. emergency smallThe key to effectively solving technical problems is to quickly find the cause and take actions to fix it. However, this process is usually not as easy as it sounds.
Sometimes maintenance actions put the machine back on service even if the cause still there. In doing this, we are likely to have the same problem again in the near future. Other times the cause of the failure is not so evident, and the asset remains out of service because we are unable to find what is wrong.
Each of the cases above has its particularities and requires different maintenance approaches depending on the situation. Continue reading

Six key points to delegate effectively (Part II)


In my previous post I started talking about effective delegation. I described the first three aspects: politeness, present a reason, and describe the goal among the six point that, in my opinion, are key to successfully delegate tasks to our employees.

Let’s talk about the next three: setting deadlines, giving support and recognizing a good job. Continue reading

Six key points to delegate effectively (Part I)


The number one skill of great leaders is communication, which the leader uses in many ways. It is one of the most important talents needed by the leader to effectively delegate work to his collaborators (employees).
In my 15 years of service in the military (the first four in the Air Force Officer’s Academy), I had the opportunity to learn something about both giving orders and delegating tasks. There is quite a difference between these two even though they seem rather similar. While both have the ultimate goal of getting something done, delegating tasks leaves more room for creativity and synergy than simply giving orders.
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