Stop Reacting and Start Preventing: Improving from Preventive Maintenance to Total Productive Maintenance at PGC

October 11, 2019

Chaos occurs when the maintenance team goes into the firefighting mode, running to fix a broken machine in the middle of a production run.   We are finding that the best way to move away from this kind of reactive maintenance is to work towards a preventive maintenance approach—focusing on fixing a machine before it breaks, rather than scrambling to fix it after.

PGC is an asset-intensive organization currently in the process of transforming maintenance operations to improve asset performance, eliminate waste, and manage risk.   Continuous improvement programs underway are created to drive increased productivity through data driven decisions.  We are developing the maintenance analytics needed to make informed business decisions, reduce costly downtime and track the health of mission critical assets.

Continuous improvement success does not occur in one big step.   Instead, there is a starting point that involves creating a stable asset base, which leads to more advanced preventive and predictive solutions.

Standardizing Best Practices

We are standardizing organizational processes to achieve quality and reliability increases, while decreasing variation and cost.  Standardizing work processes through checklists, for example, ensures everyone performs the same job the same way every time.

Using software, we can store and attach procedures, error logs, manuals, permits, licenses, photos, images, diagrams, and schematics to the asset record.   This lets our technicians and engineers access important information when they need it most, speeding up troubleshooting and work order processing times.   It’s hard to manage an asset through its entire lifecycle if a good portion of its history is stored in the memory of a technician. That technician could leave for a different job, retire, or simply forget some details.

With our new software, each asset has its own unique record that details the PM schedule, what repairs have been completed, parts used, labor hours spent etc.   Technicians can quickly access asset records, old work orders, previous repair information or replacement part histories to assist with troubleshooting the issue at hand.  Repair Parts Inventory is being better managed to gain better control over asset uptime.

PGC is working to automate maintenance work requests.   In the past, technicians would have received work requests via phone, sticky notes, or just by word of mouth. They were expected to remember what the issue is, where it is, which system it’s a part of, and who requested it.   Our new software automates this process to ensure nothing is forgotten.  The maintenance team can focus on the job at hand with fewer distractions.

Now, machine operators can log a problem as soon as they spot it.   For example, if someone notices that a machine is making a weird noise they can log it immediately. This makes it faster to diagnose the problem and repair the machine before it breaks down.

We are excited about the combination of information about machine availability, asset costs, PM scheduling, access to historical information.    We are setting up scheduled maintenance, standardized practices and automated task lists for upcoming maintenance.

By analyzing asset failures, downtime, resource utilization, and spending patterns, we can implement changes that will add value or reduce risk.  The data also gives better visibility on where to focus our maintenance efforts and help identify chronic equipment problems.  The asset portfolio can be reviewed for long range predictive upgrades.