Over the past 12 months we have conducted maintenance evaluations for many sites in both fixed and mobile plant. One of the common issues that we have found is people are trying to improve the performance of the maintenance by creating more documents and checklists. For example we have seen sites introducing checklists for mobile plant leaving the workshop to try and solve a problem where the equipment leaves the workshop after service and is not actually in an acceptable standard to go back into service. Some sites have introduced specific checklists to inspect the fire prevention equipment, even though there is already a checklist for this equipment as part of the normal servicing regime. They have done this to try and stop the many mobile equipment fires that they have been experiencing.
These additional checklists have failed to solve the problems and they create more administration for the teams. The biggest problem is they also create another huge task for the superintendent to try and get the checklists completed and drive compliance. On top of all their other tasks we have seen these additional administrative tasks cause some superintendents to be maxed out and stressed due to the huge workload. There is a simpler and more effective way to solve these problems…………
If there was a culture of equipment ownership and care these checklists would not have been introduced because the problems would not have arisen. It is a much easier task to create a culture of ownership and care and when this is done the workload on the superintendent actually drops.
How do you create a culture of ownership and care?
It must start with the leadership caring about the condition of the equipment, not just the fact that work orders get opened and closed. The leaders must care about the skills of the people doing the work and ask about the quality of the work that is completed. There must also be a daily discussion on quality, which is more powerful if it is led by the maintenance technicians themselves. Of course the creation of a culture is something that can be done in many ways but in the end quality must become visible to all and people must have an opportunity to learn on a daily basis.
Feel free to contact Bluefield if you want more examples of how we have been trying to help develop this culture within the industry. It is not a perfect process but we have had many good experiences where the sites have really taken it on and made great improvements.