By Jim Black, CIRAS
With increasing capital investment in equipment, most companies are forced to reduce downtime to obtain maximum capacity from the equipment they have. Would your company profit from a 63 percent reduction in downtime cost per unit within six months? This paper addresses how Frigidaire Company obtained results of this magnitude through team processes.
When Frigidaire Company embarked on training employees for teams, part of the facilitative leadership training included the SIPOC process developed by Tennessee Associates International in Alcoa, Tenn. SIPOC is an acronym for Suppliers Inputting to a Process which Outputs to Customers.
As manufacturing services manager at the Frigidaire Plant in Jefferson, I decided to form a team to improve maintenance services using the SIPOC process. The team included Doug Wortman - maintenance engineer, John Reineman - 1st shift maintenance facilitator, Rene Holsapple - 2nd shift maintenance facilitator, Chuck Woods - 3rd shift maintenance facilitator, and myself as the SIPOC team facilitator.
After identifying the customers of maintenance, meetings were scheduled for the team to interview these customers to identify their expectations of maintenance and determine what measures they wanted to use to gauge maintenance performance. These expectations were grouped into categories including:
Action plans, including what had to be done and by whom, were developed to satisfy each group of expectations. Here are a few examples of the types of actions taken:
Other outputs of the SIPOC team process included development of a Maintenance Mission Statement, definition of priority codes for maintenance work orders and implementation of a Failure Modes and Effects Analysis process.
Failure Modes and Effects Analysis (sample form available) puts the focus on how equipment might fail and the effects that would be observed to help diagnose the cause of a failure rather than the effect. Corrective action plans are prepared to assure completion of tasks to prevent recurrence of that cause of failure.
Results obtained at Jefferson
Over the next 16-month period, with everyone focusing on customer measures, the following improvements were generated for Work Orders (WOs), downtime and overtime:
The cost measures reflect an interesting shift in focus. At the time the SIPOC Team was formed, we had tight overtime controls. When we shifted the paradigm from "minimize overtime cost" to "minimize total maintenance cost," we were able to reduce downtime cost $0.120 while only increasing overtime cost $0.014, i.e. an 857 percent return on the added overtime cost.
Additional efforts at Jefferson included establishing:
Second SIPOC team
Later, as plant engineering manager at the Frigidaire Plant in Webster City, I was asked by Dan Brown, plant manager, to apply a similar approach to improving maintenance services. I formed a team which included Ron Felt - process improvement engineer, Dave Petron - plant engineer, Don Snyder - maintenance engineer, Randy Tempel - 1st shift maintenance facilitator, and myself as the SIPOC team facilitator. After developing our Maintenance Mission Statement, we proceeded with the SIPOC process.
This time, however, we started by flowcharting the process from problem identification to work order generation to assignment and completion of work. Meetings were then held with customers to determine their expectations and measures of maintenance effectiveness. These expectations were numbered and grouped into categories including:
Process discussions were held on how each numbered expectation could be addressed. As the Work Order process was improved, the numbered customer expectations were posted to the improved flow chart to show at which stage of the process each expectation could be met. After presenting the team's report to its customers, regular meetings were established to review charts showing performance to the customer measures.
Results obtained at Webster City
After six months, the following results were obtained for Preventive Maintenance (PMs) orders, Work Orders (WOs), and downtime:
Project management methods were applied to shutdown planning. Projects desired by maintenance customers were collected and analyzed for work hour content by maintenance craft. Projects were then posted to the Excel spreadsheet by priority, craftspeople assigned, and the hours for each craftsperson by day scheduled. This made it possible to track the completion of each project (Project Planner Sheetsample form available), including project specifications and part requirements. The Craftsman Planner Sheet (sample form available) permitted all projects assigned to a specific craftsperson to be posted by day to identify any overlapping (excess) scheduling or open time available.
Another improvement was the implementation of the Oil Leak Identification and Repair History (sample form available) process by Don Snyder, maintenance engineer, in the Plastics Department. The process utilized a two-part tag - one part to be wired to the machine to show the location of the leak and the other part sent to maintenance to initiate a work order. Over a four-month period, 95 percent of leaks identified were repaired. In addition to reduction in the number and magnitude of leaks, the process improved communication between Plastics and Maintenance Departments.
The first step in implementing change is to raise expectations acceptance of present levels of downtime or quality is not good enough. Once the opportunities for improvement have been identified, those expected to participate in the continuous improvement process must be trained in the processes to be utilized. Training should include theory and application. Once trained, the teams need time to meet to implement their new processes. Support and follow-up are necessary to answer questions, demonstrate the importance of their efforts, and keep the team focused on tasks that will contribute to improving measures valued by their customers.
Application of Deming's 14 points to maintenance
In the context of Deming's 14 Points for Management, the following summarized how these maintenance efforts fit the Deming principles.
--W. Edwards Deming, Out of the Crisis, (Massachusetts Institute of Technology Center for Advanced Engineering Study), 1982, pp 23-96.
CIRAS News, Vol. 30, No. 1, Fall 1995