Overcoming System Defects: CMMS

Although many of the defects which are tackled by Action Teams are directly related to equipment here is a good example of a defect in process and information being eliminated.

Diesel Technology Company (DTC), a manufacturer of diesel injectors began the implementation of a Computerized Maintenance Management System (CMMS) in October of 1997. Like many companies DTC experienced their share of speed bumps on the road to implementation.

They had hardware and software compatibility issues. They had problems loading machine histories from the previous CMMS and they had system performance issues. Once they were able to get through these technical problems, the system was up and running.

Now it was time to get everyone off the gravel road and onto the paved highway. Utilization of the system by Skilled Trades was less than 30% in all business units at the end of the first quarter of implementation.

Very few work orders had corrective actions entered prior to closing the work order. On the few work orders that had corrective actions, there was no consideration to the quality of the information entered into the system. As an example, an electrician would go out to do a work order that simply read “motor smoking”. Through investigation, he would find that in fact there was not an electrical problem but a pulley had come loose. His corrective action, if he wrote one at all, would be “Machine Repair’s Job” indicating that a different craft would need to make the repair but with no indication of the problem. ( e.g. “motor O.K. Pulley on west side spindle came loose”.) This lack of information caused a tremendous amount of time to be wasted by all of the trades.

After a Manufacturing Game workshop an Action Team was formed consisting of a Machine Repairman, Tool & Die Maker, CMMS System Admin., and Suggestion Program Coordinator. The game showed this team the importance of having all parts of the “system” working together. They realized there would be real VALUE in having high quality corrective-action information entered into the CMMS and eliminating the wasted time on repair work.

The team decided to make the corrective action field of the CMMS work order a mandatory field. This would require the Skilled Trades to enter corrective action information prior to closing a work order. The team realized this change would cause more work (short term) for the Skilled Trades the Action Team needed to be sensitive to the concerns of those affected. They recognized that a system change was not enough, they need to change behaviors. The team held informational/training meetings with Skilled Trades to express the importance of the information. The Skilled Trades have been very receptive to putting in the corrective actions. While the quality of the information can still improve, DTC is now getting more of the information they need to be proactive.

Once the Action Team tackled the quality of the corrective action data, they realized that this same approach could work with other chronic data headaches. With support from the executive team, they have begun to tackle the use of miscellaneous and inappropriate asset numbers on work orders by again engaging the crafts people. As machine histories become more reliable, parts usage and appropriate replenishment, as well as, planned maintenance will become much easier.

The Action Team identified the CMMS as a valuable and powerful tool for everyone to use, but to get good information out you have to put good information in. Utilizing the system to its fullest was not just an hourly issue or just a salary issue, but everyone’s issue if they wanted to operate in a world class mode. The power of having Skilled Trades teach Skilled Trades, rather than a top down approach to overcoming an implementation obstacle has been tremendous.