5 reasons discrete manufacturers struggle to maximize the use of assets
June 28, 2017
Yet again, the discrete manufacturing industry is under pressure. With increased competition and a more demanding customer base forcing many manufacturers to look for new ways to increase their bottom line, it’s no surprise asset life extension is a popular topic.
Manufacturers can enhance their success by creating a proactive asset management culture, taking a more sophisticated approach to maintenance that optimizes asset performance and value. This is crucial for businesses to ensure that they can meet demand and reduce production costs.
Below are 5 common scenarios found in many discrete manufacturing organizations where maximizing the use of assets is a difficulty.
1. Reactive maintenance
Reactive maintenance is characterized by poor equipment performance, unpredicted breakdowns and ongoing minor plant outages. The poor condition of the equipment results in quality defects and outages, which in turn leads to unexpected production losses and overspend of the maintenance budget. Together, these can cause deficits that run into millions.
2. No proactive maintenance
When very little or no proactive maintenance exists, a “fire fighting” maintenance regime results, whereby temporary repairs or “band-aid” solutions are regularly applied to keep the equipment running.
3. Limited planning and scheduling
When planning and scheduling is reactive, it is often the planned activities that get dropped from the daily work schedule. Proactive strategies seem to be of little value to an organization struggling to meet the pressure to keep the plant running. It is hard to move into “asset management” mode and accurate equipment history is often not available.
4. Maintenance vs production mentality
When maintenance and production teams aren’t working together – or, worse, are in conflict – then any impetus for positive change soon dries up. Maintenance personnel are blamed for failures, morale is low and staff are too busy fixing things to conduct any inspections or preventative maintenance.
5. Lack of support
To improve asset performance, you need the strong support of leadership and management teams in order to stop the fire fighting and target long-term sustainable asset management. The journey must start at the top of the organization.
Good leadership is critical to the team’s overall success. Your leader should be able to articulate the common sense of purpose, and unite all members of the team so that you are working towards this purpose. The asset management team should be seen as a force to be reckoned with, yet should remain approachable and open. All site employees should be aware of the team’s existence and know how to contact them with any ongoing plant issues or frustrations.
How to successfully maximize the use of assets
The goal in improving asset performance is simple. To enhance the overall operations of the plant or facility and improve business performance.
More specifically, there are three key success factors for any asset improvement program:
This involves tracking production losses and assets with high maintenance costs, and then finding ways to reduce those losses or high costs. Efforts should be focused on the largest and most critical opportunities.
Better manage the risk of your strategic objectives in the areas of Health, Safety and Environment (HSE), quality, production and reputation. Common tools to identify and reduce risk include:
• FMEA – Failure modes and effects analysis
• FMECA – Failure modes, effects and criticality analysis
• VAA – Vulnerability assessment and analysis
• RCM – Reliability centered maintenance
• RBD – Reliability block diagram
Life cycle asset management
Studies show that as much as 95% of the total life cycle cost (LCC) of an asset is determined before it is put into use. With this in mind, the Reliability Engineer (if you have someone in this role) should be involved in the design and installation stages for new assets and modification of existing assets.
The discrete manufacturing series
Our series focuses on five common problems discrete manufacturers are currently facing, and how to solve them, including case study examples of where discrete manufacturers have implemented our solutions and seen success.