Monday, March 06, 2017

Does Managing Your Machinery Grind Your Gears?

In a lot of businesses, it might seem like the machine is more important than the man or woman. If the machinery stops running, the business stops running. When you’re dealing with that kind of setup, whether it’s manufacturing, contracting, or even a business that relies primarily on driving, it feels like the machine aspect can hold you back too much. Well, it’s time to stop grinding your gears and get the wheels of some brilliant new practices spinning instead. 

Anticipate failure 

The easiest way to recognize how your machines are going to affect your productivity is by understanding the different ways in which they’re likely to fail. For most businesses, this means tracking overall equipment efficiency. You figure out how much planned downtime you suffer, then start tracking any after that. You use OOE metrics to track them in percentages, so even after you fix them, you keep data of how much time it cost you. That way, you see which failures are most likely, allowing you to put a priority on anticipating them and preparing for them in particular. 

Empower the team to empower the machine 

Of course, machines aren’t to blame for their failings. They need people to ensure they keep running well. One of the best practices you can do to make sure the human element is putting in the effort is by implementing autonomous maintenance. The machines don’t take care of themselves, but with some training, your team can be equipped to ensure they’re maintaining the equipment whenever downtime allows. 

Get the experts in 

You might not be able to teach your team absolutely everything they need to know about machines and their components. So, when there are problems they can’t handle, it’s the relationships you have with suppliers that can save you. Not just the original manufacturer of the equipment, but the subcontracted manufacturers they use for components like specific lathes and hydraulic hoses. But getting to know your manufacturer’s supplier, you have a much quicker access to the repairs and the replacements you need, along with the expertise that can point out issues that your team might miss. 

Make sure it’s kept safe 

There are plenty of threats besides regular maintenance failures and part breakages, too. For instance, you need to ensure you’re putting effort into protecting your investment by maintaining the area where your machinery is kept. Dust, moisture, heat, cold, they can all have their effects, so your storage needs to be an environment that you can keep clean and managed. Other threats to your equipment include theft, which can be solved not only by better securing the area. You should also look at an inventory system that relies on GPS trackers to ensure you always know the location of a vehicle or a piece of equipment. Every business has its challenges. You should feel lucky that one of your challenges in the equipment you’re using. They tend to have issues that are a lot easier to anticipate and fix. You just need the right contacts and the right practices in place.

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