Machine & Equipment Issues Create All Kinds Of Waste!

Posted by on Feb 9, 2019 in Continuous Improvement, Efficiency, Lean, Process Improvement | 0 comments

Is your operation plagued with equipment issues that drive you crazy? Old, outdated, hard to maintain, constantly down, or making bad parts — equipment exhibiting these conditions can really drive a plant manager to drink!

Or maybe it’s an office copier that keeps jamming up or a computer system that has a mind of its own and decides to go down or won’t boot up.

Whether it’s on the plant floor or in the office, machine and equipment issues are a real source of frustration for anyone involved.

Equipment and machines are another of the 6M’s that create variation, defects, scrap, and rework — all non-value-added activities that add extra cost to your operation!

If equipment problems are an issue, here are some things you might want to consider:

  • Does your organization have a preventative maintenance program? If so, how good is it? Is it consistent and are maintenance records well documented? Do you have a handle on your spare parts inventory? Are you stocking the correct parts and do you have them available when you need them?
  • If you’re leasing a copy machine, how good is the service provided? Is the copier sized properly for the work load?
  • Do maintenance employees have the skills to make repairs properly? Are equipment and machine manuals available for employees and maintenance personnel?
  • How easy is it for employees to make changeovers? Ideally your most complex part number change should take less than ten minutes.
  • Is productivity affected because employees have to leave their workplace to search for tools, fixtures, gages, etc.? Do employees have everything they need to do their job properly without having to steal from other lines, cells, or work areas?
  • Are you experiencing repeat equipment failures? Do you know the reasons why?
  • Are all safety practices being adhered to and followed? Are all equipment safety devices working properly?
  • Do you give employees time at the end of the shift to clean up their work area?
  • Are employees required to return tools, fixtures, etc. to their proper location after use?
  • Have all employees been trained in the proper use of machinery and equipment?
  • Are all sensors and poke yoke devices working properly?
  • Is the machine a bottleneck in your operation? If so, what are you doing about it?
  • Does your organization calculate Overall Equipment Effectiveness (OEE)? OEE is the gold standard for improving manufacturing productivity and takes into account the sub components of Availability, Performance, and Quality. An OEE of 100% represents perfect production; manufacturing only good parts, as fast as possible, with no downtime.

Another issue I’ve encountered is when companies purchase new equipment way too big for the job. In the decision to buy, an assumption is made that they’ll be able to use the machine for potential new business which most often doesn’t materialize. Therefore waste occurs frequently due to slower production speeds, material handling issues, maintenance problems, and the need for different and more costly spare parts.

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