I Wish My Boss Were Here For This Training!

I hear the title quote "I wish my boss were here for this training" or "My boss needs to hear this" after almost ever training session we do. Sometimes it is a leadership or communication class other times it is reliability or manufacturing improvement sessions but the response is nearly the same every time.
I take this quote to mean at least two things:

Congratulations to eStudios!

We are proud to announce that our production studio, eStudios, has won a Telly Award for a humorous video they created about a company's biggest competitor - doing nothing. Staying complacent is is a dangerous and costly way of thinking, and in this slapstick infomercial, we highlight the absurdity of this commercial with the absurdity of actually doing nothing.

Why eLearning Is Your Best Choice

A lot of people are wondering about this new educational phenomenon called eLearning. As technology changes, so does the world, and it is only fitting that the way we teach and learn would evolve with those changes. If you think about it, education has changed very little over the past 5,000 years. A professor teaches a class of students face-to-face. They use books, they write things down on papers, and the teacher writes things on a chalkboard (or something similar), and, well...that is about it. There have been minor advances over the years, most of which have come since the dawn of the 20th century.

Strategies to Survive the Skills Gap

Use technology and human resources approaches to mitigate the effects of the retirement of trade professionals.


Two Things Engineers Consistently Get Wrong

As I think back over the years of site assessments, reliability implementation, and coaching of facilities and engineers globally there are two concepts that consistently show up as weak areas with engineers in manufacturing environments.
The first is true in-depth "root causes" problem solving (this is different than the "engineers jumping to conclusions process" that many employ) and the second is relying on technical solutions rather than culture change to solve problems. They both go hand in hand but are only completed at a precursory level by many.
Let's first look at "root causes" problem solving. (There are more post on this topic here) I have put the quotation marks around it to say that I don't believe that all problems need to be addressed at lowest root causes levels but the problem should be understood to that level so that the engineer truly comprehends the systemic and latent roots or drivers of the problem. These base roots many time rest in the culture of the facility and must be known to truly lower risk of reoccurrence. Secondly there is never just one root cause as there are multiple things that must have existed and instantaneously happen to allow unwanted events to occur hence the "s" on causes. This is why five why and fish bones, which are great for creating a culture of problem solving, are not the tools of serious engineering problem solving. You need to be able to see all of the causal factors that came together to create the event and determine all the possible ways the problem could be addressed to insure a solution is selected that lowers the risk of re-occurrence, creates the best business case, and is sustainable in the long term. Many times engineers go after technical solutions like redesign when the best business case is in changing the culture or behaviors that led to the event.
This brings us to the cultural change piece that is so often ignored as an option. We as engineers are trained to think about technical solutions and therefor many times ignore the people or cultural solutions. Some examples of these technical solutions are replacing a lubricated bearing with a sealed bearing to prevent lubrication based failures or changing adjustable components to fixed designs to prevent operator set up issues. These may be good solutions at the micro level but when the problem is macro and you have 100s of assets and components with these issues and the cost to implement can increase significantly. In these cases educating the work force on lubrication practices and set up requirements, and the included systems and processes can be lower total cost solutions. Behavior change is hard and can take much time and focus but the quantity of defects that can be eliminated or prevented is extensive. So as an example if a bearing failed due to over lubrication and we replace it with a sealed bearing and remove the fitting, a very technical solution, we have eliminated that one failure point but if we tackle lubrication and and the cultural issue of precision maintenance as a whole we can correct lubrication issues more broadly and solve many thousands of over lubrication issues across the facility. We can still bring in technical solutions like UE Systems Grease Caddy to help ease the cultural change process but now we are focusing on causes that lie lower in the casual chain and more greatly reducing risk to the facility as a whole.
So in conclusion, if you are thinking about your personal development plan or that of your engineers you may want to consider developing a strong problem solving methodology that looks both deep into the problem and broadly into the contributing factors. It should have business case thinking weaved through out. It also needs a solid process for execution and follow up. It does not have to be complicated but you will need to provide the training required and ensure that your engineers can execute. And, they must consider the behavior or cultural change solutions with the technical solutions to the problems your facility faces. This will have substantial returns on your effort if you stay the course. Reach out to me if you want to hear the success stories others are having in this area. sisenhour@eruditioLLC.com

What Is A Flipped Classroom?

The flipped classroom is a what is known in education as a pedagogical model in which the typical lecture and homework elements of a course are reversed. Short video lectures are viewed by students at home or work before the face to face class session, while in-class time is devoted to application exercises, projects work, or group discussions.
The video lecture or elearning is often seen as the key ingredient in the flipped approach.
These lectures being either created by the instructor and posted online or selected from an online repository like our Sustaining Skills Video Series.
The notion of a flipped classroom draws on such concepts as active learning, student engagement, hybrid course design, and of course podcasting. The value of a flipped class is in the repurposing of class time into a workshop where students can inquire about lecture content, test their skills in applying knowledge, and interact with one another in hands-on activities. During class sessions, instructors function as coaches or advisers, encouraging students
in individual inquiry and collaborative effort.
In our situation we have seen where it lowers student frustration associated with first time application of knowledge and improves the ability of the student to apply concepts into their "real world" and specific situation thanks to in session face to face dialogue with the coach/instructor. This tool is used in both our Applied Learning Curriculum and Inspired Blended Learning Maintenance and Reliability Core Skills offerings.

Understanding Asset Related Criticality: Managing asset by criticality (Part 3)

Darrin Wikoff shares the final installment in his three part series on Asset Criticality.

Understanding Asset Related Risk: Part 2 What can be learned from the number?

Darrin Wikoff shares the second post in the series on criticality.
This is the point where most asset management processes go wrong. Many models in use today will set a criticality ranking based solely on the scoring range. For example, an asset which scores between 75 and 100 may be considered “critical”, while an asset that scores less than 25 may be “expendable”. This practice undermines the entire concept of criticality analysis. The organization might as well give each asset a number from 1 to 5 and call all things equal. This grouping of scores provides no meaningful data for establishing or revising asset management plans, nor does it delineate between “critical” assets to illustrate which assets are regulatory controlled, mission critical, or simply unreliable.
We need to recognize that all assets are not created equal. We also need to remember that the model we are trying to implement is an “analysis”, which by definition means to scrutinize or examine the data collected to gain knowledge for the purpose of making intelligent, data-driven decisions. The results of our analysis should not only identify those assets that are within the top 20%, but should also indicate the leading characteristic that makes each asset critical.
Using the Table 1 example, we might conclude that the “No. 12 Cooling Water Pump” is a critical asset as it falls within the top 20% guidelines, but the score of ‘80’ alone tells us nothing about how to manage this “critical” asset. Because we categorized the risk attributes, we are able to quickly identify that by reducing the consequences associated with a single-point-failure, through Single Minute Exchange of Die (SMED), ready service spares, or properly managed critical spares inventory, we can lower the criticality ranking, allowing Maintenance and Operations to focus their efforts on the truly unreliable, unpredictable assets.
The last post next week will talk about "managing assets by criticality"

Understanding Asset Related Risk: a three part series

In this weeks post Darrin Wikoff shares the first of of a series on criticality.
Although most asset management processes are based on managing risk, many organizations fail to fully understand the meaning behind an “asset criticality” ranking. Most asset management professionals will tell you that the “critical” assets have the greatest impact on the plant’s mission, be it production rate, quality of product produced, or cost per product produced. Acting under this mindset alone, most professionals overlook the single most important characteristic that makes each asset “critical” in the first place. Through proper construction of criticality analysis models, you will be able to illustrate what management plan enhancements must be made in order to effectively control or mitigated asset-related risks.

Precision Maintenance: Belts, Chains, and Sprockets

Belts, chains, and sprockets, chances are you have at least one if not all of these in your facility, and chances are you’re relying heavily on experience and judgment instead of quantitative inspection criteria. All too often the importance of proper inspection techniques and defined replacement criteria for these critical parts are overlooked. Don’t believe me? Just pull up some of your PM inspection procedure, discuss the topic at a tool box meeting, or observe someone performing the inspection, you might be surprised at the range of answers and opinions. If there isn’t a specific measurement or min/max criteria then you’re leaving the inspection up to chance. Another thing to consider is if these parts aren’t being installed properly in the first place you will undoubtedly see premature failures and reduced operational life, inspection criteria applies to installation practice requirements as well.
The good news is that you can start improving the quality of these inspections; all you need are a few basic low-cost tools Click Here and you will find a document with inspection criteria for these three parts to get you started. Improving your PM inspection procedure, putting the right tools in the right hands, and setting quantitative standards for your inspection is a very low-cost high-return activity that can start paying dividends today.

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