Like the human body, our plant and mobile equipment will break down if it’s not looked after. It will tolerate some abuse but it won’t do it forever and it won’t do it if you don’t take care of it at a basic level. Basic care is all about taking care of our physical assets so they continue to do what we need them to do. To choose excellence it’s essential to master the basics. They keep you compliant with regulations and keep you operating. Beyond them you expand in the direction of excellence.
Our physical assets are needed, first and foremost, to deliver uptime for production and other operational uses like service delivery. With more uptime we have greater revenue generating potential. While operating, they must comply with various regulations regarding safety and environmental emissions, we’d also like them to be efficient so we don’t consume excessive amounts of energy (i.e.: fuel, electric power). Basic care is all about meeting these minimal standards and, if you choose, exceeding them.
Without a minimal maintenance program in place you can expect to suffer failures, unplanned outages and other disruptive events. As the old saying goes, “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure”. It is far cheaper to prevent a failure than to repair it. There are a variety of proactive maintenance tactics and technologies that can be used to prevent failures from occurring and to predict when failures will progress beyond tolerable limits. These buy us time to plan contingency action to minimize the consequences of those pending failures. There are also the options of redesigning the asset to eliminate the failures or doing nothing – let the asset run to failure. All of these are acceptable in the right circumstances.
Understanding the nature of failure mechanisms, their consequences and the available failure management tactics enables us to make intelligent decisions about the best course of action. Basic care includes making these decisions so you get reliable service from your assets. Methods for doing this in an orderly fashion are dealt with under the heading of Reliability.
In our next blog we’ll explore part five of our 10 part series “Uptime Insights: Building Excellence in Materials Management”
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