When the breakdown/repair cycle becomes routine, you can bet money is being wasted. The psychology of manufacturing (if we can call it that) is very much overlooked.
Q: What if it was a personal affront to everyone in the plant, management, production and maintenance, for a machine to break down? Seriously. What if everyone viewed it as a personal failure when a machine failed unexpectedly? Do you think the necessary attention would be given to it? That might be revolutionary.
Of course, if too much time and effort is put into something, the cost will exceed the return, but if the necessary serious attention is given to an operating asset by EVERYONE, the next excellent idea that improves reliability could come from anyone.
“Ownership” is something we know to be beneficial in a manufacturing facility. We know that the more “personal” everyone feels toward the assets, the better they take care of them and the more creative they are about caring for them. When we feel that personal attachment of ownership, we are more forthcoming with our efforts and supportive of the efforts of others who share our valuation of the assets.
With this in mind I offer the following suggestion in order to tap into that inherent pride of ownership and personal attachment that many have to the company and assets of their occupation: LET EVERYONE SEE HOW UGLY IT IS!
Hang a sign on a machine that failed and shut your plant or process down. The sign should read,
This machine FAILED and shut our plant down:
Failed: August 30th 2011
Failed: May 4th 2015
Failed: January 19th 2017
Failed: August 11th 2018
And keep adding the dates. This way the bad actors become obvious to everyone, and even the MTBF will be obvious. The absence of a sign on a machine could then be as informative as the signs with dates.
If you can succeed in creating an ownership of reliability that cuts across department lines, the benefits could be enormous. Failures come from all directions: Operations, maintenance, engineering, management, procurement. Let everyone see the ugliness of it and encourage everyone to pull together to make it beautiful (or at least more attractive.)