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  Avoid Break-Downs
even if you Don’t Have a
Maintenance Department

Traducir al Español


NM, DM, and R2B are the
Worst Kinds of Maintenance!

For the past few decades I have seen almost all kinds and styles of Maintenance. While I have been learning the “Best-Practices” from some of the best mentors in the World, I also have had the opportunity to be exposed to the “Worst-Practices,” which have also taught me a lot!
It is the later that I would like to share with you here, so if you identify them in your plant, you may start doing something about it…

  • NM – No Maintenance:

    • It happens when you start running the business, with reasonably good equipment and a shot of good luck too.
    • The plant keeps running until something fails.
    • Creativity and Need get together and sometimes in the absence of Knowledge or Experience “make a fix.”
    • The “fix” keeps the equipment running for a while until one of the enemies of Productivity: Deterioration makes it impossible to continue.
    • The only solution is for the most part “new equipment,” sturdier, of course so it can stand the rough operation.
    • The old equipment paid for itself anyway. Not too bad a deal.
    • And you “saved” a lot by not having any maintenance people or system in your budget.
    • You applied the NM technique and compromised an unknown amount of profits in the forms of: Downtime, defective products, risks and accidents, low morale, low equipment performance.

  • DM – Deficient Maintenance:

    • Since you acquired the equipment, you received some recommendations as to: lubricate, adjust, replace parts, etc.
    • You shop for the cheapest way to comply with those “burdensome” recommendations.
    • You get one or two people to become familiar with the needs of the equipment and equip them with a good pair of pliers, a screw-driver, a hammer, some wire, and a big roll of duct-tape. They also get an oil can and a grease gun.
    • They use the oil can and grease gun every day. It is “just lubrication,” so, knowledge is “practically unnecessary.”
    • Your “maintenance crew” is ready for everything that can happen to the equipment.
    • The machine breaks-down, the “technicians” fix it ASAP.
    • Slower than in the NM system described above, the machines begin deteriorating when DM is applied.
    • New investments are required, if the business has good profits, no problem, new machines are bought.

  • R2B – Run to Break-down

    • This is a historically enforced system “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”
    • When I started trying new ways in the Maintenance activity, I frequently heard this phrase that seems to still be present in the history books of Industry.
    • This is particularly true in groups and enterprises where the tradition has a stronger voice than reasoning and technology.
    • Some “conservative” feeling makes this no-intervention a Law.
    • Obviously you do have a sense of Maintenance, so when the machine breaks down it is time to do a repair.
    • You get ahold of some recognized technicians and get things done.
    • The machine is back to normal after a few hours or days.
    • Everything seems to be normal and in some cases even better.
    • This kind of maintenance though can be quite expensive.
    • If there is a Root Cause Analysis of the failure, it will tell you that the break-down could have been prevented with some timely attention to minor symptoms that seem to have been overlooked.
    • What could have been done? Education and Training!
    • Even if you have a plant with minimal requirements and incidences of problems, which of course does not justify the establishment of a formal Maintenance Department, there is something you can do to drastically reduce the occurrence of break-downs and their enormous cost.
    • Have a few knowledgeable operators trained in the basics of Autonomous Maintenance. The cost of their preparation will be minimal compared to what they can do to prevent damage to your equipment and the consequent break-downs.

The Cost of Break-Downs…

When we are used to break-downs, some costs go overlooked:

  • Equipment that loses efficiency may be generating one or more of the following:
    • Slow production
    • Reduced Quality of products
    • Risks to the safety of: Operators, Machines, Products, and Plant
    • Sensation of “abandonment” or “it is OK to have things not work correctly.”

  • Break-Downs can also cause delayed deliveries which in turn produce:
    • Slower revenue
    • Loss of customers
    • Poor image to public and employees

  • Costly repairs:
    • More damaged parts because of some overlooked symptoms that created unusual and unnecessary stress.
    • Longer down-time to repair.
    • More labor goes into fixing it.

We can help you create that important group or “Task Force” among your own team.
Click here to Send me an email…


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Enrique Mora
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Total Productive Maintenance and All Lean Strategies
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This page last updated on

21 August, 2011 16:09









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