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Work load Management ...from chaos to order

Simply by arranging the next day-defining on paper what I want to accomplish-I feel that I have a head start.

Mark McCormack, Founder and Chairman of International Management Group.

Author: V. Narayan

Location: 2.1.3 Petroleum Refinery

Background

In this refinery, I was responsible for the mechanical maintenance of the process plants and in charge of the mechanical workshops. The maintenance areas were aligned to the production sections, with a supervisor in charge of each area.

Overtime work had risen steadily due to the high level of breakdowns, and was running at about 15 % at the time of these events. Operations staff realized that those who shouted loudest got the attention of maintenance; the result was a high noise level. Maintenance craftsmen were constantly being moved from job to job, resulting in low productivity and quality. Equipment downtime was high as craftsmen were unable to complete many jobs in time. Morale was low, both in maintenance and in operations.

A colleague and I had recently attended an optimum maintenance course conducted by a then well-known authority, Dr. Howard Finley. We both came back from the course full of enthusiasm and charged with ideas. These were the days when the bath-tub curve was the only known reliability model, and my colleague was obsessed with being able to find the knee of the curve. I had other ideas. What we had learnt from Dr. Finley was that setting work priorities was the first order of business. I convinced my colleagues that we should tackle that quickly.

 
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