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Overti me Control

If you don't measure it, you don't manage it

Joseph Duran, Quality Management Guru

Author: Jim Wardhaugh

Location: 2.2.2 Large Complex Refinery in Asia


Controlling overtime is always a problem. The problem increases in importance when you are being benchmarked. You realize for the first time that the count is not just a headcount, but a count of all the maintenance man-hours being used. The benchmarking showed that maintenance was using too many man-hours and a part of the problem was poor overtime control.

We had tried the usual ploys of setting targets and banning overtime unless it was authorized by very senior managers. However the story telling skills of the supervisors did not find this hurdle much of a challenge and the overtime came down only marginally. See the first four years trend in Figure 32.1.

To say we were vexed would be to understate our feelings. We were supposed to be managing the plant and we could not even get a grip on overtime. It was time for serious action.

We had had significant success in the past by hitting relatively intractable problems with computer systems. The recipe had become almost standard:

  • • Computerize the business process.
  • • Collect facts.
  • • Make what was going on visible.
  • • Fine tune the system to encourage a better way of doing business.
  • • Embarrass into submission the people who were causing the problems.
  • • Gain improvements.
  • • Consolidate and institutionalize.

So this is what we did. As usual the prophets of doom in maintenance told us we were wasting our time. Production was the king and they had insatiable demands for overtime driven by their over-cautious approach

Overtime Control 241

Overtime Reduction Profile

Figure 32.1 Overtime Reduction Profile

Overview of Overtime and Callout System

Figure 32.2 Overview of Overtime and Callout System

to risks. In essence, they didn't take any. Maintenance had tried their hardest but they failed because everyone from the Plant Manager to the lowliest operator was against them. We listened, we heard, we sympathized, but we carried on.

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