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Sunday, November 29, 2009

SAP. An excellent system...at a cost!

I attended the SAP PM conference on the Gold Coast Australia mid November, and as usual found the content varied in quality, however I came away thinking that I had learned something from this event which has been running for over a decade.

The most interesting information was related to the advancements coming with the new SAP gui and the endless amount of add on tools that are being developed to complement SAP, many of which were presented at the conference.

The common feeling myself and some of my colleagues had after attending a presentation or visiting a vendor was, "That looks really great, but I expect it will cost too much". I then walked away disappointed in that any of these advances are not likely to be seen for some time as they have to be applied at a corperate level at significant cost.

I would like to here of any tips or tricks that utilise SAP PM' s standard functionality, that can be applied locally and only cost time?

Saturday, November 14, 2009

What standards do you accept in relation to safety?

I was lucky enough to be able to take some time out in Cairns this month, which is located in Tropical far North Queensland in Australia. (For non Aussies) Cairns is a base for a fleet of large boats that take people out to the Great Barrier Reef every day. I gotta say, if you get a chance to do this it is really worthwhile.

So what has this got to do with Safety?

I dont spend a lot of time around boats so it was interesting to me to watch the practices of the crew which do everything from run the boat through to serving the passengers. While standing on a large floating platform that had hand rails all round, I watched a crew member climb over the hand rail, stand on the side of the pontoon and time his jump onto another boat that was tied up but pitching badly. He then ran to the nearest handrail climbed rapidly up a verticle ladder, while the whole time the boat was pitching all over the place. A minute later he did exactly the same in reverse. Now I'm sure he had done this many times before, but the margin for error was enormous. If he had slipped while jumping he could very easily been squashed between two boats, or bashed his head on the side of the boat. Being a manager who has safety embedded in my brain, I should have questioned what he was doing, but been complacent in an environment I was not used to, I said nothing. ( Not so good)

Would we accept this behavior in industry? This sort of behavior at my work place would have started a safety inquisition, final warnings given and communication to the world. In hindsight I believe when this sort of behavior is accepted in any workplace, it is only time until the big disaster occurs. They really aren't looking after their own.

On the other hand the processes for ensuring all customers are accounted for at the end of the day are exceptional. All passengers sign on when boarding, and countersign when they enter the boat for the return journey. After that two crew members do an independent count to ensure all are on-board. What a great system, so why do they look after their customers so well?

For those Aussies, you may remember a few years back two Americans were left behind on a reef excursion and never found again.

It shouldn't take a disaster to ensure excellent safety system are in place. A culture of safety must be embedded in organisations.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

What does a good CMMS look like?

Your CMMS is your maintenance management database, and like any database, if the input is bad the output will also be bad. A well utilised and managed CMMS is an invaluable tool that should be in close alignment with Work Management system. What does a good CMMS look like?

A Fictional example.

In a great step forward from management an experienced Reliability Engineer was hired to help improve plant reliability. The first task for this Engineer was to determine the equipment that causing the biggest losses for the business. Having had a CMMS in use for a number of years this was the obvious place to start. The first place to look was the breakdown data and this was easy to locate as all breakdown work requests had been tagged in the CMMS. The breakdown crew had been trained well in the use of the CMMS and each breakdown had been coded appropriately, which made it easy work to pareto chronic losses. The next place to look was high cost areas, so a work order cost report was run which spilt the costs against the equipment hierarchy. Because the equipment hierarchy had been structure well and all relevant hours and materials had been booked against the correct area most of the time, a picture of high cost items was developed quickly. Matching the chronic losses and costly repairs over the last 12 months it was easy to find where the effort needed to be applied, so task briefs were raised so maintenance planners could begin planning some critical repairs and Engineering could prepare some capital submissions.

The planners developed a plan in the CMMS for the repairs by estimating hours and purchasing materials, which were easy to find as they had all be catalogued and put in bills of materials. In a few instances the planning had already been done as the work had been done before, and the job had been saved as a task list in the CMMS. When all materials were avaliable for the task the scheduler reviewed his list of work orders from within the CMMS, checked his labor availability through the automated connection to the HR module, and then matched the labor to the task that would be completed in the following week. In the following week, all task were completed as they had been planned so well, the planner closed off all the tasks in the CMMS and this data was now captured for reporting. At the end of the week a PM compliance measure of 100% was reported, and planning accuracy was spot on. The capital work was still in the approval stage, but at least all the maintenance work was completed on time and to budget.

Is this how it works at your workplace?