In any manufacturing organization, who spends the most time and knows the equipment better than anyone else? Is it Maintenance? Engineering? Area leaders? If you ask me, I would say the operators that run that particular piece of equipment. They are around the equipment 24/7, 365 days a year. Operators know how the equipment runs so they know when something isn’t quite right. They will know if there is a different noise, smell, or maybe an unusual vibration. They may not know exactly what is causing it or how to fix it, but they do know that it isn’t normal for that equipment. And if it isn’t normal for the equipment, chances are good that it is affecting one or more of the following: safety, quality, delivery, or cost. If you have someone that knows the equipment this well, why not utilize their full capabilities? Should we have our maintenance people doing general daily inspections? Should they be the ones checking and adding lubrication? Of course maintenance people have an important role to play, but I would encourage them to train the operators – the folks that know their equipment better than anyone else – to do the general daily inspections. Train the operators to do the lubrication of the equipment as well. Operators should be reporting to maintenance that there is a different smell, sound, a new pile of black dust that isn’t normally there, or that they have to add more lube than the SOP calls for. By training operators and giving them more responsibility for taking care of their equipment, you will accomplish a couple of things. Operations will take more pride and ownership in their equipment. They won’t have to fight the equipment all shift while meeting their production rates. They can inspect and identify […]
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