Some successful implementations of Continuous Improvement (“CI”) use the approach known as Kaizen (#1). One of the core principles of Kaizen is self-reflection of processes, which is also known as “Feedback”. The purpose of CIP is the identification, reduction, and elimination of suboptimal processes in other words is to become Efficient. Becoming efficient is achieved through incremental steps or evolutionary change (#2) if you follow Kaizen.

The purpose of this article is to introduce how Availability WorkbenchTM (“AWB”) can be used to achieve each of the three Kaizen aspects of Continuous Improvement namely, Feedback, Efficiency and Evolutionary change. Firstly we begin with Feedback.

Feedback
The way it could be seen is Availability WorkbenchTM for the reliability engineer is like AutoCad is for designers and Arena is for process engineers. Availability WorkbenchTM is a simulation tool, this means you can build and run your plant over any time period and see what is going to happen. Simply put, it will give you feedback!

To achieve accurate feedback AWB uses a number of technologies. AWB uses Monte Carlo Simulation to model random events, widely accepted Weibull analysis to calculate parameters and Barringer’s Process Reliability (#3) for production parameters. Using AWB’s technologies, accurate availability feedback has been reported to within 0.2% of actuals.

Being flexible, AWB outputs can be tailored to individual needs.  AWB can be calibrated to corporate risk matrixes and financial methods. Using the build in report writing and interfacing tools, organizations have integrated to ERP’s and CMMS systems to allow these systems to identify issues as intended.

Efficiency
Identification of issues is the first step to becoming efficient. The next step is to reduce or eliminate the problem. Using the inbuilt result tools in AWB, the issue that is causing the most downtime, and/or costing the most can be easily identified.  “What if” can be played in AWB to aid in the decision to eliminate or reduce the effect of an issue. Redesigning, adjusting tactics or buying more spares can be assessed without spending a cent of capital.

Does capital need to be spent? As production effects and costs are known in the AWB project, not all improvements need to be done. Improvements can be selected to meet ongoing capital and operating budgets to ensure best incremental steps are taken. Also it’s the engaged idea from the floor that could get the most efficient change. AWB can be used to quickly justify the idea in a matter of minutes.

Evolutionary Change
What happens as things change? If something happens that was not previously known it can be prioritised with all other improvements to make sure that value to the business is maximized, thus ensuring continual evolutionary change.

By its nature Availability WorkbenchTM has the inbuilt tools and capability to achieve the three aspects of Kaizen, Feedback, Efficiency and Evolution to allow an organization to continuously improve.

Download your FREE 30 Day trial of Availability Workbench software here.

 References and Notes:
(#1) Kaizen became famous from Imai’s 1986 book Kaizen: The Key to Japan’s Competitive Success.
(#2) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Continual_improvement_process, accessed 14/01/2014
(#3) http://www.barringer1.com/pr.htm, accessed 15/01/2014

Note: Availability Workbench, AWB, AvSim, RCMCost, Reliability Workbench, RWB are trademarks owned by Isograph and for which ARMS Reliability are authorised resellers

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