Yearly Archives: 2016

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This question came up during one of our most recent webinars and we thought it raised a very interesting point. Joel Smeby is an experienced reliability engineer who leads our North American engineering team and has helped implement reliability initiatives in many different organizations across a variety of industries. ???????????????????????????????????????????

Here is what Joel had to say about the role of a reliability team as it relates to calculating the cost of downtime:

Reliability is typically not directly responsible for production. But when you look at all of the different areas within an organization (purchasing, spare parts, warehouse, operations, maintenance, safety), Reliability is the one area that should stand across all of them.  The organizational structure may not necessarily be set up in that way, but in terms of being able to talk to people in maintenance, operations, or purchasing and leverage all of that information into a detailed analysis and then make decisions at that level – I think it is Reliability that needs to do that.

I recently worked on a site and went to the operations department to validate their cost of downtime and they weren’t able to give us a solid number. It changed from day to day or week to week and from an organizational perspective it’s very difficult to make decisions based on data when you haven’t defined that number.  As Reliability Engineers we need that downtime number to justify holding spare parts or performing preventive/predictive maintenance tasks.  If Operations has not defined that then I think that a Reliability Engineer is the perfect person to facilitate that discussion.  It can sometimes be a difficult conversation to have, especially if you’re gathering the information from people in upper management.  One strategy is to help people understand why you’re gathering that information and how it will be used.  Justifying maintenance and reliability decisions is all about balancing the cost of performing maintenance against the cost of downtime in order to get the lowest overall cost of ownership.  The managers who have a budget responsibility that includes both maintenance and operations will typically appreciate this approach in finding the lowest cost to the organization.

Some organizations are able to determine the cost of downtime as a $/hour.  This is done in the most basic sense by taking the annual profit that the equipment is responsible for and dividing by the number of hours the equipment runs each year (8,760 hours for continuous operation).  A deeper level of analysis may be required in more complex operations such as batch processes.

The traditional view of a maintenance strategy is that the level of effort put in to preventing a failure is dependent on the type and size of equipment.  The reliability based approach understands the cost of downtime, and therefore the equipment’s importance.  This enables the maintenance strategy to be optimized to the overall lowest cost for the organization.

Join the conversation in our reliability discussion group on LinkedIn

The Age of Renewables 

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Click to download

Landsvirkjun is Iceland’s largest producer of electricity, and one of the 10 largest renewable energy companies in Europe. Its power infrastructure is ranked among the World’s best and most reliable—an important competitive advantage that allows the company to attract and retain industrial clients like Alcoa, Rio Tinto Alcan and others. With its asset base both growing and aging, Landsvirkjun was outgrowing its existing asset management systems and needed a more robust approach to investment decision making and long-term planning.

In this case study from the December 2015 issue of Assets magazine, ARMS Reliability’s partner in Asset Investment Planning and Management—Copperleaf Technologies—describes the journey the company took to implement C55, and the benefits they’ve achieved.

READ CASE STUDY

ARMS Reliability and Copperleaf Technologies are partners in delivering asset intensive industries in the Australian and New Zealand Markets with cutting edge solutions in the area of Asset Investment Planning and Management (AIPM).  Under this partnership agreement, ARMS Reliability acts as the distributor for Copperleaf’s AIPM solution, C55, and provides implementation services and on-going support for the C55 product in the ANZ region. 

Click here for more information about Copperleaf and C55.

 

Puede usted cuantificar el impacto financiero de su programa de mantenimiento en su negocio? Incluye en sus cálculos no solamente los costos directos de mantenimiento, como mano de obra y repuestos, sino que también los costos de no hacer mantenimiento efectivo en sus equipos, como tiempo de paradas no planeadas, fallas de equipos y pérdidas de producción? calculate profit

La tarea de medir el impacto financiero de mantenimiento puede ser difícil pero sin embargo es una tarea de gran valor. Es el primer paso para encontrar maneras de mejorar su ganancias, en otras palabras el primer paso hacia una estrategia de mantenimiento optimizada.

En un estudio de mantenimiento realizado en 6 minas abiertas en Chile [1], se encontró que los costos de mantenimiento se aproximan a 44% de los costos de operar la mina. Esta es una cifra significativa, y resalta la relación entre mantenimiento y el desempeño financiero de una mina. Más recientemente en 2013, un estudio comparativo de minería [2] reportó que la productividad de los equipos mineros ha descendido 18% desde 2007, perdiendo 5% tan solo en el 2013. Además de la carga el tiempo de operación es un factor clave.

Pero entonces como saber si se están gastando muchos o muy pocos recursos en mantenimiento? Ciertamente, comparaciones con la industria proveen una guía. Las mejores prácticas de manufactura indican que el costo de mantenimiento debe ser menor al 10% de los costos totales de manufactura o menos de 3% los costos de reemplazo del equipo.

Mientras estas comparaciones pueden ser útiles, una manera más efectiva de responder la pregunta es mirar los síntomas de gastar muy poco o demasiado en mantenimiento. Al cabo que, las comparaciones no tienen en cuenta su historia partículas, ni las circunstancias operativas.

Los síntomas de gastar muy poco en mantenimiento incluyen:

  • Incremento en ‘costos de falla ocultos’ debido a pérdidas de producción
  • Riesgos y eventos de seguridad y medio ambiente
  • Daño a equipos
  • Daño a la reputación
  • Tiempos de espera de repuestos
  • Costos alto de logística de repuestos
  • Menor utilización de mano de obra
  • Demoras en envío de productos
  • Agotamiento de stock

Otros síntomas son explorados con mayor detalle en nuestra guía; 5 síntomas que indican que su estrategia de mantenimiento requiere una optimización.

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Figura 1

En la mayoría de los casos, son estos ‘costos de falla ocultos’ los que tienen el mayor impacto en el resultado final. Estos costos pueden ser varias veces más altos que el costo directo de mantenimiento causando paradas no anticipadas y significativas al negocio. Es por esto que es importante encontrar maneras para medir los efectos de no gastar lo suficiente en mantener los equipos.

Varias herramientas y software existen para ayudar a simular los escenarios que pueden ocurrir cuando un equipo se avería, falla o al contrario es mantenido de manera proactiva. Un análisis de modos de falla, efectos y criticidad (FMECA por sus siglas en inglés) es una metodología comprobada para evaluar todos los modos de falla probables para una pieza de equipo y sus consecuencias.

Extender un FMECA a Mantenimiento Centrado en Confiabilidad (RCM por sus siglas en inglés) provee una guía para escoger la tarea óptima de mantenimiento. Combinar RCM con un motor de simulación genera una respuesta veloz del valor de mantenimiento y el impacto financiero de no realizarlo.

Armado con información obtenida de estos análisis, usted obtendrá un dibujo claro de los costos óptimos de mantenimiento de un equipo en particular y puede usar esta data de diferentes maneras para reducir los costos de operación. Puede ser que existan planes de mantenimiento redundantes que pueden ser removidos, o un programa de mantenimiento que sea más eficiente y efectivo, o costos de oportunidad asociados a una frecuencia y duración de parada especifica. Quizás sea más beneficioso  reemplazar el equipo que continuar manteniéndolo.

La idea es optimizar el desempeño de la planta para obtener el máximo de producción, mientras que se minimiza los riesgos de falla de partes claves del equipo. Haga esto de manera correcta y los costos del negocio empezaran a descender.

Quiere seguir leyendo? Descargue nuestra guía: 5 síntomas que indican que su estrategia de mantenimiento requiere una optimización.

[1] Knights, P.F. and Oyanander, P (2005, Jun) “Best-in-class maintenance benchmarks in Chilean open pit mines”, The CIM Bulletin, p 93

[2] PwC (2013, Dec) “PwC’s Mining Intelligence and Benchmarking, Service Overview”,www.pwc.com.au

[3] http://www.maintenancebenchmarking.com/best_practice_maintenance.htm

Figura 1. En esta imagen se observa el módulo RCMCost™ de Isograph que es parte de su software Availability Workbench ™. Availability Workbench, Reliability Workbench, FaultTree+, Hazop+ y NAP son marcas registradas del software de Isograph. ARMS Reliability es ditribuidor autorizado, entrenador e implementador.

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“Quanto tempo deve tomar um ACR?”

Esta questão é semelhante a quanto comprimento tem um pedaço de corda?

Ouvi um gerente de uma planta que tem estipulado um período máximo de duas horas para um ACR a ser realizado em sua organização. Outro espera, pelo menos, uma “tormenta de idéias” de soluções antes da conclusão do primeiro dia – dentro das 6 ou 7 horas. Não é incomum para um projecto de relatório a ser exigido dentro das 48 horas do iniciado o ACR.

As três dicas a seguir irão ajudá-lo a cumprir os prazos e expectativas definidos quando se tem tempo curto. Uma das vantagens do método Apollo Análise Causa Raiz é que é um processo rápido, mas requer um controlador eficaz para obter os resultados desejados, ou seja, soluções eficazes.

Dica # 1 Você Defina o Problema

Imagine a RCA foi desencadeado por um incidente não planejado ou evento que cai em qualquer um dos segurança, meio ambiente, produção, qualidade, falha de equipamento ou categorias semelhantes. Você tem sido apontado como o facilitador por um superior / gestor que está respondendo ao evento particular. Seu superior / gestor pode compreender o mecanismo de disparo e pode muito bem indicar o título do problema.

Por exemplo, “laceração do braço superior”, “derramamento de amônia”, “atraso de produção” e assim por diante poderia ser a oferta que você faz para a equipe como o ponto de partida para a análise. Normalmente, como facilitador você vai ter reunido alguns dos “fatos” de relatórios dos primeiros que respondem, entrevistas, folhas de dados, fotos e assim por diante. Assim, um bom primeiro passo é elaborar uma declaração definição do problema, incluindo a relevância refletida pelas conseqüências ou impactos. A equipe, então, tem um ponto de partida para começar a análise, ainda que a declaração do problema pode mudar à medida que mais detalhes sejam fornecidos.

Idealmente, você já terá criado um arquivo no RealityCharting™ ea tabela de Definição do Problema pode ser projetada em uma tela ou até mesmo na parede clara onde seu mapeamento será feito com as notas Post-It™. Informações dos membros da equipe deveriam ter sido introduzidas e podem ser confirmadas rapidamente neste display. Você pode até mostrar o formato do Relatório de Incidente e focar na opção Aviso de Isenção que você selecionou deliberadamente: Finalidade: Para evitar a recorrência, não colocar a culpa.

Este trabalho preparatório poderia salvar pelo menos 20 minutos de tempo dos membros da equipe e permitir um lançamento imediato para a fase de análise.

Importante: Salve-se horas de re-trabalho e embaraço potencial salvando o arquivo, assim que este primeiro processo esteja concluído, se você não tiver feito isso, e, posteriormente, em uma base regular. Manter alguma forma de controle de versão para que a evolução do quadro nos dias seguintes podem ser rastreados, se necessário.

Se você está particularmente, com bons recursos, o desenvolvimento gráfico pode ser gravado no software simultaneamente, como cópia dura é criada no espaço da parede. Um pequeno grupo pode optar por criar o gráfico diretamente através do software e um meio de projeção decente.

Dica # 2 Direcione o Análise

É fundamental que a sua iniciativa na elaboração da definição do problema não seja considerado pelos membros da equipe como desautorizando eles. A etapa de análise em que todos têm a oportunidade de contribuir deve garantir que eles sentem que têm a “propriedade” do problema.

Para reforçar isso, é aconselhável escolher uma sequência de abordar cada membro, normalmente da esquerda para a direita ou vice-versa, dependendo dos assentos. Isto estabelece a exigência de que uma pessoa esteja falando cada turno, por outro lado, que toda e qualquer declaração serão documentadas e em terceiro lugar, que cada pessoa tem a igualdade de oportunidades. A sua gravação rápida e exata de cada pedaço de informação irá fornecer a disciplina necessária para minimizar a conversa fiada que pode perder tempo porque distrai foco. Quando você tem uma série de “sem comentários” dos membros da equipe, porque o processo tenha esgotado o seu conhecimento imediato dos acontecimentos, inicie a criação do gráfico.

Vale a pena lembrar a equipe que cada item de informação que foi gravado e postado na área de estacionamento, pode não aparecer em sua forma original no gráfico ou não aparecer jamais, em alguns casos. Porque a recolha de informação é uma rede ampla para capturar o máximo de conhecimento sobre o que aconteceu, quando e porquê, não haverá foco particular. Mas porque eles são provenientes de pessoas com experiência e perícia ou conhecimento íntimo de eventos e circunstâncias, eles têm algum valor. O valor exacto irá ser determinada pelo ponto onde a informação senta-se na lógica causa e efeito que começa no problema e está ligada pelas relações “causado por”.

Importante: O texto da Causa deve ser escrito em LETRAS MAIÚSCULAS. Vai ser mais fácil de ler/decifrar para a equipe no momento e talvez a partir de fotografias do gráfico mais tarde. Da mesma forma usando maiúsculas no próprio software significa que a projeção do gráfico é mais eficaz e a impressão de várias vistas é reforçada.

Dica # 3 O “Como e Se” de Criar um Gráfico da Realidade

Muitos proponentes exploram o entendimento existente do evento, capturando tantas causas ação como seja possível. Estas podem chegar através de um processo de 5 PORQUÊS, por exemplo, que se inicia no Efeito Primário.

Planta Parou (Problema ou Efeito Primário)

Por quê? Bomba de Alimentação Não Bombeia

Por quê? Acoplamento Quebrado

Por quê? Rolamento do Motor Danificados

Por quê? Pista de Rolamento Colapsada

Por quê? Fadiga

O método Apollo RCA requer o uso da expressão “causado por?” Para conectar as relações causa e efeito. Compreender que deve haver pelo menos uma ação e uma condição ajuda a revelar as causas “escondidas” e, especialmente, as causas de condição que não vêm à mente inicialmente.

Para apoiar esta expressão e o essencial “porquê”, é aconselhável perguntar “como”. Isto pode ser utilizado inicialmente pelo membro mais imparcial de sua equipe que tem sido comprometido especificamente por causa de seu/sua falta de associação com o problema e pode sinceramente fazer as perguntas supostamente “tolas”. Invariavelmente estas perguntas geram mais causas ou um arranjo mais preciso das causas existentes. A pergunta “Como é que isso acontece exatamente?” Pode conduzir a equipe para tomar os “passos de bebê” necessários. Isso também muitas vezes expõe diferenças entre “especialistas” e a resolução destas diferenças é sempre esclarecedor.

O facilitador precisa estar ciente da necessidade de suavemente “desafiar” a compreensão da equipe assegurando ao mesmo tempo a aplicação de rigor suficiente para gerar a melhor representação de relações causais. Isso pode ser feito de uma maneira neutra, utilizando a proposição “SE”.

Dado que todo efeito requer pelo menos duas causas, então você pode lidar com a equipe com a proposição: “Se ‘umo existe’ e ‘três existe’ (duas condições), em seguida com ‘quatro acrescentado’ (a ação) será que o efeito é “oito” todas as vezes?”. Usando esta técnica em cada elemento causal irá gerar a clareza e segurança sendo procurada para compreender as causas do problema. Se cada “equação” (elemento causal) no gráfico é “real” e as próprias causas são “reais” (suportadas por provas), então a equipe está bem colocada para considerar os tipos de controles que ele poderia implementar para prevenir a recorrência da problema.

As mais causas que são reveladas mais oportunidades a equipe tem que identificar possíveis soluções.

Resumo

Para acelerar o processo de ACR:

Passo 1 – Facilitador reúne informações sobre o evento e preenche a Declaração da Definição do Problema.

Passo 2 – Facilitador dirige a coleta de informações lançando uma ampla rede e solicita sistematicamente informações dos participantes.

Passo 3 – Use a informação recolhida para construir um RealityChart™ com ações com base no que aconteceu, então procure outras causas, como condições que podem ser inicialmente ocultas. Use Como e Se para ajudar a validar que as relações causais sejam lógicas.

Com um gráfico completado a etapa de achar soluções pode começar.

Nossa Curso Facilitadores Análise Causa Raiz (ACR) ensina os alunos a conduzir uma investigação com confiança e para encontrar soluções práticas para os seus problemas. Cursos de formação públicas oferecem nas principais cidades ao redor do mundo durante todo o ano. Saiba mais sobre as vantagens de participar de um curso de formação de público, ou consulte o nosso calendário de treinamento em todo o mundo para os próximos cursos e reserve online.

Many of us have them. The invisible “graveyard” where good intentions (AKA – corrective actions from your root cause analysis investigation) went to die.

How do they end up there? bigstock-Spooky-old-graveyard-at-night-71555167.jpg

We all know that all the time and money spent on a root cause analysis investigation and identifying solutions are worthless if the solutions are not implemented. An investigation can usually be done within a week but solutions can take much longer to implement. They sometimes require the involvement of multiple teams or departments, regulatory agencies, engineering, planning, budgeting, and the list goes on and on. For these reasons, it can be challenging to stay on top of all the corrective actions you identified in your investigation, who’s responsible, and the status of an action item at any given time.

We can offer a few basic tips that will give you a head start in tracking action items effectively:

  • Be clear about who is responsible for each corrective action. You don’t want to create the opportunity for people to be able to pass the buck with “I thought Bob was going to do it”.
  • Have a mechanism in place by which the implementation of corrective actions can be tracked.
  • Give ownership of a solution to an individual, not a group or department.
  • Assign a due-date for each corrective action.
  • Support people in their efforts to implement corrective actions.
  • Make sure you follow up on each corrective action – check back with the individual responsible to make sure that progress is being made.

But even these “basics” are easier said than done.

In reality, most likely you come out of your root cause analysis investigation with a list of action items for which various people are responsible. Then everyone goes about their regular workdays and may or may not remember to follow through on any additional tasks they were assigned. Even if you have an appointed person to follow up with the action items and make sure they’re on track, it can be difficult to keep up with who has done what. Many managers rely on an Excel spreadsheet to manually track what has and hasn’t been done, due dates, and so forth. But this puts a lot of pressure on one person to keep up with everything – to manually send reminders to folks who haven’t completed their tasks and to enter the information properly when it has been done.

Even when the Excel file has been carefully kept up-to-date, it often lives locally on the manager’s hard drive, and other members of the team don’t have any visibility as to what has and hasn’t been done.

Sound familiar?

If your RCA program is starting to mature it may be time to consider an enterprise solution to help you better manage all your investigations.

Corrective action tracking inside of an enterprise RCA tool can help you maintain visibility and accountability by tracking the status of action items and assigned solutions. Team members get sent automatic reminders of incomplete or overdue action items and they can easily update the status of their assigned tasks, instantly informing everyone when a task has been completed. You can also create personalized dashboards with reports showing open, completed, or overdue corrective actions.

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In addition to effective action tracking, an enterprise RCA solution can more broadly help your company implement and manage an effective overall root cause analysis program.

Here are some of the main features to look for:

  • Enterprise-wide visibility of your RCA program
    • Expand the RCA knowledge base and accessibility across an organization.

 

  • Search across the database for past RCAs, solutions, causes, equipment items, etc
    • Leverage information from previous investigations in your current investigation.
  • Classify problem-types by company or industry standards or by a pre-set list
    • Classify and tag files for easy search-ability. Create custom tags incorporating company or industry standards.
  • Create and share interactive KPI reports
    • Build reports on your chosen metrics and visually display key performance indicators in tables, charts and graphics.
  • Create personalized dashboards
    • Specify which reports are most important to you for immediate dashboard display on your homepage.
  • Save and embed reference files such as photos equipment failure data, interviews, etc
    • Preserve integrity by securely collecting and storing evidence and important reference files.
  • House internal company resource documents and tools
    • Store company corporate standards or reference files such as frequently referenced industry documents in a central location for immediate access when facilitating an RCA.
  • Progress updates
    •  Communicate with all users through on-page messaging that lets you quickly share information, receive feedback and record comments
Keeping your RCA investigation corrective actions out of the graveyard is a very common challenge in maturing RCA programs, but it’s just one of many. To see what you may be up against in the future, check out our free eBook, 7 Challenges to Implementing Root Cause Analysis Enterprise-Wide and How to Overcome ThemRemember, in order to resurrect your RCA investigation corrective actions, start with the basics that we listed at the beginning of this article. But also keep in mind – the more mature your RCA program becomes, or the larger and more complex your organization, the larger and more complex your problems become. So when you’re ready to alleviate this pain point altogether, consider whether an enterprise RCA solution might be the next step in your program’s development.
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By: Gary Tyne CMRP, CRL

Engineering Manager – ARMS Reliability Europe

Working for a global organization has taken me to some weird and wonderful places around the world. Different cultures, traditions, religions and people certainly enlightens you to the wonderful and colorful place we all call home.

I would say in most of these countries I have at some stage taken a taxi or at least been chauffeured by a driver in a customer’s company vehicle. These experiences have led to some interesting conversations on life, travel, politics, and football with some very knowledgeable and diverse taxi drivers. On the other hand, I have had drivers that have not spoken a word and have just delivered me to my destination in silence, even after trying to engage in conversation, their chosen dialogue is nil speak. bigstock--131191391

A recent taxi encounter occurred when I had just left my customer and was going to call for a taxi, when I spotted someone being dropped off at my current location. I asked the driver if he could take me to Dublin airport and he obliged.

This is when I met Mohammed, an immigrant from Kenya who had moved to Ireland 17 years ago. He was smiling and cheerful and had a generally happy persona about him. We discussed weather in Ireland versus Mombasa, we mentioned football briefly, and then we started to discuss cars. This occurred when a brand new Mercedes went past us in the fast lane and I passed comment on what a beautiful car that was.

Mohammed started to discuss the Toyota Corolla in which we were driving and how he loved his car for its level of reliability. I asked how many miles his vehicle had driven and he pointed out that he had covered over 300,000 miles since he purchased the car brand new in Northern Ireland. He went onto explain how he ensured that it was regularly maintained to a high standard with the best quality oil and original OEM parts being used when any replacements were required. The engine and gearbox were original and providing ‘you look after your car, it will look after you.’ Mohammed was proud of the length of service he had achieved from his vehicle and that the car had never let him down. However, as the vehicle operator he recognized the importance of regular maintenance and the use of the right quality parts. He also said that he only allowed one mechanic to work on his vehicle because he was very skilled and competent at his job and could not trust others to do work on his taxi.

Mohammed was also proud to be a taxi driver in Ireland and combined with his ‘Reliability’ story certainly made the trip to Dublin airport a memorable one. Mohammed did not know my job role and that I had spent over 30 years in Maintenance and Reliability, but he gave me a text book account of what is ‘Reliability’! I said goodbye to Mohammed after he let me take a picture of his mileage and car. I wished him luck and many more years of happy motoring in his reliable Toyota motor vehicle.

Sitting in the departure lounge my trip to the airport and conversation with Mohammed certainly made me think: mileage

  • Do we see this level of passion and ownership amongst today’s industrial operators?
  • Should Operators take more care for their assets, ensuring high reliability through a program of basic care?
  • How do we ensure the right levels of competence in our technicians?
  • How do we ensure that the correct specification and quality of parts are being purchased?
  • How do we ensure that maintenance is being performed at the right frequency on the right asset?

This ‘Reliability Tale from the Taxi’ may have also generated further questions in your own mind, for me, it provided me with  another great ‘Reliability’ story that I can share during one of our global reliability training courses.

 

 Click on the infographic for a PDF version. 

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“How long should an RCA take?”

This question is similar to how long is a piece of string?

I have heard one manager in a plant that has stipulated a maximum of two hours for an RCA to be conducted in his organisation. Another expects at least “brainstormed” solutions before the conclusion of day one – within 6 or 7 hours.  It is not uncommon for a draft report to be required within 48 hours of the RCA.

The following three tips may assist to meet tight deadlines and when time expectations are short. One advantage of the Apollo Root Cause Analysis methodology is that it is a fast process but the “driver” has to be on the ball to achieve the desired outcomes – effective solutions.

Tip #1 You Define The Problem

Imagine the RCA has been triggered by an unplanned incident or event which falls into any of the safety, environment, production, quality, equipment failure or similar categories. You have been appointed as the facilitator by a superior/manager who is responding to the particular event. Your superior/manager may understand the trigger mechanism and may well nominate the problem title.

For example, “upper arm laceration”, “ammonia spill”, “production delay” and so forth could be the offering you make to the team as the starting point for the analysis. Typically, as facilitator you will have gathered some of the “facts” from first responder reports, interviews, data sheets, photographs and so on.  So a good first step is to draft a problem definition statement, including the significance reflected by the consequences or impacts. The team then has a starting point to commence the analysis, albeit the problem statement may change as more detail is provided.

Ideally, you will have already created a file in RealityCharting™ and the Problem Definition table can be projected onto a screen or even onto the clear wall where your charting will be done with the Post-It™ notes. The team members’ information ought to have been entered and can be confirmed quickly in this display. You might even show the Incident Report format and focus on the disclaimer option you have selected deliberately: Purpose: To prevent recurrence, not place blame.

This preparatory work could save at least 20 minutes of the team members’ time and enable an immediate launch into the analysis phase. 

Important: Save yourself hours of re-work and potential embarrassment by saving the file as soon as this first process is complete, if you haven’t already done so, and thereafter on a regular basis. Maintain some form of version control so that the evolution of the chart in the following day/s can be tracked if necessary.

If you are particularly well-resourced the chart development might be recorded on the software simultaneously as the hard copy is created on the wall space. A small team might choose to create the chart directly via the software and a decent projection medium.

 Tip #2 Direct The Analysis 

It is critical that your initiative in preparing the problem definition is not considered by the team members as disenfranchising them. The analysis step whereby all have an opportunity to contribute should ensure that they feel they have “ownership” of the problem.

To reinforce this, it is advisable to choose a sequence of addressing each member, typically from left to right or vice-versa depending on the seating arrangements. This establishes the requirement that one person is speaking at a time, secondly, that each and every statement will be documented and thirdly, that every person has equal opportunity. Your prompt and verbatim recording of each piece of information will provide the discipline required to minimise idle chatter which can waste time because it distracts focus. When you have a series of “pass” comments from team members because the process has exhausted their immediate knowledge of events, launch the chart creation. 

It is worthwhile reminding the team that each information item that has been recorded and posted in the parking area, may not appear in their original form on the chart or at all, in some cases. Because the information gathering is a widespread net to capture as much knowledge regarding what happened, when and why, there will be no particular focus. But because they are coming from people with experience and expertise or initimate knowledge of events and
circumstances, they have some value. The precise value will be determined by where the information sits in the cause and effect logic that starts at the problem and is connected by “caused by” relationships. 

Important: Cause text should be written in CAPITAL LETTERS. It will be easier to read/decipher for the team at the time and perhaps from photographs of the chart later. Similarly using caps in the software itself means that projection of the chart is more effective and the printing of various views is enhanced.

 Tip #3 The “How and If” of Creating a RealityChart

Many proponents tap the existing understanding of the event by capturing as many of the action causes as possible. These may arrive via a 5 WHYS process, for example, which starts at the Primary Effect.

            Plant Stopped (Problem or Primary Effect)

            Why? Feed pump not pumping

            Why? Broken Coupling

            Why? Motor Bearing Seized

            Why? Bearing race Collapsed

            Why? Fatigue

The Apollo RCA method requires use of the expression “caused by?” to connect cause and effect relationships. Understanding that there must be at least one action and one condition helps  reveal the “hidden” causes and especially the condition causes which do not come to mind initially.

To support this expression and the essential “why”, consider asking “how”. This may be  employed initially by the most impartial member of your team who has been engaged specifically because of his/her lack of association with the problem and can sincerely ask the
supposedly “dumb” questions. Invariably these questions generate more causes or a more precise arrangement of the existing causes. A “How does that happen exactly?” question can drive the team to take the requisite “baby steps”.  This also often exposes differences between “experts” and the resolution of these differences is always illuminating.

The facilitator needs to be aware of the need to softly “challenge” the team’s understanding while ensuring the application of sufficient rigour to generate the best representation of causal relationships. This can be done in a neutral manner by using the “IF” proposition.

Given that every effect requires at least two causes, you can then address the team with the proposition: “If ‘one exists’ and ‘three exists’ (two conditions) then with ‘four added’ (the action) will the effect be “eight” every time?”. Using this technique on each causal element will generate the clarity and certainty being sought to understand the causes of the problem. If every “equation” (causal element) in the chart is “real” and the causes themselves are “real”
(substantiated by evidence) then the team is well-placed to consider the types of controls it could implement to prevent recurrence of the problem.

The more causes which are revealed the more opportunities the team has to identify possible solutions.

 Summary

To speed up the RCA process,

Step 1 Facilitator gathers event information and fills out Problem Definition Statement.

Step 2 Facilitator directs the Information gathering casting a wide net and systematically requests information from participants.

Step 3 Use information gathered to build a RealityChart™ with actions based on what happened then looking for other causes such as conditions which may initially be hidden. Use how and If to help validate that causal relationships are logical.

With a completed chart the solution finding step can begin.

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Creating a common reality is a part of the foundation of the Apollo Root Cause Analysis methodology.  It is important that language and definitions are consistent among all parties involved. When the Apollo Root Cause Analysis methodology is applied correctly everyone who participates truly understands the value of the problem, what the solutions are and how they will affect the problem.

Establishing a universal reality is a bigger challenge than you might think. No one shares the exact same experiences or interprets information in the exact same manner. Good problem solvers know to take these different perspectives into account as they forge a path to the solutions.

Just as individuals apply their own unique perspective when conducting specific RCAs, companies apply their unique organizational culture when implementing an RCA process.  Establishing company standards by defining an RCA champion with clear expectations and implementation procedures in place will keep your organization on the path to RCA success.

Another way to stay at the top of your game is to learn from the experiences of industry peers.  Here we take a look at a conversation between Tom, an Engineering Team Lead and RCA champion and Jack, an expert Apollo Root Cause Analysis methodology instructor. 

Tom (Engineering Team Lead): 

I have found that sometimes engineers and technicians do not have a real understanding of the meaning of “root cause.” They tend to think of it as a single poor design feature or failure like a “loose nut” or a single cause of the issue or failure. They seemed to be surprised when I recently identified ten root causes on the last job. They were confused and could not get their heads around having ten root causes. They said, “But what was the real single root cause?”

Jack (RCA Instructor):

You are so right. Many people have preconceived idea that there can only be one root cause. They are driven by this perception to that end. It is quite a limiting concept for those people. They can become quite tunneled in their thinking, offering a close-minded approach to their problems rather than an all-embracing search for knowledge and information that could lead to enlightenment. Some anecdotal information even suggests that this mind frame is taught and it quite difficult to rattle their cages and try to shift their paradigms. How do you define root cause?

Tom:

I define root cause as an opportunity for improvement. A single root cause cannot exist on its’ own, there must also be at least one condition. Here, I cannot come across as too much of a know-it-all or people roll their eyes, so I need a quick snappy go to response that is quick and brief and simple and does not come across as a nerd or a geek. That’s just where I work, as there are no formal RCA people in this division – we all share the work on investigations and most are engineering failure investigations that I do out of my own volition, and share with my team.  In your experience, what are the major setbacks you have seen with people applying the RCA process? I’d like to get better and avoid these mistakes.

Jack:  

You are doing a great job, persevere. Changing peoples’ perspectives takes time especially if you are the only one flying the flag. A major key to success is making sure you are asking enough questions and following a process that demands these questions be asked. Sometimes people take shortcuts to speed up the process…less to think about…less time…must be better! And they can still argue that they have a solution. For simple problems this may even work and they could achieve a satisfactory result, but for complex problems this approach simply doesn’t come close to being comprehensive enough. The lack of knowledge and training in this area now comes back to bite them and their problems invariably don’t go away. Without a solid RCA foundation and process in place the structures within the company they work for won’t raise any red flags that something may be incorrect or ineffective in any way….so the end product of a subpar RCA (the report) is accepted.  If management doesn’t embrace the change then reverting to old acceptable habits is just easier. The key to avoiding these major failures lies in overcoming the resistance to change.  Involving your team in the RCA process and sharing your successes with management is a great way to gain support.

Tom:

I got into the habit of now actually doing an initial draft RCA live in front of my team. I draft the RCA in a bound book which I have dedicated to this purpose and follow the cause and effect pathways like the software. I feel like this approach is more relatable with my team and I am able to get their input quickly. We are usually able to identify half a dozen possible causes in just a few minutes.  Afterwards I go to the software and expand on it. Then I formalize and save the RCA in the software which checks all my work.  

Hope you are in Sydney sometime soon, Jack. Your teaching techniques really work and I liked your style. I think in 20 years of taking training your lessons are the ones that have stuck the most with me.

 

If you have linkedin_banner.jpgquestions or ideas to share and would like to connect with people who have been trained in the Apollo Root Cause Analysis methodology with ARMS Reliability join our Apollo Root Cause Analysis methodology discussion group on LinkedIn. 

 

 

As its name suggests, an “asset” is a useful or valuable thing. Indeed, the antonym of “asset” is “liability”. Hence, an organization’s assets should deliver value; not cost money. With the right techniques and strategies in place, asset managers can ensure that their plant and equipment is performing at and being maintained at optimum levels. These many and varied techniques can be applied across the different phases of an asset’s life to ensure that,  instead of draining money from the bottom line, it actively contributes to margin increases. F

Managed the right way, assets can contribute significantly to profit margins. It takes a strategic approach to maintenance and asset management, in key areas such as:

  1. Increasing availability and plant capacity
  2. Reducing unnecessary maintenance costs
  3. Reducing unnecessary spares holding costs
  4. Planning optimum retirement of plant and equipment

Once you determine a key focus area, it’s important to apply the right technique.

Margin Increase Techniques

System Analysis

The primary objective of System Analysis is to identify and eliminate bottlenecks in a system, and is particularly useful in complex operations where the contribution of different parts of the system are not clear. An analyst performing System Analysis builds a representative model using reliability block diagrams, and runs a simulation to produce a quantitative view of the contribution of all parts of a system. The technique is used to assess the reliability of individual components and their dependencies on other events or assets in order to assess the overall availability of the system. This helps to determine the importance of each element, so that the analyst can play “what if” with different levels of redundancy, size of buffers, maintenance strategies, and spares holding levels, in order to find the optimum.

Maintenance Benefit Analysis

Unfortunately, there has been a long tradition of organizations fostering a culture of maintenance in which the maintenance crews are lauded as heroes when they step in to fix things that are broken. In such cultures, preventative maintenance is less appreciated, despite it being proven to save money. Maintenance Benefit Analysis – similar to Maintenance Optimization– is used to evaluate a maintenance plan and identify any areas where maintenance is either not needed or is not optimal. A Maintenance Benefit Analysis is used to identify where alternatives to current practice can be improved by choosing a different type of strategy or frequency.

Spares Optimization

Typically, maintenance crews love spares and want lots of them in their plant or facility. Yet plant managers resent having too many spares in stock as they tie up capital and take up storage space. Spares Optimization is all about finding the optimum level of spares to hold; a level that balances the cost of not having spares available against the cost of holding the spares in stock.

Repair vs Replace Analysis

Knowing when to replace a piece of equipment shouldn’t be guesswork, as the right time to replace can save hundreds of thousands of dollars in repairs. Repair vs Replace Analysis is used to predict or track the costs of repairs against the cost of replacement. As the cost of repairs increases (which incorporates costs like labor and parts), it becomes less viable to maintain the asset. Plus, as the cost of new equipment falls, it becomes more viable to buy it new. Life Cycle Cost analysis can be applied to assess the optimum point to switch from repair-mode to replace-mode.

ARMS Reliability can show you how to achieve great cost savings and margin increases across the whole organization by using these techniques and their associated software tools; and will train your team to implement and manage these changes proactively.