“Maintenance scheduling should be incorporated into the production schedules.”
- How often have we missed a production deadline because of a breakdown of a critical piece of equipment?
- How many deviations and investigations are purely because of these breakdowns?
- How many man hours have the deviations and investigations consumed?
- Who has been supervising the production while we have been putting out these fires?
- What is the impact on product cost and profitability?
- Most importantly, how many patients have we compromised by not delivering the medicines on time?
These questions can go on and on
If we look back at maintenance over the years, we started with breakdown maintenance (If it ain’t broke don’t fix it), then progressed to preventative maintenance, predictive maintenance, now total productive maintenance. Are these just words? Or are they supposed to convey a message to the business. I certainly wouldn’t ignore the regular servicing schedule for my car and risk it breaking down on the road. In the factory though, we very often make a quick fix to get the line working and the fix then becomes a permanent feature, compromising the functionality and efficiency of the equipment.
The idea of productive maintenance is fairly simple, it incorporates preventative and predictive maintenance in the form of daily and weekly inspections and lubrication schedules, and then depending on the service cycles in the equipment manual, minor and major services. Productive maintenance also goes beyond these steps to include improvements and modifications identified during deviation and CAPA investigations and also improvements that are identified by the operating teams. This approach supports Compliant productivity.
When we put the annual budget together, (Big Picture again…..) we should build maintenance time into each process so that we know from the outset how many shifts are needed to produce the budgeted volumes for the year. This should then be refined by month and phased to ensure that the product is in the warehouse and available for sale at the right time. We now have a picture of the maintenance time allocated to each machine, whether stand alone or part of a process. This information gets incorporated into the production schedule by the planner and is signed off by all parties during the scheduling meeting.
The maintenance team must now make sure that each service is planned in detail, who is doing what, how long it will take and what tools and spares are needed. It is a good policy to have the machine operator as part of the maintenance crew so that they can contribute information and also learn the ins and outs of their machine. When you take your car for a service, how much time do you spend explaining issues you want fixed? Training of new artisans and operators can also be incorporated, but then time must be allocated for this.
Maintenance is an investment in productivity and continuous improvement, and is integral to the success of the business, so don’t take short cuts or skip maintenance cycles. Make sure that daily and weekly inspections are carried out diligently and that lubrication cycles are maintained, and you will find that the number of breakdowns in the factory will reduce significantly, giving the production teams the time they need to produce the product and get it into the warehouse in time for the sale.