39Final thoughts

Adapting the principles of TPM to suit our differing cultures is one thing -tailoring them to suit your specific industry is another. The most vital issue is to recognize and incorporate the local plant-specific needs into TPM-driven improvement processes. TPM is not a programme or project with a start and a finish but, on the contrary, is a continuous improvement process, so it becomes a key part of 'the way we do things here'. As mentioned at the beginning of the chapter, below are two perspectives on the impact of TPM on 'the way we do things here'.

best part about it is that it involves no rocket science; but it does involve me

- the operator of this overhead projector - and my maintenance colleague here, Joe Wrench. I have known Joe for ten years and he has always been good at fixing things. In fact, we have jokingly referred to him as 'Joe'll Fix-It' as he works for the 'GITAFI regime': get in there and fix it! When I first joined the company, I remember seeing Joe leaning against a pillar near my machine one day, and I asked him what his job was. He replied that he was a 'coiled spring, waiting to spring into action'!

As I say, things are changing for the better, and Joe and I are encouraged to work as a team as far as operating and looking after this overhead projector is concerned. For the first time in twenty years, I have actually been asked my opinion about the equipment together with Joe's ideas, and we have come up with some good ideas. Let me explain them to you.

For a start, you will not thank me if I project this visual aid - the product

- onto the ceiling, or if it is completely out of focus. I have actually been given a comprehensive training session on the correct operation of the overhead projector and, in fact, Joe and I have drawn up a simple ten-step start-up, operation and shutdown procedure for the OHP as a series of ten singlepoint lessons (SPLs) which are very easy to follow and highly graphic and colourful to make the SPLs interesting.

Because we are being encouraged to look after the OHP and are given the time and support equipment to do it, I actually clean the lens and the projector base-plate at the start of each shift since it improves the quality of the product

- in this case the presentation of the visual aid - and I make sure I adjust and focus it correctly before starting the shift. By the way, I also make sure I cover up the base-plate of the OHP at the end of the shift, as it can easily get scratched and damaged if I do not do this simple chore. A new base-plate for this OHP costs £55.00, which is about 15 per cent of the cost of a complete new OHP. It is also inconvenient, as it takes about three hours to change over the old one for a new one.

Anyway, as I said, Joe Wrench, my maintenance colleague, and I have been given the training, time and encouragement to sort out the best way of running this piece of equipment. Let me tell you what we have decided to do. Not, you will notice, some clever chap from central planning, but Joe and I. We are in a team now, and Fred Whitlock, the ex-supervisor, is now our Team Leader. (You can read his story about TPM later in this chapter.) Since he has been on a TPM facilitator course he's changed for the better: he asks our opinion about things and he actually takes the time out to come down here to listen and discuss better ways of doing things with Joe and me.

One of the problems with this OHP is that the focus adjuster on this vertical arm here seems to wear out quite often, and the ratchet won't hold the lens head in focus. If this happens during the shift, Joe and I have decided that we don't need to actually stop the shift for a major repair. Instead, I can pin the ratchet with this wedge as a temporary measure whilst I complete the shift. We can, in effect, run it to failure, and the only thing I make sure I do is to let Joe know that he will need to change the ratchet focus adjuster as soon as he's got time to do it. By the way, Joe and I have put forward a proposal to production engineering to use a closer tolerance and age-hardened ratchet so that this problem is resolved once and for all. This will mean our spares costs will go down and I won't have to mess about jamming a wedge in here as a temporary measure: botching up is a thing of the past. After all, if the handbrake ratchet on your motor car kept failing, you wouldn't put up with it, would you?

The other thing which Joe and I have discussed is the bulb-changing task on this OHP. I used to think the bulb was the most critical part of this machine, but it isn't. It's important, but not as critical as something else which I will tell you about later. Anyway, back to the bulb. They do fail now and again, and in the bad old days when the bulb went I used to switch off the machine and go for a cup of tea and wait until Joe got round to getting a new one out of stores - which is about half a mile away. Joe would then change it over and we would eventually get going again. I reckon we used to lose something like four hours a month on this 'breakdown' if the bulb went. Not any more, though, because Joe and I have thought about this problem as well. In fact, I've been on a half-day in-company bulb-changing course and I am now a fully accredited bulb changer! ... I'm certainly no electrician, but I am proud of what I've achieved.

What happens now if a bulb goes? Quite simple: I switch off the on/off switch here and walk over to the power point. I switch that off. I pull out the plug and bring it back here with the lead, so there is absolutely no way I can electrocute myself. I then remove the lid, take out the old bulb and put it in the waste-bin here; I do not leave it lying around as a future accident risk. Then, using a cloth, I take out the new bulb from its packaging; I use a cloth because it's a halogen bulb and if I get my sweaty hands on it, it will be useless. I then insert it here, replace the lid, take the plug and lead to the socket and re-energize the circuit. Switch on the on/off switch at the OHP and 'bingo' - we're back in production. I feel really good that I can change bulbs. I feel a better person all round.

There are some other important points about bulb changing which Joe and I have agreed. We keep two spare bulbs here by the machine, on this 'shadow board' - not 800 metres away in central stores. I always - without fail -record the fact that I've used a bulb so that Joe and I can build up an equipment history file on this OHP, so that we both have access to past problems - nonstandard events, if you like - which will help us in our problem resolution sessions. At the moment, Joe and I are looking into the possibility of bulbs with a different power rating, as these current ones seem to be unreliable. Joe also thinks it may be something to do with dust and dirt ingress, but more on that later.

Now to the best part of this equipment care procedure which Joe and I have built up and which we are both pretty proud of. The most critical part of this OHP - given that we have a power supply, of course! - is the fan. For years, I'd always thought the bulb was the most important part. I didn't even realize there was a fan in the machine, far less understand that it's there to create an air flow across the bulb to keep it cool and so stop it overheating. If the fan goes, the bulb will most certainly blow, and my product, the overhead view foil, will probably melt in the process! I hadn't really thought about this before - mainly because I hadn't been asked to think about it!

It's quite interesting, really, because when I started to clean the OHP I could tell it was getting hot - or overheating, to be precise (because I like to be precise nowadays). Cleaning is inspection, and I'm really acting as the ears (sound), eyes (sight), nose (smell), mouth (taste), hands (touch, heat, vibration) and common sense of my maintenance colleague, Joe Wrench. And I don't usually need a spanner or screwdriver to use any of my God-given senses! Incidentally, I've learnt that common sense is in fact quite uncommon unless we're encouraged to use it! Anyway, back to the fan, the most critical part of my machine, the OHP. If, when I'm cleaning it, I notice it's getting too hot, or if it starts to make a noise or vibrates, I do one thing, and one thing only. I switch off the on /off switch, I pull out the plug and bring it back here to the machine, and then I get Joe to come and see what's wrong. It's beyond my level of competence or skill at the moment to go messing about with the fan, but I can and do act as the early warning system for Joe.

In fact, Joe and I have thought a lot about the fan and we are getting a bit more scientific about the early warning system - or condition-based maintenance or monitoring (CBM) as we call it. Rather than trust my 'feeling the heat' or 'hearing the noise' senses we've decided to drill a hole here in this precise position and we've inserted a thermometer with a red mark on the 40°C point. So during the shift I do three readings: after one hour, after four hours, and just before the end of the eight-hour shift. I can trend the readings and I keep them up on this visible wall chart so that both Joe and I can see the temperature trends, alongside the major event fault trends. Joe and I have made two other improvements as well. In fact, we're quite proud of these equipment improvements that we've implemented. The fan drive belts used to break quite often, so I've suggested we cut out a 100 mm x 100 mm panel on the side here and put an acrylic cover in place of the metal sheet we removed, so that we can look inside the OHP base and see if the belt is fraying before it actually breaks. It's simple really, and, we think, quite effective. In fact, all 80 of our other OHP machines are now fitted with the thermometer and the acrylic cover modifications.

The really exciting bit about this TPM process is when we get to Step 9, the problem prevention bit - where we need the 5 whys technique to get at the root cause and prevention routine as to why the bulbs were blowing or failing. The 5 whys process goes like this:

1 Why is the bulb blowing? Because it's overheating.

2 Why is it overheating? Because the air flow is insufficient.

3 Why is the air flow insufficient? Because the filter is blocked.

4 Why is the filter blocked? Because nobody cleans it.

5 Why isn't it cleaned? Because we didn't appreciate the importance of daily asset care - apple-a-day routines!!

Joe and I have developed best practice routines for this OHP, divided into three main areas:

• The 'apple a day' routines which I do as a matter of habit, such as cleaning and changing over the filter

• The 'thermometer' or condition monitoring routines which Joe and I share

• The 'injection needle' or planned maintenance which is still carried out by Joe where a technical judgement is needed.

The simple act of me cleaning the filter once a week and changing it every month means that we have extended the useful life of the bulb and the fan because it's not put under stress to drag the air in - and I get a 'hassle-free' shift. Joe and I are not content, however, with extending the life of the components - we are now looking for the source of the dust and dirt that gets into the filter in the first place. Most of it is because we are not looking after our general workplace areas. This is where the 5S/CAN DO activity has come into its own.

The point is that we, not someone from on high, have decided the best practice routines to operate and take care of our asset - the OHP. Also, we have decided who actually carries out each asset care task, how we carry it out, with what frequency and with what support tools and equipment.

It's our ideas, it's our disciplines that are important: we've got ownership and we work as a team. We've been given the time, the responsibility and the necessary training and encouragement to take ownership, and we like it. It's given us back some self-esteem. It's for maintenance to be productive, whoever does it!

Finally, Joe and I had our photographs put up in the reception area in the front office last month as recipients of the TPM team of the month award. Silly, really, but Joe and I felt quite good about it. Even my wife says I'm warm to the touch now!

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