Back to the Basics Part 2: Intro to Foundational Elements
Chris Pepin (00:04): Ladies and gentlemen, welcome back to the manufacturing talent podcast. I’m your host, Chris Pepin, founder of Progressive Reliability. On the seven part series I’m going to be joined by Tim Goshert and Doug Plucknette. And we’re going to be going through back to the basics, the fundamentals and the importance of getting it right within manufacturing, maintenance, and reliability. Welcome to the conversation!
Chris Pepin (00:25): Welcome back to the manufacturing talent podcast. I’m your host, Chris Pepin. I’m joined today by Tim Goshert, and Doug Plucknette. And we’re going through the back to the basics. And then today’s discussion, we want to make sure that we’re covering the introduction of the foundational elements, especially starting with hierarchy development. So, Doug, this is, I know real passionate for you. So I wanted to get you started off and, as always, Tim has just a great cradle knowledge base in value, as a global reliability leader as well.
Doug Plucknette (01:00): Well, good morning. So listen, we left off talking about the CMMS and the shortcomings that many companies have seen with it. In fact, you know, when I look out there at the hundred or so companies that I’ve worked with over the past 20 years, you know, probably 19 out of 20 did a poor job with their hierarchy, and they struggled with it, and they, you know, make statements like the CMMS didn’t help us at all. And so when you have these discussions with them, you say, well, how well did you do with your foundational elements? And they look at you kind of confused. They say, you know, what exactly are you talking about? Well, there’s four foundational elements. We’re going to cover two of them today. But if you look at the four, we have equipment hierarchy development, criticality, ranking, or analysis.
Doug Plucknette (01:49): And the third one is failure modes identification, and the fourth being maintenance strategy development. So in order for the foundational elements to work and for you to get any value out of your CMMS, you have to be able to start with this hierarchy. Right? And what lots of companies do is they get their package and they put in, you know, Acme manufacturing company, Odessa Texas, building one, line one. And that’s where they stop. They might have four different lines, right? So they stop at line 1, 2, 3, 4, and that’s how they enter their work orders is under each line. Right? And there’s just so much there. It makes it difficult for them to see any benefit. And I’ve had people argue with me for quite some time, you know, CMMS is just a tool to help you manage work.
Doug Plucknette (02:52): It’s not going to save you any money. It’s not going to save you any time. And that’s when you look at them and you go, okay, nobody has ever explained to you how it’s supposed to work, right? So this hierarchy development, you have to look at it. There’s actually an ISO standard 14:24 that helps companies build a hierarchy that gets to the correct level, which is component at a minimum parts if you’re really doing the work, if you want the CMMS to help work for you. And how is that going to save you money? Well, with each work order, you’re able to attach parts to it, you’re able to locate those things, you get the correct parts. If you don’t have that, people are scrambling for those things. So, hierarchy is extremely important. And I know that this is something that, you know, Tim, when he started out at Cargill probably had to wrestle with this at multiple locations. Is that true, Tim?
Tim Goshert (03:48): That is true. We had a myriad of situations depending on the business unit and the geography in the world. So, most of our sites had some type of computerized maintenance management system. I would say, you know, 80% of them did. They may have been different programs or products at the time, but they all were set up I think in a local idea of what a hierarchy should be. And so, one of the challenges we had at Cargill early on was that every hierarchy there was no format to setting up a hierarchy. Everything was set up differently. And therefore, when you’re trying, you know, one of the outcomes of a good hierarchy is you manage work from it. But also when you manage that work you collect costs at different levels of the hierarchy. So we had a huge challenge trying to figure out where is our costs going or our maintenance costs going for parts and labor, to what pieces of equipment?
Tim Goshert (05:00): And without a consistent hierarchy across our organization, it was impossible really to know. We didn’t have any standards. And now I’m talking, this was 25, 30 years ago, you know, in the early 1990s. So what we did was, adopted a standard and that standard, you mentioned, Doug was ISO 14:24 [inaudible: 00:05:32], an ISO standard. Anybody can go out on the internet and Google it and see it, but it was developed. And we looked at it and said, hey, it doesn’t really matter what business you’re in or where you are in the world, what geography you’re in the world. This hierarchy standard, if we all align to that and do that correctly and set it up correctly in our CMMS or EAM systems, then we would get some consistent reporting coming out of that.
Tim Goshert (06:02): So it was really critical for us to get everybody aligned to that. And that was the first step. It really in reliability improvement was to get our hierarchies in order. Now that was a huge undertaking in a company the size of Cargill that had, you know, like 1400 industrial sites globally. So that took a while, but the idea was to get to that standard and, you know, apply that correctly. And eventually, you know, by the time I retired and left cargo, everyone had been, had done that and at those sites, but it, you know, it took three to four to five years to get across the board to do it. So my, you know, my recommendation is that whether you’re a one plant or you’re in a system of several plants are in a huge organization aligning to that standard makes sense.
Doug Plucknette (07:02): Right. And so when you talk about doing this 30 years ago, this was long before we had net meetings, right? Like, we could get out and look at somebody else’s and have five or six locations at the same time that had assets that were pretty close to being alike where they could share that. Right? So, I mean, you could send things in electronic forms, but to get people together to say, to teach this, right, that was one of those hurdles that you had to get over that today. You know, when I look at this and go, all right, how long should it take? It’s an undertaking for sure, for a plant, you know, a plant that’s got 10,000 assets, for example, it’s going to take you some time. Right? But the reality is until you get it right, you’re going to struggle with organizing your work with understanding where you’re spending your money, where you’re spending your time, what parts you actually need in the store room. Right? All these things are related back to that hierarchy.
Tim Goshert (08:06): Doug, it’s the foundation that everything sits on. It’s like, you have to have that foundation, correct. So you can do all the things that you really want to do to, you know, increase production and save money by managing work correctly, you need that. So your software has all the information, so you can plan and schedule work, understand what work needs to be done when. So it’s a critical foundation point. And if, you know, you’re trying to do that without that foundational work done. It’s like, you know, building a house on a beach, on the sand. It’s just going to wash away eventually until you go back and do it. Now, my experience was, in the beginning there was huge, I would say push back from some of our business units and plans about doing this work, they just wanted to get to the end. But eventually, you know, some delayed and they found out that those delays of not doing that foundational work was costing them money. And it was the root cause of myriad of their problems. And then they eventually went back,. The enlightened ones jumped on it right away. He got it done. And then obviously got results quicker and faster.
Doug Plucknette (09:33): Right. And to do this, one of the things that I talk companies, cause they are the reluctant, they’ve tried this before. They struggle with it. They don’t understand that. And so I tell them, look, I can show you articles on this and send you articles on this all day long. It’s a lot easier to have somebody that’s done this before, come in and spend one day. That’s all it takes right. Here, I’m going to show you what a good hierarchy looks like. Let’s get that Excel spreadsheet out and we’ll start building it. Then we’re going to pick a machine we’re going to go out and we’re going to walk it down. Right? And we’re going to either have somebody with a tablet or a laptop along with you, or even write it down by hand and then take it back and enter it, so that you get all the stuff that’s actually out there on the floor, on that machine. Right? I go typically, you go by process flow when I build these. You can do this by floor, by location, but typically by product line or product flow is that’s how I was taught. It makes sense to me. And I go out and I show companies how to do this. And it’s like, holy smokes. It’s easier than I thought. Right?
Chris Pepin (10:43): Yeah, that’s a real concern is where to start. And what’s a great win for our audience to just kind of get at it because I know when things can get technical, they can seem a lot more daunting than they are in practice. So, I mean,, have you experienced any other sites where there was a lot of trepidation, there was a lot of concern about what it’s going to take versus how often does that take place and really how can our audience just get started to get going once they see the lights. That’s how important this is.
Doug Plucknette (11:13): Yeah, the trepidation, Chris, starts with you’re at a site that’s been going for, let’s say 40 or 50 years, right? Their equipment’s a little bit older, all their prints are out of date. Right? And so when they think about doing this, they think about, well, we got to sit in a conference room, we’ll do it, we’ll get our prints out. And they go, [inaudible: 00:11:31]. represent what’s out there. You go, come on, get up off your backside and walk out and walk it down, take pictures if you have to, but require this information of what’s out there right down to taking pictures of nameplates on motors and pumps and gearboxes and stuff like that. So that you have the correct information in here to get started. And yes, it takes a little time, but you know, the companies that I’ve worked with, I I’ve seen one person go out and do this.
Doug Plucknette (12:03): And it took them darn near a year to get through their plant. If they had a couple people that cuts that time in half, but realistically all the while they’re doing it and they’re entering it, they started with, and they hadn’t done their criticality analysis yet. They just started with, here’s our line that we put most product out the door with. Here’s our moneymaker. They knew that through accounting. Right? We’ll start there first, start somewhere. I don’t remember Tim saying that, I think last week, just get started. Right? But if you bring somebody in for a day and they show you, it makes a huge difference.
Tim Goshert (12:39): Yeah, absolutely, Doug, I’ve been working with a few customers the last, say, five years on this very thing. Some of the customers have a pretty large plants. And so they said, well, where do you start? And I said, well, like you said, start at your, your most, critical process or area of the plant. Also, you know, consider where there is energy from the people there that they want to do it and start there. And just like, you know, how do you eat an elephant? You eat it one step at a time, just take it area by area by area. And, and what they did is they devoted two people to do it. And this was a large plant and it took them two years to do it, but it was, they started seeing after six months, they started seeing fruits to their investment because now they had the hierarchy set up correctly, the data set up correctly that they could begin planning and scheduling, really planning and scheduling work.
Tim Goshert (13:46): And they started seeing that they were solving production problems earlier, and it was taking them long, you know, shorter time to fix whatever needed to be fixed. And it’s because they had the information at their fingertips, and they learn from each one. So, yeah, getting started at one area of the plant, either the most critical area that’s thought of, or an area to use as a pilot where people just have the energy and desire to change and do something that will help them in the future is how to get started on this.
Doug Plucknette (14:27): And another piece of that payback is I’ve yet to work with a customer that very early into this didn’t all of a sudden say, oh my gosh, we’ve got the same motor stocked, three different places under three different IDs. Right. And they start realizing the message that’s going on in their stock room and all of a sudden say, all right, and then why do we have 10 different brands and motors and 10 different brands of pumps? And when most of these have the same footprint, what’s the best thing. It motivates some to all of a sudden when they start walking this stuff down and putting it in, and that that person that’s entering that data in their mind is going to say, holy smokes, I’ve typed that exact same thing, five or six times now. Right?
Chris Pepin (15:18): It sounds almost, and I hate to use such an oversimplified example, but cleaning out the garage is always so daunting, right? And to play on a Saturday or a Sunday to clean out the garage just sucks. But, you know, on a Tuesday night, there’s a mask in a pile in a corner and you just start working it. And, and before you know, it, you look up and half of things now, you’re like, oh, it’s not that bad. And then once you get it done and it’s done, like, I mean, you get the pay off for months. Once that kind of thing has been done. So I don’t know if it’s the same kind of satisfaction on a far larger organizational scale, but I mean, let’s talk about the aftermath, the aftereffects, and frankly, what does it do for the team when this is really set and cleaned up, and how does this affect, you know, everybody in the end, and the folks they’re working with?
Tim Goshert (16:14): I think it changes their mindset. It feels like you have a control and some sort of control and organization to the work that you’re trying to do. It also, you know, it helps the team not be as reactive and be more controlled. And knowing that they have data behind them in their system, that tells them where parts are, what, you know, what parts go on what pieces of equipment. And it just helps them tremendously. And it’s a big mindset change in my view. And it gets, it slows the organization down, and it’s a big help to get them to transition from a reactive failure work environment and transitioning to a scheduled, planned proactive environment, and just slows everything when you have the data at your fingertips. And you don’t have to be running around looking for things, expediting parts and doing all those kinds of things. It’s the foundation that allows that transition to start.
Chris Pepin (17:38): It’s almost… I was going to say, it’s almost like a visual manifestation of a functional organization. And as you bring the organization forward, you can actually see and feel and touch, you know, the improvement and the journey, moving ahead.
Doug Plucknette: Yeah, absolutely. And just one of the things that I wanted to point out when you don’t have this, right. And you’re, you know, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 day a year company, you don’t have this built all of a sudden something fails in the middle of the night, right? If they can’t find the correct bearing or the correct sprocket, the correct chain, they’re going to use whatever they can find. Right? And the next thing you know, the next person that replaces that puts the wrong one on. And that failure rate by the way of the wrong one is it happens five times more often, or 10 times more often. And people don’t know that somebody’s put the wrong one in there and they continue to do that. I can give you countless examples seeing that when doing RCMS, right.
Doug Plucknette: When you say, all right, why the heck do you have a bearing that’s failing every six months? Why do you have a motor that’s failing every six months? What’s going on with this chain that you’re having to replace every three months. Right? Um, and when you get to the root cause of what happened, right. And you say, okay, let’s look at that bearing number. We’ll go back and get the OEM out. And, holy spokes, that’s not the bearing we’ve been using. Right. It makes a huge difference. So the outcome of this is not only does it set the foundation, it gives people the confidence to do the right thing. Right. And they understand, and down the road, when they can’t find the right thing, they’re going to start telling people about it. When it’s normal, nobody ever says nothing. Right? When that’s just part of the way we’ve been working for 20 years, nobody says a word when they can’t find the right part, they just find something that’ll work, right? When all of a sudden the right parts are there and they can’t find it, they’re going to tell somebody, right. It makes a huge difference. Just small things like that. Right? It pays back.
Tim Goshert: I agree, Doug. The customers that have done this work that I’ve helped to guide them through this kind of work, they on a weekly basis, they report the kinds of things that you talked about. Guess what we found on this piece of equipment? We had been running it for five years with the wrong, whatever, wrong bearing, wrong whatever, and no wonder it’s been failing. And it’s like on a weekly basis, it’s a show and tell of, oh, look at what we found here when we started digging into it. It’s like when you pull a string, it keeps on pulling until you find what the root of that is. And it’s typically, you know, well we had to do something back then, and we put this in, and now it’s been running like this and we’ve been replacing it for the last five years. It’s just amazing how that works. But if you start uncovering all this, your life gets easier and failures get less is what I’ve found.
Chris Pepin: I think the last bit we need to discuss is how this ties in, Doug, with, you know, all the fancy new stuff there is out there. Right? Cause ultimately we wanted to get back to basics. And so I wanted to wrap up this chat today with how this ties into making your new projects and making your new tools and making all the new technologies so much more functional
Doug Plucknette: When it comes to, let’s say, we’re putting in this new smart machine and I’m chuckling about this. Cause I’m going through an example that I worked on, just last year. Right? And it was my first example of a smart machine. It was for a food based company, their packaging with this machine at a tremendous rate. And man, it had lots and lots of sensors on it. Right. And you would hope that every single one of them would be identical. But if you’ve got one that’s there for ultrasonic or contact ultrasonic, let’s see, you have another one that’s for vibration. You have others that are temperature probes. You have others that are pressure, level, devices. Right. If you don’t get these things right, right? If you continue on with what you’ve been doing and you don’t enter these things in, and then next thing you know, you’ve got an alarm comes in, right.
Doug Plucknette: People are either going to, if they don’t understand how this works, so do one of two things, right? They’ll replace a device that’s not broken at all, because why should that alarm come in? I don’t understand it, because we have product there. It’s telling me there’s not product. And it must be a bad, bad switch. Well, do you really know that? Right? You have to have this information in here. Otherwise immediately what you’ve done is you’ve taken the functionality of that machine and made it like the rest of your other ones. Right? You just say, we’re not going to be able to understand or troubleshoot or maintain this properly. We’ll just replace components. Right. And we’ll keep replacing components until the machine works again. Right. So, how many of the ones that you replace actually needed to be replaced? Right. Understanding how this all fits together with the hierarchy and having this information available.
Doug Plucknette: Right? So that you can go back in and look and say, all right, with our new machine, what is failing most often on it? Right. Um, we can take this information and then compare it to the alarm screen on the machine and say, okay, what alarms are coming in most often, what’s going on with those devices, and how do we check those devices? What this gets into [inaudible: 00:23:48] development, failure modes. But if you have that information there, you can start setting it up for building, troubleshooting guys or building maintenance plans. All of this information has to be there to make your maintenance plan or your equipment maintenance plan viable. Tim, anything to add on that?
Tim Goshert: Well, I agree, you know, I think your example is what I’ve seen over and over again over the 25 years that I’ve been dealing with this subject. And it just, you know, with all the new tools and the speed at which change occurs today, it just makes it more critical to have a hierarchy that is set up correctly, that it’s standardized across your organization. And that is, has the information that you need to have your people maintain and keep equipment running successfully. So, it’s an extremely important, item and it’s number one on the list of the foundational elements for a reason,
Chris Pepin: Well gentlemen, I really very much appreciate your time today. For our audience, thanks for listening in. This has been one of a multi-part [inaudible: 00:25:12]. So, be sure to catch us on the next one. I’m Chris Pepin, this is Tim Goshert and Doug Plucknette and we’re on the manufacturing talent podcast. Thanks for listening in and have a great day.
Chris Pepin: Well, thank you for joining Tim, Doug and myself again. We encourage you to download the white paper, which you can find at our website www.proreli.Com so as you can find myself, Tim, and Doug on LinkedIn, we look forward to joining you on the next one.