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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): Well, ladies and gentlemen, welcome back to the manufacturing talent podcast. My name is Chris Pepin. I’m your host and the founder of Progressive Reliability. With me is Tim Goshert and Doug Plucknette. And today in our series, we’re going to be going through criticality analysis and how important it is to get that right, especially within the arts of our conversation around the basics, the fundamentals, the things you need to have in place before we can get into a lot of the newer technologies and the promise of things that you may be bringing into your facility at this point. With that, Doug, let’s start with you on criticality analysis.

Doug Plucknette (01:03): Yeah, Chris, criticality analysis is the second piece of the framework that we really need to talk about. And this is one that, you know, I’ve worked with well over a hundred companies now. And when I go out and start talking about doing RCM analysis, for example, I’ll ask, we should be doing this on a critical assets that’s having performance issues or equipment based failures. And when you say criticality analysis, sometimes you get that eye roll. And they say, well, we kind of know what our critical assets are, but we’ve never really done a formal ranking, or we’ve done a formal ranking, and it’s only a one through five or a, B, C, D E. And it didn’t really give us enough separation. We still have so many things that are all looked at as being equal, even though we don’t believe they are equal.

Doug Plucknette (01:58): And so we struggle to be able to schedule our maintenance because everything comes out a priority one. So, when we look at criticality ranking, that’s really just the first piece of what it can do for you is help you with planning and scheduling, but in reality, it’s there for multiple reasons. All right? And there are several things that we need to take into consideration when we’re looking at criticality. And every company kind of looks at this differently and Tim could probably speak well to, you know, the things that he looked at and doing this in different business units and Cargill through the years.

Tim Goshert (02:42): Thanks, Doug. The first thing I’ll say is what you heard is what I heard always too. And we know what our critical assets are. We don’t need to do this. And yeah, you’re right, at Cargill, I heard that a lot in the beginning. And the second thing is that we had criticality set up in our CMMS. But you’re right, it was either a one through five or an A through E criticality, really gotten in separation. So as we were doing our foundational elements, we found that, I think people realize that this is so important to do up front. So everybody has a shared idea in a business or a plan of what the critical assets are, because it really sets up you to do multiple things that need to be done. The first thing it does. And we’ll talk about this in some of our next podcasts

Tim Goshert (03:45): It really sets up which pieces of equipment do you have to have maintenance strategies set up on. First it points you in the right direction that you’re spending your time and effort on doing either an RCM or RCA on those critical assets. And it separates that. So this was very important that we get our maintenance strategies done or critical assets first, and our least critical assets. We, you know, the strategy may be just run to failure and then it, as you said, Doug, it really helped us in the planning role, when a planner had a choice between, you know, which work order should he be, he or she be working on and planning, obviously criticality is a important thing to look at first. Chris And then it really helps the scheduling team to schedule critical assets at the right time. So, this is such an important idea that it really needs to be done correctly and done upfront.

Chris Pepin (05:07): Actually, I wanted to go back to the beginning of your statements, because I’m curious how much assumption and bias takes place when it comes to people thinking they have an understanding of what’s going on, or this is important, or we all know. How often did you find that what everybody assumed, or maybe what certain divisions certain people would think is important versus others? I mean, in an organization as big as Cargill, I would imagine that was quite a thing to tackle.

Tim Goshert (05:36): Well, there was huge bias and it, depending on who did it or what groups, so therefore, it was really important to get a shared mindset within the organization. So you had to make sure that you included the right groups in the criticality assessment. You just couldn’t include operations, or you just couldn’t include maintenance, because they certainly had a view of what the most critical equipment was. But it may not be the most critical equipment to the organization because you left out environmental protection, you left out safety, you left out the quality people. You left out, maybe commercial people because certain product lines may mean more to a business than another product line. So it was, you know, if it’s not done correctly, it creates a huge bias. And you basically then have your team working on the wrong pieces of equipment possibly. So it was a big eye-opener once we started doing it correctly in Cargill, it was a big eye-opener. And in fact, there was lots of conversation around this topic to do it correctly,

Doug Plucknette (06:56): Well, if I can interject you, I can both tell stories endlessly about this, because personality takes over here too, right? If you get somebody who’s got a strong personality and they’re loud, right? They’re going to think [inaudible: 00:07:12] all of my stuff is the most critical, right? Cause that’s the area that I’m in charge of in this plant. Right? And so you get to that level of, okay, sometimes you need to take a step back, explain to people there are different levels of this as well, right? There’s your plant criticality analysis, right? This is what we’re talking about here, in terms of it’s a single plant, they’ve got 10,000 assets of those 10,000 assets, which are the most critical? There’s your corporate criticality analysis, right? I’ve got 12 business units. Right? And all those business units make different amounts of money for the company.

Doug Plucknette (07:47): Right? Which of those plants is the most critical. Right? And that might change depending on time of year. I know Tim had this with harvest season, right? And then you get back and you can step back further. Right? And you get to RCM where I start talking about criticality of a failure mode, right? A specific task. How do all those things relate to one another? Right? This was when I first joined [inaudible: 00:08:13], it was a struggle with them to get them to understand, look, I’m not talking about criticality of plant. You guys are working with companies to address that. When I come in to do an RCM analysis, I’m looking at criticality of a specific failure mode. We’re already working on a critical asset, right? So now we’re talking about where do we go to implement? What should we implement first? That’s what I want criticality for there. So this really has stages, right? In terms of what are we talking about? We talk about a plant. We talking about components. Are we talking about a company, right? Three different levels. And it’s important for people to focus on the level that they’re currently working on. Right? And the one, by the way, the one that is messed up the most is this one we’re talking about here. Right? The plant site, criticality analysis is extremely important. Right?

Chris Pepin (09:04): Where do we start? Beause that’s the real, you know, I mean there’s so many directions which we’ll go, Doug. How does somebody listening in the audience who understands the importance of that? How do they get it going? What’s the right point to just begin some inertia in the right direction here.

Doug Plucknette (09:22): And that’s the specialty of what we’re talking about. Last week we talked about hierarchy. You do that hierarchy first. So you’ve got to do that walk down. Once you’ve completed that walk down and you’ve got a great big master list of all your equipment that’s out there, write down to component level. Now you’re ready to start this. Right?

Tim Goshert (09:46): It’s really a process, Doug. You have to make sure that you have a process that you have a, first of all, you need a facilitator or somebody that has done it before, been there done, has been able to guide a group of people, the right share stakeholders to get answered the questions correctly you need. So that’s the first thing you start [inaudible: 00:10:13], then you have the second thing in the process is typically you need a tool some type of software tool [inaudible: 00:10:20], you know, it can be simple or not. That basically steps you through the different areas that are important to that plant and operation. And typically those are safety environment, production, quality, cost, and all those. So you need a tool that has a right and questions set up for that. And then you need to have a plan and schedule. Typically, you do it by, you know, area or department in a plant where you get the right people together with a facilitator and you walk through the entire equipment list for that department or area answering all those questions, and then the software tool.

Tim Goshert (10:54): And it can be very simple. [inaudible: 00:11:11] use Excel, Microsoft Excel or Access or something like that, but then it walks you through and you score what the criticality is of that thing. So it’s a process, you have to have somebody that knows what they’re doing, leading the process. You have to have the right questions, and then you have to have the right checks to make sure you get the proper distribution of criticality.

Chris Pepin (11:35): So given that, what are some of the biggest temptations for error? What are some of the biggest initial things that people want to try to do that we can eliminate for them or that get in the way when kicking off this kind of project?

Doug Plucknette (11:52): Well, number one, they want to try to simplify that ranking system, right? They want to use that number one through five. Oh, that makes it easier. A, B, C, D E. And in the end that doesn’t work. And I can tell you any company that does that ends up doing it over at some point in time, right? And it’s, by the way, it’s the most popular one that comes with CMMS. They’ll say, oh, we can’t use a one through a hundred or one through five hundred because our CMMS won’t support it. Now that’s not the truth. The truth is you need to call the company that put it together and say, hey, change that window for us, the requirements for us to accept a number of three digits instead of one, right? It’s something that’s typically that simple, but that’s the first mistake they make is they try to say, you know, we’re going to do one through five or A, B, C, D E.

Doug Plucknette (12:43): And they struggle with that. All right. The second piece would be, they try to jump into this on their own, and they end up with a lot of infighting over what the criteria should be. And Tim mentioned earlier, you know, using somebody that’s done this before, been there done that, has a process. Look at those first, right, context some people and say, hey, explain that process that you use for us, because we’re looking at getting this started. And we’d like to have somebody come in and help us with it. Those are probably the two biggest things. Tim, anything else on your end that you see in terms of stakes?

Tim Goshert (13:21): I think not having the right questions being asked when you go through the analysis. And that’s another one and the other, they tend to want to simplify it with only having one or two stakeholders in the process, meaning that it’s more difficult to get a team of six or eight together, which you may need instead of having one or two people, just you know, calling what the criticality is. And so those are probably the four major ones that I’ve seen in my experience in my time.

Doug Plucknette (14:05): Yeah. And when you look at that, the stakeholders, people often, they just forget about who needs to be involved. Right. And you’re talking six to eight people. So it’s maintenance, somebody from maintenance and operations. So there’s two, health safety, environmental group. There’s your third person, quality, forth person, shipping and receiving, there’s five, somebody from engineering, or six, your commercial people. [inaudible: 00:14:32] seven. Right? And why do those people need to be involved? Well, I can tell you just from one customer that I dealt with just two years ago, right, said, hey, yeah, we went and we did this. We ended up with a one through five ranking system. And we had with one being most critical and five being least. We had our loading docks as a four. Right? And then we came to realize that our loading docks were all supplied by the same power source. And when we lost that power, right. We couldn’t make our docs go up and down and we couldn’t get stuff out and we couldn’t get stuff in. Right? Oops. Right? I’ve seen the same things with compressed air, right, compressed air was a four. What, are you kidding me? Everything you got in your plant has some kind of valve, right, or air actuator device that if it’s not working, the machine ain’t running,

Chris Pepin (15:31): So the utilities get taken for granted. Yeah, so, this is obviously a tremendous complicated thing, and it’s kind of overwhelming just hearing about what’s [inaudible: 00:15:45]. So I’m curious to pull back and say, well, what are we getting from, and what are we getting to in getting this? I mean really, what’s the goal, what’s the end result. And what does it feel like? What does it look like for team members once they’ve completed, you know, seemingly overwhelming project to scope out and kick out one?

Doug Plucknette (16:04): Well, I think number one is the education process, right? There’s a company out there that the [inaudible: 00:06:13] run called the manufacturing game. And this is, I always say, this is probably the closest thing to that. You attend a criticality analysis and you’re going to learn all aspects of your business, right? When you bring up a certain machine, right? And you start talking about that and you say, well, what if this happens? And you don’t realize the impact that here’s what I see from my view, but what does the purchasing person see? What is the safety person see? What is the stakeholders see in terms of the business, right? It’s an eye-opener for that. And it’s also something that when it’s done, there’s no more arguing about what should we work on. Right? And that’s not only in terms of maintenance, it’s in terms of defect analysis. It’s in terms of where should we be applying our condition technologies? Where should we be upgrading our assets in terms of capital investment? Right?

Chris Pepin (17:11): It sounds like a great cure for personality too, in terms of, you know, like you said, certain people find things more critical than maybe the whole organization, if you have it that well documented and understood. It’s difficult for somebody to bully their way up the list when you have something that everybody’s worked hard on agreeing on, right?

Doug Plucknette (17:32): Yeah, absolutely. It’s a shared mindset of what’s important to the business, and then you have a prioritized list and it’s, you know, If you have a disagreement on working on this highly critical asset or one that’s much lower on the list, then the argument is very simple while we agreed before this happened that we would work on what’s most critical first, and therefore we work on this. So it really does take out, I think the disagreement and discussion and gives you a more objective way to strategize your action or whatever that action needs to be.

Chris Pepin (18:18): Yeah. Because there’s a thing that your values are what you value, not what’s written on a statement. I mean, it’s very popular to come up with mission and vision statement, and then put it on the wall and forget it and value other things entirely. If you actually worked this hard on it, everybody believes in it. Everybody has agreed and kind of work to get it where it is. Then you can start reinforcing it. What happens on that side? So say the project is done, the analysis is done right. Well, how do you go through the change actually, you know, following through what you’ve set up. What happens, you know, if you have the perfect document, you have the perfect analysis, where did the challenges keep coming?

Doug Plucknette (18:59): You need to implement the criticality within your EAM or CMMS system. If you do that, what that allows to do then allows your organization, your planners, your scheduling team, to use that piece of information, to make the right choice when they need to. And typically you would use that document to plan you’re in capital investments. possibly. You would use that document to, if you’re just starting your reliability improvement process. The next steps that come up is, hey, what’s our failure modes? And how do we make strategy? You would use that document to start with your most critical assets first. In fact, the most critical assets, you would use maybe a different process to understand what the failure modes are, then your least critical assets. And I think we’ll talk about that in an upcoming podcast with the three of us.

Chris Pepin (20:04): Wonderful. Well, I really appreciate it, Doug, as we’re wrapping this up, do you have anything else to consider, anything else we want to make sure that it’s really important for our audience to understand.

Doug Plucknette (20:16): I think it’s just important to point and also to the website and the fact that the white paper is going to be up there, and the list of things that you should be considering in your criticality analysis will be in that white paper. The only other thing that I talked about, or I think we briefly talked about was the questions, developing a question, is make sure you personalize them. There’s a lot of things out there that are a cookie cutter that aren’t going to be good enough. You need to personalize those questions to your business. That’s very important to getting a good product in the end.

Chris Pepin (20:51): Yeah. I don’t know about you, Doug, It’s really nice to have a framework to start with, but then you really have to edit and customize and mold that. So, you know, the temptation just, oh, well, this is what so-and-so has. You can miss a lot and to really go deep because of the long-term benefits or disadvantages of getting this right or wrong are so huge. So, with that, ladies and gentlemen, if we’ve got a really good start here in the white paper, you can find at our website, and we’ll have that posted there as well as the transcript of this conversation as well. So with that, Tim and Doug, thank you so much for your time today and the wisdom, and looking forward to getting into our next one building a maintenance strategy based on failure modes. So how to do [inaudible: 00:21:47] our next conversation. Thank you all for your time.

Chris Pepin (21:52): 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.

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