The Challenge –As many of you challenged with Implementing the results of FMEA’s or RCM analysis results have probably already experienced the question always arises “Will the Operator Routes on the PDA replace the traditional Operator Route Sheets?”
This is just one of many “Culture Change” issues that arises on the path from a “Reactive” culture to a “Proactive” one. One school of thought is that by making many of the Condition Based Maintenance(CBM) checks items on the Operators Daily Route, organizations can avoid the challenge of how to manage routes with frequencies that vary from 3 day to 7 day and options in between. However, this results in what is perceived as incomplete operator routes.
The source of the problem
The reason many organizations struggle with this aspect of implementing a CBM system is that many of the checks that appear on Operator Route Sheets are looking for components that have already failed (the solenoid valve that no longer opens or closes or the control panel bulb that has burned out).
During an MTA or RCM the reliability fundamentals that are followed direct the group to follow a CBM approach if the failure mode:
- Has a P-F interval that is long enough to allow the resolution of the failure without suffering the consequences of the failure.
- The P-F interval is consistent.
- The effort to apply the CBM approach is worth doing.
In addition to these considerations, the Organization is instructed that it is OK to check components more frequently that ½ the P-F interval especially if there is no additional cost i.e. “Operators are already there and therefore there is no extra cost”. This point is debatable. As a result, during the analysis a number of identified failures result in a decision of “No Scheduled Maintenance”.
However, on today’s Operator Route Sheets, these “No Scheduled Maintenance” failures show up as daily checks since these Route Sheets are comprised of checks of components that “Have Already Failed” along with components that are “In the Process or Failing”
The best solution to this issue is dependent on the culture of the organization and their tolerance to change.
- If the culture of the organization is very resistive to change, a possible solution would be routes that include checks that would be considered as “No Scheduled Maintenance” in an MTA or RCM analysis. This solution will produce routes that are similar to existing Operator Routes but run the risk of becoming extremely large since Operator Routes cover a significant number of failures although they are not always explicitly identified as points on a route. This approach will allow the organization to overcome some of the cultural change impact but may introduce some other challenges.
It should also be noted that most of the CBM checks that appear on these Daily operator routes, in fact have a P-F interval that is often much longer than 2 days. This obviously makes sense since a P-F interval of only 2 days leaves very little time to prevent the consequences of the failure and would probably end up as a No Scheduled Maintenance or a Redesign in the analysis. Remember that a correctly Facilitated and Implemented Work Identification Analysis should have P-F intervals that are as accurate as possible. This always allows the option of putting the inspection on a route that is more frequent but still ensures that the P-F on the Failure Mode is retained in the event of future changes to any route frequencies.
- If the culture of the organization is more receptive to change, an alternate option is to create Operator Inspection Routes that are more closely tied to the actual P-F intervals. This will result in Operator routes that must be performed at frequencies of 5, 7 days or more. The issue with this approach is that you are now asking the Operators to manage inspections that do not fall into their regular routine and must also be managed. This approach also provides a clear distinction between the normal Operator Routes and the CBM Checks that the Operators are being asked to perform.
- The issue that often drives the Operators desire that the Routes contain all the checks they are presently performing is the feature of Integration to their CMMS. This integration now offers the added advantage of automating the process of generating a Corrective Action in the CMMS without having to go through the often annoying job of finding the asset in the CMMS and creating the necessary Work Request.
Another solution to this challenge is to create 2 separate routes for a system (one containing the CBM checks and another containing the No Scheduled Maintenance checks). Although this option may appear to address the desires of the Operators to make their life easy, it also adds a great deal of additional administration.
Other suggestions to improve the ease of use of pda’s
The expectation of an Operator as they walk their route is that all things should be running as expected. They are therefore looking for exceptions. This approach is facilitated in the Ivara PDA’s through the “Default to Normal” function that allows the Operator to record that all things were operating as expected except for any noticed “Non Normal’s”. This approach works well except for the cases where the Operators are expected to enter a Numeric Value for an Indicator. Implementations should always take the approach that unless a Numeric Entry is required for Trending or as an input to a Calculation there is no need to require a numeric entry. As all Operators will tell you, they often check that their equipment is operating within accepted norms by checking that a gauge needle is within the “Normal” range. Therefore, if the Implementer uses the approach of defining ranges for Normal and Alarm in a Visual Indicator, the Operator can take advantage of the “Default to Normal” approach and therefore avoid having to enter Numerical Readings where they provide no benefit.
It’s not magic…
There is no magic answer to the question of how to address the Change Management introduced to an organization as part of an Asset Reliability Initiative. Perhaps the most important points are:
- Have Senior Management clearly communicate thegoals and objectives of the initiative.
- Ensure that the Senior Management Team follows up regularly with the Program to ensure that all employees understand the importance of the initiative and that the changes that are introduced, although they may be uncomfortable, are worthwhile.