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Maintenance Success Story

The plan developed allowed attrition to continue to reduce head count over the next few years while maintaining or increasing the production rates at the facility.


Our client was a 13.2 million square foot facility employing 16,500 employees. The Facilities Group was made up of 1340 employees of whom approximately 700 were hourly employees involved in the maintenance of the facility.


In 1995 the company consolidated the Facilities organizations into one organization. Process management was viewed as the way to improve cost and performance of the new Facilities organization. For five years the company engaged in a major initiative to increase the effectiveness of the company’s maintenance processes, including the planning and scheduling of work and reliability improvements. The company's efforts followed typical methods:  Process design was performed by local and corporate teams of knowledgeable company process owners using industry best practices as their template.  Implementation was achieved by cascading individual process changes through management to line employees.


Documentation for the new processes was provided on local and corporate web sites.  Over the last five years the company had achieved several major changes within their commercial groups including:

  • Asset Management including the development of a methodology to track asset Reliability and Prioritize the company's assets

  • Plan of the Day, Plan of the Week and Plan of the Shift Meetings to manage daily work

  • Developed a Maintenance Analyst for Planning and Scheduling work

  • Developed a Reliability process including the implementation of Reliability Engineers across the organization and implementation of Reliability Centered Maintenance Metrics Definition to manage the company's processes


As a result, uptime improved in some areas from 92% to 98% on critical equipment.  However the company had not seen the step change they felt possible.  The company felt there was room for substantial improvements.  This was especially the case as the company looked at their metrics of "Planned to Proactive" work and "Schedule Compliance". These metrics had flattened out and we were not seeing any changes in early 1999.  There was a lot of room for improvement to make the new processes fully operational at the line level.  Namely, the understanding and use of the new processes by craftsmen, supervisors and planner/schedulers was less than desirable.


The company’s most critical need was to strengthen implementation deeper into the organization and truly drive a cultural change that would make a difference in the organization.


In order to truly achieve cultural change it was going to require an individual to work one-on-one with each individual in the organization in order to drive the cultural change required to move from reactive to a proactive culture. Cultural change was not going to happen by a class or a demonstration but though one-on-one interaction to address the concerns of each individual about the changes which were taking place. But there was only one Process owner at the sight who understood the desired change and what it was the company was trying to achieve.  It was about this time that the company hired a consulting group to assist them in the cultural change they needed to undergo. Their approach to change was different than any other consultants the company had encountered and fit with the realization that change happens on a one to one individual basis. Working with them, the company formed a team not of process experts but of knowledgeable employees from the organizations that would be using the processes. The team included representation from maintenance management, maintenance hourly, maintenance analyst (planner/schedulers), materials, production and reliability engineering.


This "Core Team" led the effort to both refine existing processes and implement the cultural change throughout the entire site.  Using our process templates and project approach, the team worked to identify and fill gaps in the current Advanced Maintenance Process (Advanced Maintenance Process). The team reviewed all the existing processes that had been developed to date but not fully implemented across the organization and accomplished the following:

  • Strengthened linkages between Advanced Maintenance Process sub processes

  • Formalized processes and roles for job planning

  • Implemented a Deviation Process to document and address problems in the overall Advanced Maintenance Process

  • Clarified roles and responsibilities for all participants in the maintenance processes

  • Once the team completed their design work, they conducted a Brown Paper fair for all employees across all three shifts

  • The team's purpose was to review the proposed enhanced process with the entire employee population (in their work areas), soliciting further input and refinement

  • Hundreds of individual ideas and concerns were sorted, categorized and integrated into the final design of the enhanced Advanced Maintenance Process

  • An extensive communication program was initiated to demonstrate how everyone's input had been taken into account


This approach to process design allowed the client to reach levels of initial employee acceptance and buy in the company had never seen before. People they either knew personally or knew worked in the same operation as they had designed the process. These people brought to the table their experience and knowledge of their work environment which was worked into the design of the process.


At this point, the Core Team transitioned from a design focus to implementation training and coaching. The team developed and delivered training sessions for groups of all employees with any responsibility in the maintenance processes. Immediately following the training sessions, the team followed up in the work areas as process coaches.  The Core Team went through training and teaming up with area management in preparation for the new process coaching role. Process coaching is a structured method to support new process implementation deep into an organization.  It consists of two major elements:


One-on-one coaching of each individual employee in the live work place "Huddles" at the area and district levels to clarify process questions or correct unforeseen process problems.  The one-on-one coaching assured that individual employees were able to perform their responsibilities in the live, day to day environment. Coaches went onto all shifts to work with the work force, watching them perform their part in the process, giving them feedback and taking "issues" to and from daily huddles.  The daily huddles served to address questions and issues and quantitatively track employees' ability to perform the process in the area management organization. Questions and issues that were not clearly explained by existing process documentation were brought to a weekly Implementation Team work session for resolution and dissemination. As an interesting aside, the coaching process created a forum for communication and education on site policy and procedure in general. At one point as much as fifty percent of the question coming up dealt with processes or procedures that were either outside of or peripheral to the enhanced Advanced Maintenance Process.


We established a highly credible Core Team of operations knowledgeable (versus process knowledgeable) from all levels and all organizations to enhance the design of the Advanced Maintenance Process. The process templates were used over a thirteen week period to strengthen the existing processes and upgrade all documentation and training materials.  Conducted process reviews with over 1300 employees (maintenance, production, materials, engineering all levels) on all shifts. The reviews generated 700 individual bits of input that were consolidated into 32 themes that were integrated into the Enhanced Advanced Maintenance Process.  Restructured the organization establishing a Centralized Planning and Scheduling Group to administer all planned work and provide weekly schedules to the Maintenance Shops. This allowed the company to put into place the planning discipline that had not existed previously under a single point of management accountability. It also allowed the company to achieve standardization that had not existed before within their planning and scheduling.


In turn they achieved objective focus on workload and performance measurement.  Conducted process training for 1300 employees (maintenance, production, materials, and engineering) across the site on all shifts. The training, delivered in small group sessions, included a process overview and focus on those steps in the process that the attending trainees would be responsible to perform. The training, accomplished entirely by the Core Team, was accomplished over an eight week period with the maintenance organizations being completed in the first two to three week.  Conducted one-on-one coaching with 700 employees (primarily maintenance) to assure process understanding and compliance. The coaching by the Core Team was accomplished over approximately three months. The coaching actually never entirely ceases. It is passed to area management as part of their permanent responsibilities.  The company reduced the overtime within the organization by 20%, which resulted in substantial savings, freeze on hiring and have let attrition reduce headcount levels by 15%.


Due to the process the company was able to reassign employees to other jobs that focused on improving reliability. With a total workforce of 700 hourly people the company is anticipating to have 150 to 200 people to reassign to other work. The plan developed allowed attrition to continue to reduce head count over the next few years while maintaining or increasing the production rates at the facility.

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