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Posts Tagged ‘Problem solving’

TPM Principles & Application

Saturday, June 11th, 2011

Back in 2009, KCTS starting blogging about Total Productive Maintenance which has been a core system within KCTS since it started in 1998.

Read it again below:

TPM Principles & Application

What is it?

TPM means Total Productive Maintenance. TPM is about involving everyone in creating and sustaining the necessary standards in their own areas. The standards must continually challenge the organisation to get better results as fast as possible.

A number of techniques are used to get the involvement and change in standards which are needed to deliver better results.

The techniques are often shown as a “TPM Temple”. This demonstrates that the techniques all aim to reduce Losses & Wastes, often measured by OEE, and apply to any organisation no matter the structure or products. Each technique has a number of Key Steps which need to be done to get the involvement and change in standards which are needed to deliver better results. The techniques focused upon within this programme are:

•    Focused Improvement, also called Continuous Improvement or Kaizen
•    Autonomous Maintenance
•    Professional Maintenance, also called Condition Based & Planned Maintenance
•    5S, also called Workplace Organisation
•    TPM Loss & Waste programme including OEE, Overall Equipment Effectiveness

Other techniques which may be applied as part of TPM are:
•    Safety, Health & Environment, reducing accidents, illness & emissions
•    Training & Education, improving consistency and delivery of knowledge
•    Early Management, improving the way new products and process are introduced
•    Quality Maintenance, reducing quality problems
•    TPM in Administration, involving people who work in offices and helping change standards in the offices to deliver better results

TPM aims to reduce losses to ZERO. This can be an extremely tough target for some losses, but ultimately satisfying for the people where the losses occur when achieved.

When to use it?

Identification of the type of problem can help work out the plan on how to solve it. Autonomous Maintenance and Professional Maintenance can eliminate sporadic problems by getting reliability back into the process, the area or the activities. Quality Maintenance will improve reliability of the process further to reduce quality defects. Other parts of TPM that can eliminate chronic problems include Focused Improvement, 5S Workplace Organisation and Training & Education.

What does it achieve?

Ownership of problems is only possible when people within the area, or activity, where the problem occurs can be involved in its elimination. TPM focuses people on creating and updating standards to share learning and tackle common problems. TPM delivers results faster than tackling problems in an unstructured way.

TPM aims to reduce losses to ZERO.

Key steps:

1.    Visit the area, or observe the activity, and investigate the problem
2.    If the problem relates to Safety, Illness or Emissions, select Safety, Health & Environment techniques to eliminate the problem.
3.    If the problem occurs regularly, every shift or every day or every week the problem is Chronic
4.    Select Focused Improvement, 5S or Training & Education when there are Chronic problems
5.    If the problem occurs regularly, every month or every year or every few years the problem is Sporadic
6.    Select Autonomous Maintenance and Professional Maintenance or Quality Maintenance as an improvement tool when there are Sporadic problems.
7.    Visit the area, or observe the activity, and check the problem has been eliminated


•    Most people do not mind changing, but most people mind being changed. The way that people are involved is crucial and standards must be written by those who work within the area, or activity. These standards must be communicated and reviewed by the other people who also work within the area, or activity.

16 Major Losses – revisited

Tuesday, November 9th, 2010
Written By: Cordell Hensley – KCTS Consultant

The Value of Information

In a blog posted back in July we talked about why businesses should record data. “The main purpose of recording factory losses is to understand where we are losing time, speed, quality and ultimately money. This allows us to focus our (limited) resources by identifying the big problems across the manufacturing elements of our factory and profit centres”. Is that enough though? Do we always get it right?

I was recently working with a client who called us in to help them sort out their problems with machine availability. The site had a good data collection system in place (or so we thought) and their data was telling them that their biggest problem was with breakdowns. We agreed to develop an internal planned maintenance system but during the first visit, after trying to figure out their specific data recording and reporting system I realised that breakdowns were NOT their biggest problem.

The site had been recording breakdowns, changeovers, cleaning time and unplanned production, but there was no data recording for minor stoppages. Effectively the site captured the easy data, and assumed the rest of the time was productive. In fact there was a large gap between what the machines produced when they ran and what they should have produced given the amount of time that they ran.

For example, if they were supposed to produce 1000 units per hour, and only produced 800, the remaining time was unaccounted for unless there was an actual breakdown. When we dug further we found that breakdowns were not the biggest problem, minor stoppages were.

The company had losses of around 10% due to breakdowns, and over 15% due to minor stoppages. Of course we still set up their maintenance system as requested, they still wanted to reduce the 10% of downtime losses, but we also introduced an improved data collection system to capture the details of where these minor stoppages were occurring so we could begin to tackle these issues

Recording data will help you identify your losses and focus your efforts in the right area; however, this is only the case if you record the right data! Think about what information you need – does your data collection provide the right information? Is it at the right level of detail?

Data is just data until we convert it into information – but if we aren’t looking for the right information, then we won’t be recording the right data.

Problem Solving

Thursday, November 4th, 2010
Written By: Malcolm Newman – KCTS Consultant

Delivery: On Time and In Full: But At What Cost?

New Product Introduction: Delivery Crisis was a Major Threat to Business.

I have just spent three days helping out a client with a serious delivery crisis due to the introduction of several new products for a major customer. They are a medium sized component manufacturer with a good reputation, experienced team of people and a range of technologies.

I will not go into how they got into the situation but it was the usual production headache; design, late changes, equipment, tools and methods are …. Well let’s say for this particular component they just don’t work! “The customer has launched the product and demand is better than plan;” said Plant Manager David. “I just have to deliver!’. But at what cost!”

When I arrived the team had been working all hours trying to get parts out the door. They had an agreed minimum quality sample. The customer needed 400 per day but Kev, one of the best operators could make only 1 piece every 2 minutes and only 60% were good enough, nobody else could do the job. Roughly speaking he needed to work 22 hours a day!

This was over and above the regular busy schedule of the normal business. The team; managers, engineers and operators were exhausted.

This is where the consultant has the advantage. Focused on the single issue with no axe to grind I could see the issues clearly. First action was to draft a plan. A plan that would stabilise the situation to keep the customer satisfied, return the operation to normality and save the team from certain failure and personal breakdown.

In these situations I find the solution lies in foundation tools. Standardisation, Standard Operating Procedures and Systematic Training work effectively to achieve the necessary results. We needed to develop a Standard Operation and then train people to the same skill as Kev – he is good but not superhuman.

To carry out a detail task analysis, draft SOP, test and verify them with any team is a challenge; with a team that is at breaking point working against the clock you have to be confident of your plan and processes.

Within the first day I had enough detail to start training an operator from the next shift, building their skill and confidence to be close to Kev’s quality. A second operator was trained so now we were starting to see progress; enough for the exhausted managers to go home and get some sleep.

By the following day we had two operators on all three shifts able to work to the quality standard and the reject rate was improving as their skill developed.

Now the parts were flowing to the customer so everyone was a bit more relaxed.

With the situation stabilised I could start on the improvement work. The current method worked but at a high cost. Now that everyone was a little calmer I could use the team to eliminate waste and get the process flowing. Within 2 days we had developed the methods and standardised procedures to be better than the original cost estimates.

Before I left I reflected with David who was still badly bruised by the experience. They had the tools and procedures in place and used them regularly. Why when under pressure do we throw away the procedures that ultimately save us? He still has a great deal to do in understanding the root cause of this crisis and putting in countermeasures to avoid a repeat; but that is another story.

Until the next time!

KCTS Resource Issue 9 – July 2010

Friday, July 9th, 2010

We have just released the July Issue of the KCTS Resource: In this month’s issue we’ll be taking a look Risk and Risk Assessment and Health and Safety in the workplace, as well as, how Overall Equipment Effectiveness can be a foundation stone to any Lean Improvement Programme.

There is also the regular features, including; a couple of Lean/TPM puzzles to test your mind with; a Press Release about the success of Instructor Course 13 which happened over in China; a Case Study on using SMED for our client in their Zevenaar factory, The Netherlands; and we’ll be catching up with KCTS consultant, Malcolm Newman, and finding out what he has been up too over the last 6 months.

Also our free downloads this month include the ‘Targets Settings & Sharing’ and ‘Business Performance or Local Measures’ knowledge sheets, and List of Risk worksheet. Plus you will be able to download the PDF of this month’s KCTS Resource, all for Free!

Engineering Analysis Problem

Thursday, May 13th, 2010

As part of our problem solving training course we sometimes get asked to evaluate machinery and processes. This is to establish the root cause of the failure which sometimes involves some interesting investigational work.

Take a look at this problem which we recently came across and see if you can establish some details about what happened here.

What Happened Here?

The shaft below has been broken into 2 pieces, one half is shown at the failure edge. Use your engineering skills to analyse what contributed to the visual marking and hence deduce the root cause of the break. (Hint: there are five failure modes visible, start by identifying them and then work out the correct sequence).

Broken Shaft

We will post the answer along with our next blog.

Meet M.I.C.K

Thursday, April 15th, 2010

Mobile Investigation Camera Kit

We have recently sold one of our M.I.C.K kits to a client in Finland, and thought it would be a great opportunity to tell you a bit more about the Kit and how it could help you in your factory.

The KCTS Mobile investigation Kit or M.I.C.K. for short is the secret weapon in our media department arsenal. Developed in-house in liaison with our clients the main purpose of this equipment is to offer a fully portable solution to filming onsite production process problems for further offsite or offline investigations into chronic or sporadic problems.

When there is a particular issue with a process, the best way to  identify what is happening is to see and record the issue “actually happening” in real time. Of course “seeing it happen” can be difficult if it’s not continually happening or only happens very quickly.

MICK contains all the equipment needed to successfully capture machine problems and to analyse them on the spot.
Mobile – All contained in one unit which can be easily moved and separated for hard to access areas.
Investigation – For use in problem solving scenarios to capture and analyse failures/abnormalities on site.
Camera – The kit uses high quality, easy to use, light and portable cameras.
Kit – Everything supplied (cameras, lights, tripods, clamps, strobe robe, LCD monitor and DVR) for machine investigation work.

The kit is split into two main sections – equipment storage and recording/analysis. The Equipment section contains everything needed to mount and position the cameras easily and add extra lighting. Each camera has 30 metres of cable so large areas can be covered. The Recording and Analysis facility consists of an LCD flat screen monitor and a four-channel DVR which enables all four cameras to record simultaneously. Each camera image can be viewed full screen or with all four images on the same screen. A user friendly manual is provided which gives simple and easy to follow instructions on setting up and using the equipment.

Once the cameras are set-up they are connected to the DVR using colour coded connections using the patch panel at the front of the machine. The DVR is simplicity in itself to setup and start recording. The cameras include many features to enhance recordings such as; variable shutter speeds, zoom capacity and motion detection.

The DVR has extensive features to analyse the captured video. It employs easy- to-use search facilities to help pin point any problems. The section of the recording where the problem happened can be played back frame by frame using the jog/ shuttle facility. The captured videos can also be analysed remotely, by taking the hard disk out of the DVR and viewing the problems on a remote PC. The MICK kit is most effective when used on specific problem projects in conjunction with our Problem Solving workshops.

Focused Improvement Problem Solving

Tuesday, March 30th, 2010

Details on our 5 Day Training Course for Focused Improvement Major Kaizen.

Course Content:
•    Theory and practical application of Focussed Improvement techniques for resolving chronic or complex factory     problems.
•    Roles and responsibilities of a Focussed Improvement project team member.
•    Experience of either leading a teams and / or effective team working.
•    Understanding of Phenomena statements, Principles and Parameters, Measurement, Documentation, Communication & Root Cause Analysis (5 Why), Risk Assessment and Configuration control.

Course Benefits:
Candidates will gain theoretical training and practical experience of how to lead and complete a focussed improvement project and a good understanding of the Focussed Improvement methodology.

Course Overview:
This is one of the higher level WCM training courses run as an integral part of the WCM TPM programme within an organisation. It is designed to build on other Total Productive Maintenance experiences and provide the skills and knowledge to help solve more complex or chronic site problems. The Course is designed to create focussed improvement practitioners who can lead (or be involved in) Focussed Improvement projects in their own Plant and support the implementation of WCM.

Candidates will be continually assessed / coached during the course. A written examination on the final day to check understanding is normally set based on the organisations discretion. Delegates who fail may be given an oral examination to clarify their understanding of the course.
The Course is normally residential on a factory site and run over 5 days (Monday to Friday inclusive) this excludes any travelling time.
To reinforce the knowledge gained on the course and to deliver benefits for their own site, delegates are expected to lead and complete a focused improvement project in their own factory within 100 days of returning from the course. Immediately following the course, the host site Black Caps are expected to complete the course FI projects and implement the solutions.
The Course normally has places for up to 12 delegates although larger courses are possible by negotiation.  Delegates are usually ‘not’ from the host site due to the amount of course preparation / supervision.

Problem Solving Training

Monday, March 22nd, 2010
Written by: Lee Oxton

Focused Improvement Activity Board

Last week we successfully completed a problem solving project in the Netherlands. Our brief was to eliminate a reoccurring defect on a 1400 tonne injection moulding machines using Focused Improvement, which is part of the Total Productive Maintenance methodology.

KCTS trained 5 of the client personnel to practitioner standard in Focused Improvement which enabled the project to be completed with savings of €10,000 per year. The newly trained practitioners also completed another problem solving project in the same week resulting in an extra saving of €5,000 per year. Also as part of the course, the largest Customer Complaint issue on the 800 tonne injection moulding machine was eliminated.

Course Overview

Focused Improvement Standard Kaizen is one of the middle level WCM training courses run as an integral part of the WCM TPM programme within an organisation. It is designed to build on other Total Productive Maintenance experience and provide the skills and knowledge to help solve more complex site problems. The Course is designed to create focussed improvement practitioners who can lead (or be involved in) Focussed Improvement projects in their own Plant and support the implementation of WCM.

Quick Kaizen Problem Solving Tool

Tuesday, September 29th, 2009

The Quick Kaizen tool is a method of recording our progress in solving a simple problem.

When to use it?
•    Daily meeting problems.
•    5S Organisation problems.
•    Minor stops on machines.
•    Any other problem where people disagree on the potential quick solution.
•    The problem will be typically solved within one day, and will take less than 2 hours actual effort.

What does it achieve?
Quick Kaizen gives focus to an area or activity problem and allows us to monitor the potential solution methods. This helps us to keep track of reported proof tests and to logically decide on the best solution(s).

Sample of a Quick Kaizen worksheet

Key steps
1.    Draw/Sketch the problem and add any necessary comments to clarify the precise issue.
2.    List the potential causes of the problem.
3.    For each cause, identify a test/check and how to perform the test/check.
4.    Assign each test/check to an individual and record whether each is a cause Yes/No.
5.    Agree a list of actions to solve all identified causes.
6.    Assess the risks of all potential solutions.
7.    When all actions are complete, monitor problem is solved and enter completed date.



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