MRO Q&A: Cut OEE Costs While Maintaining Efficiencies

A reader asks how to cut costs without decreasing operational efficiencies.

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Q: Our production OEE [overall equipment effectiveness] is over 80 percent, but my preventative maintenance costs are way too high. How can I cut costs without decreasing my efficiencies?

A: The first step is to get agreement from the leader of the operations team that the preventative costs are indeed too high. Once there is buy-in to address this issue there are several potential issues you can consider.

Analyze the frequencies of your replace routines and compare them to the failures that have occurred. If no failures have occurred, it is likely the frequency is too short. This is normally overlooked on the basis of “if it ain't broke, don't fix it,” but if your costs are too high, it's broke!

The second issue to consider is the use of the repair kits assembled for your replacement routines. Kits are normally assembled based upon all the parts a mechanic may need to do a complete job. At the time of the repair, all those parts may not need to be replaced, but because they are there, the mechanic replaces them. One method to fine-tune this is to require the parts that have been replaced to be kitted back up by the mechanic and given to the planner that developed the list for the kits for his/her review. They can then be analyzed for wear and appropriate coaching can occur.

Another area to consider is matching the right labor for the right job. Many organizations have moved the lubrication function from higher paid mechanics to production workers due to its repetitive nature. This is being done in organizations utilizing Total Productive Maintenance programs.

Last but not least is “wait and travel time.” This is the single largest productivity detractor. Analyze storeroom and shop locations relative to production locations. Consider having parts kits staged at the location where the work will take place, prior to the shift. Also consider satellite locations for vendor inventoried parts (nuts, bolts, etc.) to save having to go back to the storeroom.

As in all cost reduction efforts, move deliberately and thoughtfully.

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