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TOP TIPS FOR MAINTAINING STEADY PRODUCTION

17-01-2017
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In an exclusive interview with Marcus Evans, industry veteran Fernando Biroccesi, Maintenance Manager of Operations for Viterra Australia, talks about the best ways to manage the maintenance of a production plant to ensure maximum productivity and uptime.

As companies are learning, intra-company communication is absolutely crucial to the smooth operation of any production line. Departments within the company rely heavily on maintenance to produce results.

Fernando Biroccesi suggests that it is very important to create a “customer culture” in your maintenance department.

“Maintenance has to consider production as its best valued customer and treat them as such by developing the best and most effective communication [strategies],” he says.

“Today, despite the available technology: emails, text, phone, video conference etc, companies still have a lot of issues achieving the best and most effective communication. There is not one simple formula to achieve effective communication but… maintenance needs to have a clear vision of their role in the company providing the best possible service to production.”

While there is no single route towards effective communication, developing a policy that ensures documented, specific, and regular communication of the requirements of each department is a strong first step.

This policy of communication and documentation extends to the machinery in each department, not just the people.

“In order to help business decisions before any investment on equipment, it is necessary to know the history of the equipment as best possible. All equipment should have historical data on jobs done, associated costs and downtime due to maintenance. This information should provide reliability information versus cost,” says Biroccesi.

“If the maintenance department has statistics, root cause analysis data, and associated costs, the business managers could have the initial information before defining the best way to invest their resources.“

It is also important to combine the collected data with a comprehensive asset management plan. These plans should include risk assessments, expected lifespans, projected costs, and an overview of options for replacement of parts or entire machines.

Of course, the best way to minimise the costs of maintenance and repair is to prevent failures and breakdowns before they occur. Any maintenance plan should include a thorough assessment of preventative measures, in addition to strategies for minimising downtime through after-event maintenance.

“Increased equipment reliability is a combination of significant changes involving coordinated actions between management, production and maintenance. This needs constant attention,” says Biroccesi.

“Working in conjunction with the machinery operator who will detect early sign of failure. Attend the operator report as soon as is practicable and verify the information (once again, communication should be effective).”

Biroccesi elaborates, producing a brief list of actions that maintenance should adhere to:

  • Don’t just fix the problem, ask “why” the issue happened and potentially identify the root cause of the problem;
  • Request for operator feedback, as operators have a good working knowledge of the machinery;
  • Record all actions done for further analysis;
  • Define the frequency to check the equipment in the future.
  • Maintain an active work culture that promotes safety and encourages all staff to take responsibility.

“There is always room for improvement to perform maintenance better and more efficiently,” he says.

Fernando Biroccesi will be giving an expanded presentation on business and maintenance management at TPM 2017, Marcus Evans’ annual conference for maintaining the performance and maximising the profit of production plants.

For more information, visit Marcus Evans Australia, and check out the speakers list for TPM 2017. 

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