Maintenance Strategy

Defect Elimination

The key to becoming a “high reliability” organisation through defect elimination is recognising that defect elimination applies to all defects not only the root causes of downtime and production losses as identified by the bad actors.

Defects can be described as: “Anything that erodes value, reduces production, compromises HSE (health, safety and environment), or creates waste.”

Defects can include leaks, looseness, vibration, excessive heat, missing or broken parts, wrong materials or parts, poor documentation and lack of precision maintenance. Defect elimination also can include the process of mistake proofing. For example, staff members should make a list of work-arounds currently in place, poorly written procedures and maintainability, safety and ergonomic issues as a starting point to becoming a “high reliability” organisation.

Therefore defect elimination is very much part of the overall preventative maintenance program.

A defect can be introduced during the design phase, installation phase, or operational phase.

A defect will go on to manifest themselves later – such that the failure of assets or equipment is the consequence of unattended early defects.

Defect elimination, if successfully implemented, can result in a significant reduction in failures by dealing with the early onset of failure mechanisms. This is achieved with: staff training, creation of cross-functional teams,         operator involvement in basic preventative maintenance.

The goal should be to engage the entire workforce in defect elimination by using action teams as a means of creating a culture that encourages equipment improvement as a normal part of the everyday job.

  • Conduct defect elimination training for all maintenance staff.
  • Create cross-functional action teams.
  • Identify asset system proprietors. Have the reliability engineer walk down the system with the proprietor.
  • Conduct operator training on failure mode identification.
  • Conduct maintenance staff training on precision maintenance.
  • Tracking results: Leadership should track plant availability, production improvement, ownership buy-in, and defects identified and eliminated monthly. Also, calculate and record avoidance cost.
  • Create a defect elimination goal or statement in the form of posters or messages. The message of this poster should encourage staff to:
  • Do everything possible to avoid defects from being introduced.
  • Emphasize precision maintenance, pride in work and extending the life of assets.
  • Do everything possible to avoid defects from being introduced.
  • Emphasize precision maintenance, pride in work and extending the life of assets.
  • Enhance job planning, optimize procedures by adding clarity and use the right procedures with the right skills and the right materials with the right lubricants.
  • Mistake proof systems and assets.
  • Schedule brainstorming sessions and use quality circles to solicit new ideas.
  • Make sure proper evidence gathering is performed when repairing assets.
  • Support management goals to promote staff education, for example, precision maintenance training and ability to recognize problems/hazards.
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