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Maintenance's role in ISO 9000.

Without properly considering maintenance in the quest for ISO 9000, foundries can "quality themselves right out of existence."

Because of the international scope of manufacturing today, U.S. industries are being forced to accept the ISO 9000 quality concept if they wish to do business outside the country.

Proposing to become the standard of the world, it will give an overall definition of quality. This requires North America to use the ISO 9000 standards, rather than standards such as the Ford Q1 rating.

It appears that Japan will also have to eventually adopt the standard to do business in other countries. Since the Japanese are recognized as among the best at producing quality products, they should have little problem meeting the ISO 9000 standard. For the first time in history, quality will be a measurable item, rather than one that is interpreted differently in each country.

However, achieving ISO 9000 certification doesn't automatically solve all manufacturing problems. In the past, increased production, even that which came from increased productivity, didn't always result in better quality. In fact, the opposite was often the case.

The real challenge for manufacturers is producing goods that have top quality while attaining maximum productivity and output. If the required quality can't be accomplished with maximum output, then profitability will be adversely affected. It then becomes possible to "quality yourself right out of existence."

Starts with Maintenance

Like some of the other standards, ISO 9000 fails to directly address the maintenance aspects of quality. People responsible for implementing quality programs must ensure that the maintenance function is properly addressed. In the past, they have failed to recognize that in any manufacturing facility, the roots of quality and productivity are in maintenance.

To remain competitive and profitable, quality must become an input from quality maintenance, rather than a measurement of output and making after-the-fact adjustments. Much time and money have been spent trying to increase the quality and productivity for the production function, but comparatively little for maintenance.

Most production departments are now using the latest available technological advances to control their operations. They have computer-aided design capabilities, statistical quality/process control programs, and computers controlling scheduling, shipping, purchasing and routing. In addition, machine tools are being controlled by the computerized numerical control systems.

Consider how this relates to a maintenance department that still practices the reactive response, "When it breaks down, we fix it." Unfortunately, most upper managers still subscribe to the antiquated idea that all equipment exists in one of two conditions--running or down for repairs.

In reality, equipment nearly always falls somewhere between the two. It then becomes the responsibility of the maintenance department to keep it running as scheduled in the best possible (like new) condition. Only when this is done can productivity and quality be obtained with maximum output and profitability.

Tools/Personnel Needed

To attain maximum productivity, quality and output simultaneously, equipment must be operating at maximum efficiency. This means that it must be clean, properly adjusted, lubricated and maintained for a "like new" operation. Managers must provide the maintenance department with the proper tools and personnel to allow these conditions to exist.

The tools require the latest technology to allow the maintenance personnel to work with measured parameters, rather than relying on their own observations. These tools include:

Computer Maintenance Management System (CMMS). This system controls and minimizes paperwork, and ensures fast completion of work. It is used to publish, as required, the inspections, corrective work orders and reports on the history of any equipment piece. It stores information on all equipment--which can be retrieved and used on command--and does it in less time and with fewer people. CMMS can also be used to publish work schedules, balance work against the craftsmen available and keep track of all work. When properly used, it becomes the major planning tool for the maintenance department.

Preventive Maintenance. This refers to inspections made through the normal observations of the inspector. The conditions found are then noted on the inspection form and corrective work orders are issued for the necessary repairs. The work orders ensure that any observable, potential problems are identified and corrected before they cause a problem. The preventive maintenance work inspections are most effective when issued and tracked by CMMS.

Predictive Maintenance. Predictive maintenance is the use of the graphical representation of measured parameters to indicate equipment condition, and then making the necessary repairs before a breakdown occurs. Available technology for these measurements are vibration analysis, infrared thermography, tribology (oil analysis), ultrasonics and statistical equipment maintenance control (the application of statistical analysis to the maintenance function). All of these use the computers and computerized gathering equipment to take measurements and analyze them.

Computer reports are then analyzed and corrective action is taken. An effort is now being made to ingrate the reports with the CMMS to allow corrective work orders to be automatically issued when the established parameters are exceeded.

Profit Generator

Once the above are instituted, the facility can then move to the concept of total productive maintenance. This concept is a "marriage" between the maintenance and operating departments, with the operating personnel responsible for some of the inspections, lubrication and minor adjustments and repairs on the equipment.

To attain the quality required to meet ISO 9000, management must provide these capabilities for their maintenance departments. While the ISO 9000 program may be the impetus for upgrading the maintenance function, it is not the only reason for doing so. The major reason is to make the facility more productive, meeting the required quality standards with maximum output. When this occurs, the profitability of the company will be at the maximum. Then, and only then, will the maintenance function be seen in its true light of being a profit-generating department of the company.

Productivity Measurement

One factor that has kept management from providing the necessary funds to update the maintenance department is productivity measurement. Current practices measure maintenance productivity by the "hands-on" method. This method dictates the only time a craftsman is productive is when he turns a wrench or splices a wire. It further states that 35% is a very acceptable level.

What manager is willing to expend funds on a department that is, at best, only 35% productive? Under the "hands-on" concept, the best maintenance productivity is most likely to occur during a breakdown. If the breakdown could have been prevented by a proper preventive maintenance or predictive maintenance inspection (accomplished by an inspector not doing any hands-on activity), then the productivity attained is negative.

"Hands-off" = Productivity

When the technological advances mentioned are in place, there must be a new method used for calculating maintenance productivity. It must consider:

* the percentage of maintenance-related downtime calculated with respect to schedule run time for any piece of equipment.

* good parts produced as a percentage of the number of parts scheduled but not produced due to maintenance-related problems.

* actual number of parts produced in a given period (shift, day, week, etc.) as compared with the number of parts that could have been produced if the equipment were running at design capacity. Too often, maintenance repairs don't restore the equipment to run at design capacity, then new standards are accepted at a lower production level. This must not be allowed to happen.

With productivity calculated by this "hands-off" method, the expected productivity of the maintenance personnel should reach 95% or greater, with 90% being the lowest acceptable level. When this occurs, upper management will be assured that the funds expended on improving the technology available for the maintenance department has been well spent. And the maintenance function will begin to lose the accepted "necessary evil" image.

Then, the ISO 9000 standards can be met while retaining high output and productivity. The result will be maximum profitability.
COPYRIGHT 1993 American Foundry Society, Inc.
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1993, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

Article Details
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Title Annotation:International Standards Organization
Author:Norman, Richard M.
Publication:Modern Casting
Date:May 1, 1993
Previous Article:How to survive and profit from a quality audit.
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