The Method Used in a PWW EAM System-of-Reliability to Ensure Processes and Procedures Deliver Top Quality Results
The following eight steps start an organization toward operational excellence and are free to do. If your organization seeks operational excellence quality and performance begin with them. They give you the right lead to world class operating results and productivity. They are in keeping with the recommendations W. Edwards Deming wrote about in his book “Out of the Crisis’ for attaining operational excellence.
- Start by doing nothing but to plot all KPI’s and PIs collected in the operation on individual run charts. Are they stable?
- Plot each run chart’s distribution. Are the curves tightly over the required performance?
- Investigate the history of the unsatisfactory distributions to learn why they are not to intended requirements.
- Meet everyone involved, one-on-one, for as long as it takes, and ask what they think are their roles and duties as explained in the operational definitions that are their responsibility.
- Review all deficient operational definitions and with input of the users’ research and correct them so they will produce the required distributions.
- Train and practice the relevant people to properly do the improved operational definitions.
- Plot run charts and their distributions from doing the updated operational definitions.
- Start back an No. 1 and repeat the steps where the results are still not to requirements.
Keywords: operational definition, standard operating procedure, SOP, work instructions, job procedure, continuous improvement, quality control, QC, quality assurance, QA
Top 3 EAM system insights this article helps you to appreciate:
- Use run charts and distribution plots as ‘windows’ into your processes and practices.
- The path to operational excellence quality and performance begins with having accurate and effective standard operating procedures, work instructions, and operational definitions.
- Detail exactly in processes and procedures how to do quality control and quality assurance that ensures in-control and capable results.
For a quarter of a century, I thought that I was an inept craftsperson machinist. One lathe machining job haunted me and made me feel incompetent—a 500 mm long, 80 mm diameter complex spool used in borehole drilling equipment and worth the wages I earnt in a month. I tried to make four of them on a lathe and scrapped them all. I was so embarrassed I left the company.
Not knowing what happened and why it happened drove me to understand why I could not machine the spool to the design drawing even though I was a certified craftsman machinist. It was not until 25 years later reading W. Edwards Deming’s book, ‘Out of the Crisis,’ when I learnt the true cause of my failures. The truth became evident when I understood that without a detailed, accurate standard operating procedure to follow, I was always going to fail in doing that job. The lack of refined work instructions from my employer telling me how to properly make the item failure-free was the root cause of my errors. All I could do without an accurate operational definition to make the spool was guess at its manufacture.
In both his books, Out of the Crisis and The New Economics, W. Edwards Deming harps on the critical importance of using accurate and thorough operational definitions. It is impossible to get operational excellence quality and performance, he advises, without effective operational definitions that ensured all variation is tight around the target quality value.
An operational definition is a written and diagrammatic instruction accurately detailing the precise activities to use and follow that ensure the desired standard of outcome results. They are also known as standard operating procedure, SOP, or work instruction, WI. Standard operating procedures are vital to make processes and workplace jobs “in control and capable.” ‘In control and capable’ is the statistical phrase indicating a process or procedure makes 100 percent quality production or service.
Providing clear, reliable, tight operational definitions is a necessary part of the Plant Wellness Way Enterprise Asset Management, PWWEAM, methodology. They are known in PWWEAM as a standard operating procedure, developed using the Accuracy Controlled Enterprise 3T (Target-Tolerance-Test) SOP writing method. They aim to position results tight around the optimum, as shown in the following image.
A Simple 8-Step Method to Get Tight Variation Around the Quality Target
In operations using PWWEAM the eight steps start the climb up to operational excellence quality and performance. The steps make sure you develop operational definitions, standard operating procedures, and work instructions able to deliver top class operating results and productivity.
1. Start by doing nothing but to plot all KPI’s and PIs collected in the operation on individual run charts. Are they stable?
Use existing historic Key Performance Indicator (KPI) and Performance Indicator (PI) data and plot each point on a time series, production series, or event series run chart (see image below). From the newest data, go back long enough to capture the organization’s historic behavioural effects on a process. Depending on situations, several years of history, or only several weeks, or just a few hours are long enough for occurrence of the range of behaviours exhibited by the process.
2. Plot each run chart’s distribution. Are the plots tightly over the required performance?
Develop a frequency distribution plot of each KPI’s and PI’s historic data. The location and tightness of the curves will tell you if situations are in-control and capable. In the image above the distribution is bi-modal—there are two peaks, indicating two distinct equipment breakdown categories: the common kind and the bad kind.
3. Investigate the history of the unsatisfactory distributions to learn why they are not to intended requirements.
Seek to understand why things are as they are—talk to those who know, enquiring with an open mind and without blame. In the case of the equipment breakdown hours distribution, it turned out that the company used hired maintenance contractors to make some common repairs, but their work quality was so bad that it caused the three major failures of the ‘bad kind.’ It showed that the organization’s hire contractor selection and job control processes were terrible.
4. Meet everyone involved, one-on-one, for as long as it takes, and ask what they think are their roles and duties as explained in the operational definitions that are their responsibility.
If there are no standard operating procedures, work instructions, operational definitions—whatever name the organisation uses for such documents—then you have found the cause of most of the problems. Write them so they contain an excellent level of internal quality control and quality assurance. Writing SOPs to ACE 3T requirements and standards ensures the necessary task QC and QA precision.
If there are SOPs in use, look closely at the QC and QA they use and whether they guarantee 100 percent right work results every time.
5. Review all deficient operational definitions and with input of the users’ research and correct them so they will produce the required distributions.
Develop effective SOPs that help the user to do top class work and ensure tasks are correct and produce the required accuracy and quality result. Get users involved in their development to help instil a sense of ownership and responsibility over the new procedures.
6. Train and practice the relevant people to properly do the improved operational definitions.
Teach and train the users of new and reviewed SOPs how to use the document to do the required quality of work. Let them practice the method until they are competent at it.
7. Plot run charts and their distributions from doing the updated operational definitions.
Collect KPI and PI data from use of the new and reviewed SOPs and check how the instructions and training have changed the tightness of outputs.
8. Start back an No. 1 and repeat the steps where the results are still not to requirements.
It costs nothing to continually improve your process instructions and work standard operating procedures, so the results always are tight around the optimum, like in the image below.
PWW EAM System Consultants
23 June 2022