The following scenario will show the Workshop Supervisor a quick win to reduce unplanned machine downtime when an operation is typically running outside the Planned Maintenance only strategy, or within. This is easily achievable but requires management buy in to keep the Supervisor accountable for the execution of said tasks.

I must ask a question, however. How do you interpret damage reports from vendors when a component failed (in or out of warranty)? Is this document just a formality or is there someone who takes action to keep the responsible parties accountable? Who owns this key action of keeping people accountable?

Let’s use the example of drive or prop shafts. This must be lubricated/greased daily by the workshop or the operator. The operator is typically in a rush to get to work quickly and easily neglects the before operations checklists. Basic checks are completed and off he/she goes. But are those drive shaft universal joints greased sufficiently for the shift ahead? Let’s look at the damage reports received from your prop shaft vendor over the past 6 months. How many of the breakdowns could have been prevented with proper lubrication of the universal joints? If you have not looked at the prop shaft damage reports then please go ahead and do so, you will be amazed to see how many breakdowns could have been prevented by ensuring proper lubrication is done before a shift.

So how do we ensure the greasing is done before a shift? Whose work is it to grease the joints before the shift? The operator says it’s not his/her job and the workshop say they did not have time to do this because the machine was taken to the face before it could have been done. I must ask when last did you look at your Lubrication SOP? You need to have a lubrication plan and stick to it. People not doing their work, or an operator taking an unlubricated machine should be disciplined accordingly. These disciplinary steps must include the Supervisor and the Maintenance/Reliability Manager. No exceptions. A damage report indicating lost time due to poor lubrication must be a feared object within the operation and the only way to achieve this is to set examples.

Doing work properly is an age-old proven process. We understand that many mines have lost the tempo of maintenance versus production but if you just start looking at the little things like this then surely the maintenance manager can look forward to some great improvements.

In that case, I must ask what is the main reason for the axle, transmission, and torque converter failures? How many damage reports point out poor maintenance? Ever thought of sabotage?

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