4  FM quick reads on maintenance and operations

1. Emergency Planning: Five Ideas to Protect Technicians


This is Chris Matt, Managing Editor — Print & E-Media with Maintenance Solutions magazine. Today's tip is five ideas to help protect front-line workers during an emergency.

In many cases, an emergency in an institutional or commercial facility requires maintenance and engineering managers to carry out key — and often dangerous — activities as part of the organization's response to the situation. Though often overlooked, ensuring technicians' safety must be a central part of every organization's emergency planning and response process.

Beyond written programs, managers also can consider five ideas that are relatively easy to implement that will better protect front-line technicians, who often serve as second responders in emergencies. These concepts include:

Kick-off meetings. Before any emergency response takes place, managers can organize a kick-off meeting to discuss the scope of work and the hazards present.

Tailgate training. Since emergencies might expose second responders to unusual hazards, a refresher safety training session might be in order.

Provision of supplies. These supplies include personal protective equipment, food, water, and sunscreen.

Review of hours worked. Emergency response often requires responders to work long hours, but at some point, long hours become dangerous. Managers need to track these hours to prevent injuries.

Counselors. In some cases, attempting to restore a facility after an emergency might force responders to deal with personal loss. In other cases, responders will have difficulties dealing with and processing the aftermath of an emergency. Grief counselors play a key role in keeping responders mentally healthy.


2.  How to Plan for Emergency Events

This is Chris Matt, Managing Editor - Print & E-Media with Maintenance Solutions magazine. Today's tip is effectively planning for emergencies.

Whether preparing for capital improvements or preventive maintenance activities, effective planning is the cornerstone of success for maintenance and engineering managers. Planning for emergencies is no different. A written emergency plan is less important than the process of developing that plan. An emergency plan boils down to five areas:

• defining possible emergencies
• ensuring proper buy-in and budgeting
• identifying staff roles and duties
• procuring equipment and materials
• ensuring training and communication.

Based on history and location, most emergencies managers need to consider are fairly easy to predict. Hurricanes are normal occurrences on the East Coast, earthquakes are more prevalent on the West Coast, and it is not uncommon to see tornados in the Midwest.

While not every emergency is predictable, managers can cover their bases for unusual events by having a plan in place that addresses predictable events, such as fires, chemical spills, and power outages.

A successful emergency plan requires support from the organization's highest levels. But too often, good intentions related to emergency planning fail due to a lack of support from top executives. One strategy to get executives on board is to promote the effort as a business continuity program, or BCP, which speaks more to the loss of revenue from an emergency. It forces executives to realize the risk of not preparing properly.

Conducting a business impact analysis is a standard process for determining the financial impact of lost business. The website for the Federal Emergency Management Agency, or FEMA, provides a template and instructions for conducting a BIA.

3.  Predictive Maintenance: The Use of Vibration Analysis

This is Chris Matt, Managing Editor of Print & E-Media with Maintenance Solutions magazine. Today's tip is vibration monitoring and analysis.

All rotating equipment vibrates, but as components begin to fail or reach the end of their serviceable life, they begin to vibrate more and in unique ways. Ongoing monitoring of equipment allows technicians to identify these indicators of wear and future damage well before the damage becomes total failure.

When technicians use condition monitoring correctly, it can result in significant cost savings compared to traditional maintenance approaches. Vibration monitoring and analysis allow technicians to detect problems and make the repair-or-replace decision before complete failure for such key components as:

  • bearings
  • machine or component unbalances
  • misalignments
  • gears
  • electrical issues
  • bent shafts
  • loose fasteners, bolts, and mounts
  • and, finally, impeller issues.
Although not typically considered predictive maintenance, lubrication training and certification is critical. This assures the organization that technicians are storing, handling, and applying lubricants properly. This also minimizes or eliminates the possibility of contamination issues.

Too few organizations receive the benefits of lubrication. Those benefits include:

  • reduced energy use through reduced friction
  • lower overall lubrication costs
  • lower maintenance and repair costs
  • fewer consequential losses due to downtime
  • savings in investments due to higher utilization ratios and greater equipment efficiency
  • labor savings
  • and savings from extended equipment life.

4.  Inventory: Base Decisions on Real-Life Data

This is Chris Matt, Managing Editor of Print & E-Media with Maintenance Solutions magazine. Today's tip is inventory-management strategies

Managers will have a greater chance of successfully managing inventory if they can minimize decisions based on emotion and make more decisions based on real-life data. Much of the data they need exists in the database for the computerized maintenance management system, or CMMS, and it can provide answers to several questions:

What is the right part? Managers can answer this question by looking at the equipment bill of materials, the original equipment manufacturer list, nameplate information, work-order history, or the contractor-work history. They can document all of this information in the CMMS item-master registry to ensure the department procures the correct materials.

What is the right quantity or stocking level? A number of modifiers determine the correct stocking levels. Most organizations use minimum and maximum levels or calculate economic order quantities. These figures should relate to historical use, consumption rate and lead times.

What is the right time? Departments that operate in a reactive-maintenance mode tend to have high levels of inventory because of this firefighting mentality. Moving toward a planned work environment reduces the chances of stockouts, and it allows managers to bring materials in at the lowest cost of acquisition.

Finally, what is the right cost? The supply chain can be the heart of the maintenance organization, or it can be the heart attack. The way departments manage this process is a key component of their success. The best departments have 25 percent of their total inventory on some type of stocking program.


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maintenance and operations , emergency preparedness , emergency event , emergency planning





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