Flexible Scheduling Ensures Work Order Completion
Of course, scheduling work to be done isn’t the same as actually accomplishing it. “If tasks aren’t completed, they’re left open in the files until they are finished,” says Holden. “I can run a report to see what hasn’t been finished. If a PM is one week late, a report goes to the supervisor of the person to whom it was assigned. Two weeks late and a report goes to the supervisor’s boss. Three weeks late, they have to deal with me.”
One cause for incomplete work orders is scheduling difficulties. Certain procedures take eight hours with six men working on a machine; others require that a critical piece of equipment be shut down for a week. With the high demand for Ajax’s textiles, it can be hard to schedule the necessary downtime. But, as Holden tells the production manager, “You’ve got to give it to me eventually. Pay me now or pay me later.” Fortunately, the plant owner is sold on the value of preventive maintenance. “His motto is ‘fix it before it breaks,’” says Holden.
Despite excellent preventive maintenance, sometimes machines break down. When that happens, Holden can go back and reconstruct the history of the machine: what preventive maintenance was done and who did it. “This helps me determine the cause of the breakdown,” he says. “It also lets me keep an eye on our employees. I can tell if the preventive maintenance work was actually done or not. I can look at the state of the machine and say, ‘There’s no way this could change from this state to that in 24 hours.’ You catch the odd bad character that way.” On the other hand, there is such a thing as too much maintenance. “Tracking work orders also shows me if we don’t need to do things as often,” says Holden. He can then reduce the frequency of certain tasks, freeing up time for other work.