For many years, this facility aimed at a continuous improvement of its production process. The objective was to increase production capacity. Due to continuously increasing competition from low-wage countries, not only were they forced to increase production capacity, they also had to control the per tonnage cost. By the end of 2005, this constituted the reason for Tronox Pigments to invite PDM to conduct an analysis within their maintenance organization in order to see where they might have some potential for improvement.
Together with Tronox, PDM analyzed the available communication structure, the available management information, the organizational structure and the results. PDM achieved this, among other things, by staging interviews, by observing people in their daily routines, and by organizing workshops, by doing data studies, etc.
Data analysis revealed that 75% of the maintenance activities
were not planned and that 40% of the mechanics’ available
time did not yield any increase in value. Particularly, the time to properly prepare matters was lacking.
Incoming work orders from production were often unclear
and the data in the Maximo maintenance management
system was not up-to-date. As a consequence, management
information was unreliable. Moreover, the maintenance
department turned out to be subordinated to the production
department. Although long-term planning existed, in practice,
it was not applied. So we proposed to come to grips with a
number of issues in a 9-month period.
With a team consisting of employees of Tronox Pigments
and of PDM, we first started out to check and revise all data
in the maintenance management system and to define the
essential KPI’s for controlling the maintenance process with
Tronox Pigmants in Uerdingen,” says Knudsen. He continues:
“Parallel to these activities, the project team created a new
communication structure within the organization, so that
crucial information (including KPI’s) flows both ‘top down’
as well as ‘bottom up’ through the organisation."
In order to
improve the communication between production and
maintenance, a daily and weekly coordination meeting was
organised to regularly discuss the work planning schedules.
In workshops, we have reciprocally adjusted the expectations
and the understanding among employees. Only by working
in this way any improvements may be introduced and carried
out in a structured manner.
Another important task was the streamlining of all work flows
within the maintenance organization. One of the spearheads
with all these processes within the maintenance organization
was gate-keeping, or, the continuous setting of priorities.
Through the daily, weekly and monthly planning cycles
implemented by PDM the focus shifted from ad hoc trouble-shooting activities to planned maintenance.
This made time available for work preparation due to which this activity has also improved. By taking
as a guideline the preventative maintenance concept, which
we have defined in Maximo in conjunction with the planning,
we see that decisions are taken more consciously and tailored
to the available capacity planning.
The results are remarkable. In fact, the time that was spent
on ad hoc matters was reduced by 32%. The number of work
orders increased by over 35% per week, whereas the number
of employees remained the same. Substantially less work was
contracted out. Moreover, it is evident that 85% of preventative
maintenance is now carried out within the planned week.
For Tronox the current challenge is to retain this result and
to further improve on it. Therefore, we as PDM will return in
6 months to perform an objective audit. In this audit we will
check to what extent the agreed actions for improvement
have been implemented. All of this will be done with the result
of consulting those in charge on how they may maintain and
improve the new approach.