No matter what industry one is working in, all facilities are run by a combination of people and machines. While this is the only way to get work done, it is also the source of endless problems. One of the biggest problems, and the most expensive, in a facility is when there are equipment failures which cause work to stop. A study was done recently which found that the majority of these types of failures are caused by human or organizational errors.
This essentially means that most equipment failure is caused by mistakes that people are making rather than actual problems with the equipment itself. While this is not good news in itself, it does have something of a silver lining. When mistakes are caused by humans, they can be fixed with proper adjustments to the processes which are in place.
While it is impossible to eliminate every mistake or oversight made by people, it is possible to put procedures in place which can minimize their impact. Companies which are willing to take the time to look at the different types of errors that lead to equipment malfunction will be able to eliminate the vast majority of these types of problems. The following are some specific areas which should be looked at, and the types of things which can prevent oversights:
Equipment maintenance is one of the most important parts of day-to-day working in almost any facility. Most equipment has several different types of lubrication and other things that need to be kept at proper levels. They also have parts which have a set life expectancy. If these things are not changed or monitored on a regular basis they will inevitably end up causing a malfunction. There are many different ways to ensure these items are checked, and coming up with an effective solution will save any facility a lot of time and money.
Most machinery in a facility is designed to do one specific thing. When people attempt to have the machinery used for other jobs, it can cause major problems. Whether using a moving arm to lift items or attempting to re-program a machine to perform additional work, this is a mistake which can be quite costly. Implementing policies which ensure machines are used exclusively for the purpose they were made can help avoid many problems.
Something many facilities don’t consider is what type of impact the environment surrounding machinery can have. When, for example, boxes and other items are stacked around a particular machine, it may cause restricted airflow. Many types of machinery rely on clear airflow for cooling the moving parts. Another risk is from smoke or dust is produced in the area around machinery. This causes machinery to ware out much more quickly than it should and may result in malfunctions.