Operator Based Care

The idea behind operator based care is that people who work with a particular piece of machinery are the ones who are best suited to identify and perform the general day to day maintenance of the machine.  They will notice, for example, if the machine starts making an odd noise or is running low on a particular type of lubricant or something to that effect.  They can then immediately perform the required tasks to resolve the issue and get right back to the normal work.

Operator based care not only helps to notice potential problems much sooner, but it can also reduce the length of time a machine is run with a potential issue.  When, for example, a machine is low on oil the operator may just keep running the job since it is not a serious issue at that point.  If the regularly scheduled maintenance to replace the oil does not take place for several days the machine could be causing small amounts of damage to itself each time it is run.  With operator based care, however, the issue is resolved immediately so that there is no damage taking place at all.

There are many benefits of implementing operator based care in virtually any type of facility.  Some obvious ones include reduced maintenance costs because you don’t need to have a dedicated maintenance technician performing these routine tasks.  Improved machine reliability and longevity since little things like lubrication changes can be done more often resulting in fewer problems.  The facility can also reduce the costs associated with replacement parts since fewer things will go bad due to allowing the machines to run longer than they should between maintenance.

Improved Ownership

Another great aspect of operator based care is it gives the actual users of each machine a better sense of ownership.  They are not simply doing a repetitive task  over and over again, they are responsible for keeping the machine in proper working order.  This additional responsibility has been shown to help give people a more engaged feeling about their job.  It can also help them learn more about the machines they are operating on so they will be able to come up with new and innovative ways to do the job more efficiently.

Whenever you allow people to take on more responsibility for their day to day tasks they almost always become more actively engaged in how the processes work.  Many facilities have implemented operator based care for all their machinery and at the same time asked employees for feedback on how they could improve the overall operation of these machines.  They are then able to get specific feedback which can result in great improvements and eliminated waste and problems.

Operator based care really makes a lot more sense because of the fact that it takes advantage of most people’s natural desire to take care of their things.  While at home everyone performs operator based care on things like lawn mowers or their vehicles and they can do the same thing at work as well.

Additional Resources