Sunday 19 May 2013

RCA: Maintenance isn't just repair.

 Some months ago I did a Maintenance assessment in a facility, the Maintenance team was very efficient, with strong skills, and they repaired quickly any breakdown.

 One day an auxiliary water pump failed, due the maintenance team had the training and instructions needed and the tools and spare parts were in the warehouse, the breakdown was repaired in less than two hours. An excellent job, they said.
 But I didn’t agree with them because I thought the job was uncompleted; to repair the pump as soon as possible is important but, Will the pump become fail again?

 Not only must the maintenance team repair the machines, but it has to look into the breakdown causes to avoid the failure happens again.

 So, I recommended them to implant an RCA (Root Cause Analysis) and train the maintenance team to performance it.

 RCA is a logical sequence of steps that allow isolating the facts surrounding an event of failure and determines the best course of action that will resolve the event and ensure that it isn’t repeated.

 An RCA can be as simple as a 5 Whys process, or can be a more complex one to include questions as What happened?, Where?, When?, What changed?, Who was involved?, Why did it happen? and, mainly, What is the impact? The process must go with some photos of the breakdown, the broken parts, and samples of lubricants and coolants.

 This process will spend only some minutes of the maintenance time, so it won’t lose its efficiency, but will allow making a small investigation to find answers to the two main questions: Will it happen again? and How can recurrence be prevented?  

 Including the answer to this last question in our maintenance program we will avoid downtimes in the future.

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