Category Archives: Top Tips

Asset care: a Four Step Approach

Written by Jason Gledhill

Why do machines fail? Deterioration, stress and weakness are the main factors in machine failure.

When we buy a brand new car we invariably read the manual to get an understanding of the basic maintenance requirements. The car will be washed on a regular basis, tyres and oil checked, etc. When we drive the car, we don’t travel at 90mph in second gear, we drive the car within its capabilities. We’ve spent a large amount of money on the new car, so it would be foolish not to look after it, wouldn’t it? So why don’t we look after the machinery in our work place like this?

Invariably we see key pieces of plant within our factories in a poorly maintained condition, constantly breaking down or causing quality defects with operators who know very little about the machine. To replace the machinery will cost a considerable sum of money and unless we change the way we look after the machinery it will probably need replacing again within 7 to 10 years. A never ending cycle of abuse and cost, that needs to be broken.

Lauras International has a four step approach to Asset Care using a combined operator and maintenance strategy. Through working with engineers on an Asset Care project operators increase their mechanical ability and start to take ownership for their machines. They are able to perform simple maintenance tasks such as changing wear parts and basic lubrication.  The engineering team are then freed up to perform pro-active rather than reactive duties. At the same time operators learn more about the detail of the way machines work from the maintenance team enabling them to start to spot the early stages of problems, that if not properly dealt with would become a major problem in the future.

Asset Care

Contact us to find out more about how we can help you care for your assets.

Top Tips for Front Line Managers

Written by Jeremy Praud, Head of UK & Europe, Senior Consultant at Lauras International.

Top Tips for Front Line Managers

Our last blog discussed the 3 ingredients that keep staff successfully engaged in manufacturing improvement programmes – Inclination, Ability & Time.  The level of success however comes down to your Front Line Management team’s ability to take these raw ingredients and develop skilled and ‘switched on’ operators.  All too often, highly skilled individuals are promoted to Front Line Management positions without the necessary training experience, and with little support or coaching in their new role.

That’s why we’ve developed the acclaimed Aspire programme, designed to help Front Line Managers (FLMs) develop the skills required to manage people effectively.

 Here are some of our top tips for FLMs that are implementing Improvement Projects:

  1. See-Try-Do – To relieve the stress of training new initiatives for the first time, we recommend the ‘See-Try-Do’ approach which examines the training subject from a range of viewpoints to consider what questions could be asked and where confusion could arise.
  1. Tackle Conflict Head-on – FLMs often avoid meeting environments because managers are apprehensive about conflict; but without conflict, improvement doesn’t happen.  Coaching will give FLMs the confidence to address conflict safely and manage it through to a positive resolution.
  1. Supercharge Meetings – FLMs that run effective meetings have better track records of implementing successful Improvement Programmes.  Our coaching covers preparation, meeting etiquette and follow up, with top tips such as: hold meetings standing up to increase the energy in the room, value the input of each delegate, and remember the magic formula (70% agreement = 100% commitment for decisions)RACI Matrix.
  1. Use a RACI Matrix – Having clear and unequivocal roles for everyone is fundamental to getting actions done quickly and projects completed efficiently.  A RACI (Responsible, Accountable, Consulted, Informed) matrix is a very useful tool for ensuring FLMs have assigned and clearly communicated ownership of actions.
  1. Thank with a Reason – As simple as it sounds, saying ‘thank you’ and contextualising the gratitude with a reason, is an effective management principle.  Our Aspire coaching programmes are designed to help FLMs excel in their roles by applying easy to acquire, practical management tools to their day-to-day activities.

Get in touch to see how our Aspire Programme could help your FLMs engage their teams and excel in their roles.

 

 

Ingredients for Improvement: inclination, ability, time

Written by Jeremy Praud, Head of UK & Europe, Senior Consultant at Lauras International.

The pressure to improve factory margins is on, and often during early periods of economic recovery inflationary pressures return with abundance, and the small margins that many factories operate on can be wiped out. So improving fast is the order of the day, but what is the recipe for success?

Well, we’ve long known that change of any sort requires three ingredients – Inclination, Ability, and Time.  In fact, with sufficient of these, anything is possible – you can even go to the moon – literally.  But what does that mean for a factory?

If we start with inclination, then of course this stems from leadership and how leaders behave.  But is this enough?  It is no good just the senior leadership desiring to change and improve – the ”will’ has to be cascaded throughout the entire organization, and that takes strong management processes.

Next, we need both the ‘know-how’ to improve and the ‘know-what’ – the ability – to change.  The ‘know-how’ is all about having the right tools – Continuous Improvement (CI) tools come in many flavours, but being able to choose the right tool for the right situation is key.  The ‘know-what’ is about having the right KPI’s and measurement systems in place that tell you what the biggest losses to the business are, and point you in the right direction so that you can go and see the problems, and hence apply one of those tools to do something about it.

The final ingredient is time – because it’s no good having everyone in a business all enthusiastic to improve, kitted out with the right information and tools, and then keeping everyone busy at the coal-face, and never giving them an opportunity to do improvement.  And it’s not about appointing one or two people into improvement roles (although a champion is important!).

It’s a rare business these days that can afford extra resource – so it’s about making more of the people you already have – and doing that is called “engagement”.

So, to keep ahead of the competition, make sure that you’ve got all the ingredients for success in place.  For a free 1-day consultation to determine your health towards sustainable improvement, drop us a line.