The solution to surpass conflicts between production and maintenance departments

Autonomous Maintenance. This is the solution given to solve a big part of the conflicts that might arise between the production and maintenance departments. The meaning of this expression is easily explained using a simple situation from our everyday life.


If we compare a baby to a device, parents take care of their “equipment” on a daily basis (autonomous maintenance) by feeding, bathing or caring for the baby’s primary health, only going to a doctor (maintenance team) to solve specific problems – that is, when the baby is sick or as a preventive measure (preventive maintenance). Summarising, “Autonomous Maintenance” is the procedure in which the user (in this case, the parents) is the first responsible for the maintenance of the device (the baby).


However, and not withstanding its real use in daily life, “Autonomous Maintenance” is an advantage and a competitive edge for many companies that work in every sector, because it boosts the productivity levels and minimise the costs. This concept comes to nullify the conflicts between production and maintenance teams where, commonly, the production considers that maintenance does not offer the equipment in the best operating conditions and on the other hand, maintenance believes that employees can better operate the equipment, comply with the procedures and worry about their respective physical condition.


The solution gravitates around the operator's figure and is to enable it to perform basic tasks of equipment maintenance, such as cleaning, inspection and lubrication, which must be performed at a frequency that can range from daily to weekly. Additionally, it is important to ensure that operators have the ability to detect anomalies when they occur, ensuring a rapid reaction and greater reliability of equipment. By doing so, you can release the maintenance teams for the development of activities with higher added value, such as technical improvements or advanced prevention activities.


Autonomous Maintenance manages to rescue the operator's sensitivity to the operating equipment, starting to feel its "owner". Thus, the final activities of production and maintenance teams begin to relate in a more intrinsic way, with a link to help solve problems that can end up becoming chronic.


The practice of Autonomous Maintenance has the gift of transforming the culture of the company, to the extent that the departments of maintenance and production begin to operate in joint activities and communing shared goals. Additionally, the organisation will raise the competence and knowledge of the teams of the equipment and consequently improve the overall productivity. The impact is felt also in terms of equipment: companies see the life span of the machines and the MTBF (Mean Time Between Failure) extended, eliminating micro-stops as well as reducing intervention and repair costs.

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