DEARBORN - Ford’s Dearborn Engine and Oakville Assembly Plants have both implemented the constraint management process outlined in the Maintenance Operating System (MOS). And both facilities are seeing positive results.
The constraint management system, introduced at both plants in 2011, uses plant production monitoring data to prioritize maintenance based on those issues that have the greatest impact on productivity.
Kevin Heck, plant manager at the Dearborn Engine Plant, says his facility has realized a greater than 7 percent improvement in productivity from 2011 to 2012.
“In the past what could happen without a good standard constraint management process is you could be working very hard on the wrong things,” said Heck. “So it wasn’t about the teams in the past not working. It’s about working on those critical items that are truly going to deliver results.”
Due to increasing consumer demand for Ford products, Dearborn Engine currently employs two shifts in Assembly that work 9 hours a day plus Saturdays and four crews in Machining that work 7 days a week 24 hours a day.
“Due to the heavy work schedule, it is critical for us to identify our maintenance priorities,” said Heck. “It supports us to better leverage our scarce resources to improve our efficiency and produce more products with our existing asset base.”
The Oakville Assembly Plant has seen a 2.5 percent improvement in productivity over the past year, says Will Cowell, plant manager.
“This is a significant achievement for the plant since this put us over our delivery objective. It contributes to less processing cost (hours per unit) and ultimately lower cost associated with maintenance,” he said.
“The constraint management system gives me an approach to know exactly which machines need critical maintenance,” he continued. “So if I’ve got X dollars to spend on maintenance today I’m going to make sure I spend it where I’m going to get the biggest bang for my buck. I can prioritize what my money should go for and measure the results of that.”
The Oakville plant employs different operating patterns depending on the department. The Body and Paint area, for example, has just gone to three eight-hour shifts five days a week to meet rising consumer demand for popular vehicles like the Flex, Edge, Lincoln MKX and Lincoln MKT.
“We have more time that we can run that can help us make more units in a day but it reduces our time for maintenance so we have to be exact and pinpoint and maximize the time that we have down so that we can fix the greatest area of opportunity,” said Cowell. “We can do maintenance on the weekends but there is an additional cost for overtime so the efficiency is lost. So we try to maximize opportunities during the week.”
Cowell says the participation of everyone in the plant is critical.
“We have an initiative we call ‘Every Trade Every Day’ where we expect every skilled tradesman to record the work that they do every day so that we can have a good history of what we’ve done and where we’re at with the equipment,” he said. “In order for that program to be successful it’s important for everyone to be engaged in the process.”
Brent Merritt, assistant plant manager at Oakville, says people working in Maintenance operations at his facility are reacting positively to the changes.
“Before, they were struggling to learn about some of the bigger picture initiatives that were going on,” he explained. “Now they can see that we’re giving them a tool that helps them troubleshoot accurately so that they’re not wasting their time. They have a lot more buy-in to the process because they see that it helps measure success.”
Cowell says the experience he’s had at his plant has made him a strong advocate of the constraint management process.
“It’s a process for continuous improvement that focuses on the right priorities and the right utilization of our resources,” he said. “It reduces the number of hours that you spend reacting to catastrophe and allows you to focus on prevention and machine wellness.”
Heck is also a strong supporter.
“The MOS and constraint management process supports us all and our overall goals of increasing our productivity,” he said. “It’s an enabler that helps align the entire organization with the key processes and the roles and responsibilities to be successful in that challenge.”