Module 11: Operator Asset Care


Operator Asset Care Policy There is no formal policy regarding the involvement of operators in asset care. Asset care is seen as purely an Engineering responsibility. Operators are responsible for some asset care, although not formally defined:
• Management from Engineering and Operations supports the involvement of operators in asset care.
• Operators are held accountable to prevent breakdowns.
• Operators are informally doing a variety of asset care tasks.
The role of operators in asset care is defined formally:
• The AM Policy and Strategy define the vision, scope and plans for operator care.
• Operator asset care is a key factor in reaching the AM KPI targets.
• The policy addresses IR issues such as job descriptions and remuneration.
• This policy has been accepted by all stakeholders (e.g. the union).
The policy influences the organisational development of Operations:
• Operational team structures and performance targets include asset care.
• Operator competencies and training plans include asset care.
• Operator grading and remuneration are based on their asset care roles.
• Operator performance appraisals includes their asset care activities.
Operators are critical players in the future AM improvement initiatives:
• The organisation allows for Engineering / Operations flexibility and teamwork.
• Operators use and interpret instrumentation and automation.
• Operators play a critical role in equipment performance and costs.
• Operators are involved in new acquisition projects.
Correct Operation Operators abuse and neglect the equipment due to ignorance and lack of skills, resulting in frequent breakdowns and costly repairs. Operators operate the equipment correctly but without SOPs:
• Operators are held accountable for correct operation of equipment.
• Operating procedures are informal and based on tradition and gut feel.
• Some equipment is damaged during operation.
Some operators on key equipment follow Standard Operating Procedures:
• The correct way of operating key equipment has been defined based on manufacturers recommendations.
• It has been documented as formal SOPs.
• The SOPs include equipment settings and process parameters.
• Most operators are familiar with the SOPs and follow them closely.
All operators follow Standard Operating Procedures:
• The correct way of operating all equipment has been defined.
• It has been documented as SOPs in a standard format.
• All SOPs include equipment settings and process parameters.
• All operators are familiar with the SOPs and follow them closely.
Operating procedures are refined to improve equipment performance:
• Operators refine their SOPs to reflect best practices and eliminate problems.
• Some automation or failure proof mechanisms are used to reduce errors.
• SOPs are built into the equipment control systems where possible.
5S and Equipment Cleaning The work area is cluttered, dirty and unsafe. The equipment is covered in dirt, resulting in failures. There is no sense of pride or ownership among operators. The work area and equipment are relatively clean and tidy:
• No obvious items are lying around in the work area.
• The area is cleaned regularly.
• The outside of the equipment is clean, but it is still dirty inside.
A formal 5S and equipment cleaning process has been implemented:
• All unnecessary items have been systematically removed.
• The area has been properly cleaned.
• The equipment is clean both inside and outside.
• Regular cleaning schedules and 5S audits are in place.
The layout of the work area has been organised with clear demarcations:
• A place for everything and everything in its place.
• The layout makes provision for material flow and easy access for the operator.
• The area and equipment remain clean and tidy as a result of regular audits.
The operators have taken ownership of their work areas and equipment:
• Operators support and sustain the 5S and equipment cleaning standards.
• Operators conduct the 5S audits.
• Operators recommend ways to improve the 5S and equipment cleanliness based on the 5S audit findings.
Maintenance Simplification The equipment is in a poor condition and covered in dirt due to the many oil leaks, spillages, external sources of dirt and because it is so difficult to clean it. Many components are worn or damaged. Some equipment problems have been fixed and sources of dirt removed:
• Most quick fixes have been addressed.
• Obvious oil leaks and other spillages have been fixed.
• On closer inspection, there are still some loose connections, worn items, difficult to access areas and missing parts.
The condition of all equipment is restored and all sources of dirt removed:
• The operators were involved in a clean and tag exercise to restore equipment.
• All equipment has been restored to as good as new.
• All sources of dirt (oil leaks, spillages, etc.) have been identified and removed.
• As a result, cleaning time is reduced.
Accessibility for operator asset care has been improved:
• Examples exist of improvements to make it easier to clean.
• Examples exist of improvements to make it easier to inspect, lubricate or service.
• As a result, operator asset care time has reduced.
Operators give input during new capital projects to simplify maintenance:
• Operators identify maintenance problem areas to be eliminated.
• Operators participate during design reviews.
• Operators evaluate maintainability during commissioning of new equipment.
Inspections Operators do not monitor their equipment at all and only report failures after they have happened.  Some operators detect equipment problems during cleaning or operational quality problems:
• Some equipment defects are picked up during cleaning
• Excessive noise, vibration or operational defects are highlighted.
• There is no formal system - inspections depend on operator initiative.
Formal operator inspections have been implemented on key equipment:
• Some operators are responsible for inspecting their equipment as part of the formal Asset Care Plan.
• They mainly use their senses for look, listen and feel tasks.
• Engineering does selective over-inspections and more advanced checks.
• Inspections are controlled manually.
Formal operator inspections have been implemented on all equipment:
• All operators are responsible to inspect their equipment as part of the AC Plans.
• Operators mainly use their senses, with some technology tools to supplement it.
• Inspection tasks have been allocated between Engineering and Operations.
• Inspections are controlled via EAMS.
• Ad hoc WOs are raised for defects.
Operators use built-in diagnostics and instrumentation for inspection:
• They can interpret the instruments to identify abnormal conditions.
• They use simple condition monitoring equipment like vibration monitoring.
• Operators use built-in diagnostics for fault-finding.
• Operators raise follow-up WOs in the EAMS when they notice abnormalities.
Adjustments and Minor Repairs Operators do not have any tools and are not responsible for any technical tasks on the equipment. Artisans or setters do all set-ups, adjustments, repairs or changeovers (if applicable.) Operators do some set-ups and adjustments based on acquired skills:
• These tasks are informal and ad hoc, and differ widely between operators.
• Operator replace operational items (e.g. knives, rubbers, etc.)
• Operators have not been formally trained or issued with tools.
• Engineering is still responsible for the bulk of the technical tasks.
Operators are trained and certified to do some adjustments and tightening tasks:
• Operators have a set of basic hand tools.
• They tighten fasteners that are loose.
• They do operational adjustments as required.
• They do simple lubrication tasks.
• They record their tasks on a standard WO per cost centre.
Operators are trained and certified to do minor repairs and set-up tasks:
• They do minor repairs, e.g. replacing components.
• They do set-ups and partial changeovers (if applicable.)
• They assist artisans during major repairs (e.g. removing covers.)
• They record the work done on their equipment via WOs.
Operators are trained and certified to do more advanced technical work:
• Operators replace sub-assemblies and broken components.
• They work with artisans during major maintenance (e.g. shutdowns.)
• They do changeovers and set-ups on their own (if applicable.)
• They do more advanced lubrication, e.g. greasing and oil top-up.
Visual Management There are no visual controls in the workplace, making it very difficult for operators to detect abnormalities or to know what asset care tasks to do. Some informal visual mechanisms exist in the work area:
• Standard procedures or settings are displayed at some work stations.
• Some equipment has visual markings for specific settings or limits.
• Some floors are demarcated, but mostly for safety purposes.
• The visual mechanisms are not standardised or done professionally.
Visual management has been standardised and partially implemented:
• Visual management standards have been developed and approved.
• Visual SOPs and one point lessons exist at work stations.
• Cleaning / inspection schedules are in place, with some visual mechanisms to assist operators (e.g. gauges).
• All safety demarcations and warning signs are in place.
Comprehensive visual management is in place:
• 5S floor demarcations and storage labels are in place.
• Colour-coded change parts and settings are used (if applicable.)
• Lubrication points and equipment are colour coded.
• Extensive visual mechanisms are used to assist operators with inspections.
Visual management is automated:
• Alarms warn of abnormal situations.
• Flashing lights identify equipment problems.
• Failsafe mechanisms are used where possible to eliminate human error.
• On-line diagnostics and operating procedures / settings assist operators.
• Visual controls are included in new equipment specifications.
Operator Knowledge and Skills Operators do not get any structured training or coaching in the correct operation or maintenance of their equipment.  Operators have some understanding of their equipment / process, based on informal training and coaching:
• Operators have been trained on various aspects of their equipment / process.
• Training is informal and unstructured, without assessment.
• Specific best practices are passed on informally from operator to operator.
Operators have received formal training in basic asset care,:
• Fundamentals of operator asset care,
• 5S principles and practices,
• Correct operating procedures, process parameters and equipment settings,
• Basic hand tools and use.
• A competency framework and training plan exists for operator asset care
Operators have the technical knowledge and skills to do asset care such as:
• More advanced hand tool skills,
• Basic maintenance skills, eg tightening, replacement, adjustments,
• The difference between normal and abnormal conditions for inspections,
• Set-ups and changeovers (if applicable).
Operators have more advanced skills to work with Engineering staff, such as:
• Mechanical concepts such as pneumatics, hydraulics, drives, etc.
• The use and interpretation of automation and diagnostic controls,
• Lubrication and lubricants,
• Basic condition monitoring, eg vibration or ultrasonics.  
Engineering Partnership The relationship between Engineering and Operations is poor, with regular blame allocation and arguments. The operators general view is I operate, you fix, while the Engineering staff does not trust operators on the equipment. Operations / Engineering Management agree about the need to cooperate:
• Management encourages cooperation and opposes conflict or blame.
• Pockets of cooperation between the departments exist on operational level.
• Cooperation is dependent on individuals and is not widespread.
• Overall conflict has reduced
Engineering staff has been allocated to operational areas as part of work teams:
• These teams share some KPIs and improvement targets.
• Artisans coach operators in asset care.
• Some joint problem solving takes place.
• Maintenance and operational plans are aligned.
• Operator asset care has been accepted by most people at the operational level.
There is mutual respect and teamwork between Engineering and Operations:
• Roles are formally allocated.
• Operators assist artisans during major maintenance work.
• Operators act pro-actively to prevent breakdowns and failures.
• There is regular joint problem solving to improve asset performance and KPIs.
• Conflict is rare.
There is a strong partnership between Engineering and Operations:
• Teams are very flexible in terms of their roles and task allocation.
• Operators work alongside artisans during major maintenance work.
• Targets and rewards are integrated.
• There is joint innovation to improve asset performance and AM KPIs.