A piece of equipment may not have
demand every minute of the day, but
it has to be ready to work the minute
there is demand. That’s where TPM
comes in. Companies that employ
the TPM program have assigned
responsibilities for the maintenance
technician and the equipment operator.
The operator is responsible to
clean, lube and inspect the equipment
on a daily, weekly and monthly
basis. This frequent interaction with
the equipment is intended to alert
the operator to possible reliability
issues that need attention from the
The maintenance technician
is responsible to perform the
maintenance checks. Together they
create a formidable team that can
eliminate the waste of defective
product due to faulty equipment.
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Lack of ownership
The final point sums up all the other
reasons for defective product — lack
of ownership and responsibility on the
part of the person performing the task.
If your company uses tollgate inspection
to keep the manufacturing operation
in check, you may unknowingly be
contributing to the waste of defective
product while trying to maintain
conformance. You may have to think
about that statement for a minute.
The reason I make that observation
is because tollgate inspection removes
ownership and responsibility from the
person performing the value-adding
task. That person may be sending
questionable product through the
process, thinking someone else will
catch it if it’s really bad, and if the
work doesn’t come back it must have
been okay. That’s a bad assumption
because the inspector may not
even check that part, and then the
operator’s assumption establishes a
new acceptance criteria for him or her.
How can you increase operator
ownership and responsibility? The person
performing the task has to understand
that he or she is the last person to see the
work before it passes to the customer, and
that he or she will be held accountable for
Evaluate what the tollgate inspector
is doing and transfer that knowledge
to the person responsible for the task.
I believe you’ll see a marked reduction
in nonconformance when each person
accepts ownership and responsibility
for the work they perform, and are
held accountable accordingly. ▲
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