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Craftsman : Craftsman 2011
28 RAEMECRAFTSMANWinter2011 28 A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. The Army is undergoing a decade-long deep reform campaign in order to efficiently and effectively meet the challenges of an Adaptive Army. To the RAEME tradesman this is about being smarter in the way we approach maintenance tasks i.e. Smart Maintenance. ‘Lean’ provides a methodology to support this approach. Using the ‘Lean’ methodology our RAEME aviation brethren have made significant inroads to improve their maintenance processes, with a little help from DTR-A . This has been a successful first step on their reform journey. An element of the Army reform program is to address the efficiency and effectiveness of our maintenance processes. The aim is to adopt a smart culture towards the conduct of maintenance, hence the term ‘Smart Maintenance’. Smart Maintenance is the continuous improvement of a maintenance system within a financially constrained environment. It aims to eliminate blockages, variance and waste from the process. However, Smart Maintenance is not a compromise to capability, safety, environmental compliance or suitability for purpose. A recent example of a Smart Maintenance initiative has seen the Land-rover servicing interval change from time to usage. This change was supported by a rigorous technical assessment to ensure that there would be no degradation to the vehicle’s mechanical systems. The Land-rover example demonstrates how a simple change in the approach to a maintenance task can realise significant savings in servicing hours and consumables over the life of the equipment. For the RAEME craftsman it is about making every service, maintenance task and repair part count. To aid in the analysis and continuous improvement of a process Army has adopted the ‘Lean’ methodology. The ‘Lean’ approach, commonly linked to Toyota manufacturing, can be applied to any end to end process. ‘Lean’ is a customer focused mindset that seeks to continuously improve a process. It uses a range of tools that aid in the identification and elimination of problems and waste. The key methodologies linked to the Defence application of ‘Lean’ are: • Theory of Constraints. Aims to identify where in a process ‘bottle necks’ occur and provides measures to eliminate or manage the constraint. • Identification and elimination of waste in the following eight forms: defects, over production, excess inventory, unnecessary motion, inappropriate processing, excess transportation, waiting and people potential. • Six sigma. Seeks to eliminate variance from within a process. Using the ‘Lean’ approach the aviation tradesmen at 1st Avn Regt, 6th Avn Regt and 5th Avn Regt have all made their first steps in a reform journey. With the aid of DTR-A a select group from each unit conducted a two weeks maintenance improvement activity consisting four days training on ‘Lean’ principles followed by a six day facilitated process improvement event. In true RAEME style our aviation brethren rose to the challenge. By mapping out the process in detail and measuring each step they were able to pinpoint waste, choke points and identify areas for improvement. This was a laborious activity but their resolve sustained with some fruitful outcomes. Easy win initiatives were implemented immediately with the more strategic proposal, requiring funding, presented through the chain of command. Here the ‘Lean’ methodology aided in providing a sound business case supported by analysis. Averaged out each Regt identified savings in the vicinity of 4,700 man hours ($300,000) annually for a one off investment of approximately $70,000. As RAEME craftsmen, you best understand our equipment and its maintenance system at the grass roots level warts and all. You also have a bag full of good ideas, which in the past have often gone unheard. The Chief of Army recognises that good ideas can come from anywhere and challenges all ranks to contribute to Army’s reform. There are three simple steps to submitting an idea: Step 1. Outline your idea on paper; identify the problem and your proposed solution. Step 2. Identify possible benefits of implementing your plan e.g . savings or enhancements to capability. Step 3. Submit your idea through the chain of command, Army suggestion scheme or email the Chief of Army. More information on how to staff and submit an initiative is available on the Chief of Army Challenge web site. There is a direct link to this site from the Army home page. Maintenance improvement ideas that are supported but just need a little horse power to get started will most likely find there way to DTR-A . DTR-A has a continuous improvement team that can aid in the management and realisation of smart maintenance initiatives. Assistance could range from help in developing a justification to a facilitated continuous improvement activity. Question on Smart Maintenance or ‘Lean’ can be directed to DTR-A . POC is MAJ Dick Fenton on Phone; (03) 9622 2743 or Email; richard. email@example.com Smart Maintenance sets a challenge to all RAEME tradesmen. Look at the way you conduct maintenance and ask yourself is this the most efficient and effective means to achieve the outcome? If not seek to improve the process through your chain of command. If you need help, there is a support structure and funding available, including DTR-A . Smart Maintenance LTCOL Warren Whibley – SO1 Maintenance Improvement DTR-A 1st Avn Regt continuous improvement activity. CFN Lex Reynolds, SGT Wayne Hodder and LT Jason Long measure and analyse the maintenance process.