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Inspectioneering Journal

A Quest for Defect-Free Plant Operation, Part 1: Understanding and Applying a Lean Business Model to Processing Facilities

By Satwant Rakhra. This article appears in the January/February 2019 issue of Inspectioneering Journal

Editor’s Note: It has often been stated that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. The following series of articles covers practices that aim to eliminate the potential for creating defects in equipment by identifying conditions leading to defect creation and eliminating them in a proactive manner. Hence, practices such as IOWs, inspection, and QC will be familiar to the Inspectioneer. New terms will also be introduced such as Poka Yoke in explaining lean practices. This is the first in a multi-part series of articles.

Introduction

Faulty management thinking regarding systems, processes and staid practices continue to lead us into building process plants which start to experience failures soon after they are commissioned. A quest for a defect-free operation requires an effort to systematically and effectively reduce the current equipment failure rates. The proposed 5-prong business strategy discussed in this series of articles is, in the author’s opinion, an antidote to these issues. The strategy enables:

  • A management team to adopt new thinking
  • Develop an enlightened workforce
  • Utilize a comprehensive management system (MS)
  • Implement better processes
  • Instill a culture of continuous improvement

The strategy is a unique combination of critical concepts and systems, the implementation of which will help a management team significantly improve its operational performance. Up to this point, these concepts and systems have only been discussed in isolation, and thus it’s been difficult for any organization to make connections and apply them effectively to its operations. The application of this lean way of thinking and Shingo’s Zero Quality Control (QC) methodologies that proactively help discover and eliminate conditions that may lead to errors and defects, are the hallmark of this strategy.

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