Manager for Zero Machine Failures

Rod Sutton, Editor in Chief | September 28, 2010


Rod Sutton, Editor in Chief
Rod Sutton, Editor in Chief


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Mike Vorster, Construction Equipment's Equipment Executive, tends to make simple yet profound connections when holding a conversation about equipment management.

Some time ago, he made a statement that has quietly worked its way into our consciousness, and it is time for that thought to challenge equipment managers everywhere: Target zero machine failures.

Unattainable? Too many abusive operators or noncommitted job superintendents? Before it's relegated to the Nice Idea file, consider what has happened in the safety arena.

Organizations and managers who have taken safety seriously have eliminated accidents. Yes, we've heard stories from managers who have improved their safety records to zero incidents.

This astounding success starts with a manager who believes in the goal. Safety programs save lives, prevent injuries, and ultimately save money. Cost saving rarely tops the list, but no manager motivated to eliminate accidents neglects that important benefit.

Company owners and upper management recognize the cost benefit of safety programs. Although we realize this could sound jaundiced, cost benefits go a long way in enabling organizations to justify the expense involved in planning and funding safety programs.

Now take the leap to in-field machine failures.

Justify this new focus using cost benefits. Fewer failures mean more uptime and less emergency repair. Toss in expanded lifecycles, more manageable maintenance and repair budgets, and more efficiently utilized labor forces.

Now zero failures shows some serious cost and operational savings, which should convince management to pony up the investment for implementing a Target Zero plan.

It is a challenge, no doubt. But if you consider it a challenge worth tackling, consider these three steps toward attaining zero in-shift machine failures, compliments of Mike Vorster.

  • Set zero as an overall goal
  • Treat preventive maintenance as a discipline, starting with a systematic PM program
  • Implement a repair-before-failure mentality, strategy and program

Have at it.