Part One: Here’s how your team can counter Murphy’s Law in the bindery.

According to Captain Edward A. Murphy, an aerospace engineer working on research project MX981 circa 1949, “If anything can go wrong, it will.”  His quote is now known as Murphy’s Law.  Call it what you will, it’s something that we all have witnessed either professionally or personally because, try as we might, we simply can’t plan for everything. 

Consider your bindery. You probably have a number of preventive maintenance procedures in place. These procedures are based on the assumption that equipment that is well maintained will have fewer breakdowns. It includes tasks such as proactive cleaning of machines, lubrication of mechanical assemblies, and replacement of known wear items. These procedures are all part of best practices. Unfortunately, and at the worst possible time, your finishing line can still suffer a breakdown.

In April 2016, Aberdeen Research estimated that unplanned downtime can cost a company as much as $260,000/hour, an increase of 60% from a 2014 estimate by that same company.  Whether or not this figure is accurate for your operation, downtime is expensive!

When your machine and its associated production line are down, it is essential that you use your internal team as time-efficiently as possible so the problem can be repaired quickly. The more they know about how the machinery works when it is running right, and how to service it when it is not, will avoid costly downtime caused by untrained operators who are wasting time looking for a solution.

First and foremost, your internal team must:

  1. Know where to find the documentation on the operation of the machinery, i.e., vendor supplied manuals as well as internal manuals.
  2. Be trained on safe maintenance procedures, e.g., lockout/tagout, hazardous material training, etc.
  3. Be equipped with tools needed for basic repairs and troubleshooting.  (e.g., thermometers, digital multi-meters, tachometers, hand tools, keys to cabinet doors, etc.)

If Murphy’s Law should strike, often one or all of these procedures are enough to get the machine up and running again. If not, check out my next blog for important tips to consider when outside help is required.

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