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An Outsourced-Maintenance Success Story

The way that J&L Fiber Services ( boosted machine availability to new heights and reduced scrap is a classic example of how outsourced production-equipment maintenance helps a beleagured manufacturer.

J&L Fiber Services, a casting and metalworking shop that supplies the pulp and paper industry, was plagued with excessive production machine downtime. As a result, the company’s overall machine availability was 80 percent.

“Our production line is very linear, so if equipment goes down, it is not long before production downstream of the problem is affected,” said Mike Hoffmann, director of operations at J&L Fiber Services.

Almost all of J&L Fiber Services’ maintenance was reactive. It had no effort expended toward proactive or preventive procedures. Downtime events and maintenance procedures were not tracked, and repetitive machine failures were not addressed.

Because maintenance was not a core competency, J&L Fiber Services saw it could not address all the issues necessary to boost machine availability and efficiency. The company partnered with Advanced Technology Services to implement a sustainable solution. J&L Fiber Services maintenance personnel were given the opportunity to qualify and train as part of the Advanced Technology Services crew.

Advanced Technology Services introduced a multi-faceted program that:

• Collected and analyzed maintenance and machine availability data to develop fact-based solutions.

• Monitored preventive and proactive procedures through work-order management to reduce reactive job orders.

• Performed root-cause analysis on machines experiencing repetitive failures to reduce repair time and manufacturing costs.

• Implemented and reviewed preventive maintenance procedures.

• Implemented Six Sigma procedures for continuous improvement.

The program increased overall machine availability to 99.7 percent. Thecompany now reports its lowest machine downtime on record. Also, scrap has been reduced by 38 percent and efficiency and throughput have increased.

“We have reached a point of diminishing returns on achieving machine availability, so our focus has shifted to cutting overall costs while maintaining uptime,” Hoffmann said. “Each year we challenge Advanced Technology Services to develop a certain percentage of cost reduction, and we are on-target in reaching these goals,” he added.

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