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Thinking Outside the Box with MRO Methodologies

As the 6-month mark approaches for my time leading the MRO Americas practice at Proudfoot, I wanted to follow up on my previous post outlining some of the key takeaways I’ve gotten from moving out of the aviation industry and back into the consulting world. As a former US Marine Aviator, and with 10 years’ experience at leading aviation MROs, seeing all of the advancements from other maintenance-heavy industries has given me new insights that I’ve been able to share with our Proudfoot clients.

We’re calling this the second part in our “MRO Situation Report.” What we're seeing is that all maintenance leaders face common challenges, and whether they are responsible for fixed sites, rolling stock, or major transportation assets, leaders in sectors as disparate as chemicals and mass transit are innovating their operations in ways that can be applied globally.

It’s as easy as simply continuing to try to optimize the solutions you already have with the tools that are already under your belts, but by thinking outside of my own box, I’ve come up with a few more learnings that can be implemented no matter what you’re responsible for.

Despite its Origins, SMED Has Applications Outside of Machine Manufacturing

Single Minute Exchange of Dies (SMED) is a principle rooted in continuously shortening the changeover time for machines producing more than one type of product. SMED can also be used to shorten the startup time needed before beginning a maintenance event. Some of our more innovative improvement projects with MRO clients involve not only ensuring that the right resources are in place to start an event, but also pushing nonessential tasks to be completed before the asset to be worked on even enters the workspace. 

Examples include fueling or defueling during operations or servicing fluids and consumables such as filters during non-event downtime. After analyzing preventive maintenance work scopes, Proudfooters discovered a large number of these opportunities at HAECO which helped reduce overall turnaround times by 10% for heavy maintenance events.

5S is a Mindset and not a Verb

How many times have you heard someone say, “We’re going to 5S the heck out of that shop!?" Right-minded individuals, when confronted with a work environment that is less than stellar from a 5S perspective, inherently understand that the shop is likely performing at less than peak productivity, and something needs to change fast! 

Despite 5S being a foundational principle of Lean, we have seen a spectrum of deployment at our clients, offering great opportunities for quick wins in multiple industries.  Using the principle of creativity over capital, some of our clients have been able to launch 5S quick sprint projects for low cost and gain near-immediate improvements in safety and productivity. 

As we did with our 5S implementation at Interjet, quick 4-week engagements can be used to establish 5S as a mindset and behavioral model by the frontline stakeholders to ensure that 5S is truly sustained going forward. There is also a second agenda here: Proudfoot has found that workers who are provided with safe, modern, efficient working conditions are more supportive of other transformation initiatives launched by our clients.

I am beyond thrilled to be part of the Proudfoot team not just because I’m surrounded by interesting, engaging colleagues, but because we deliver hard core results, and help clients understand new ways of working. With offerings like these, Proudfoot can make a meaningful difference in your maintenance operations. I’m looking forward to taking our people, processes, and intellectual capital to bear in helping relieve your biggest business pressures.


Article by Dennis Santare, Managing Director, MRO Americas