Don't Just Fix It, Improve It!

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In Don't Just Fix It, Improve It! A Journey to the Precision Domain you will learn:

  • Strategies and tools for organizational evolution
  • How to stop spending money fixing failures and losing production
  • How defects affect bottom line results
  • How to use the Hero's Journey to build a learning organization

Don't Just Fix It, Improve It! is a very easy read because it is told as a story. The authors tell the story of a plant manager who has to save his plant from demise. Facing safety issues, production lows and cost cuts, he creates a plan for success. 

He faces a long road of mistakes and missteps while facing opposition from subordinates and pressure from superiors. In his relentless pursuit to create lasting change, he gathers allies by building a shadow network of employees who support his plan for change. He fights to gain respect for his out of the box thinking, while trying to hold his family together as he spends long hours at work. 

The book reinforces why you can't just focus on planning and scheduling. The really good performers eliminate the defects before they ever turn into work orders. Small problems are seldom left to turn into big failures and big problems rarely happen. The authors hit the nail on the head when they demonstrate through the story that improvement efforts which simply focus on driving the right maintenance work practices bog the organization down with too much work and seldom succeed. Only after building in the defect elimination culture and reducing the defects coming into the system can the organization achieve the best practice benchmarks. The small problems don't clog the CMMS system and the work processes can focus on the big issues. Small problems are taken care of immediately at the source.

Author:  Winston P. Ledet, Winston J. Ledet and Sherri M. Abshire
Published:  October 2009
Format:  Paperback
Pages:  188
Table Of Contents:  

Chapter 1: A Reactive Leader

Chapter 2: The Call for Change

Chapter 3: An Action Plan

Chapter 4: A Gathering of Allies

Chapter 5: A Dismal Success

Chapter 6: A Long Lonely Road of Trials

Chapter 7: Who's In Control

Chapter 8: Putting the Pieces Together

Chapter 9: Engaging the Organization

Chapter 10: The Less Direct Route

Chapter 11: Walking in the World of the Precision Domain

Chapter 12: A New Challenge

Chapter 13: In Which the Truth Is Revealed

Epilogue
Reviews:  

"A friend thought I might enjoy reading this book. I decide to look at it over the weekend, thinking I might get through a few chapters – ends up I couldn’t put it down. My wife even commented, “You never stay attached to a book for such a long time, what's up?” The story goes through the events of a plant manager, James, who has to save his plant from demise. Facing safety, as well as production lows and cost cuts; he and his former boss and friend, Chance, create a plan for success. Chance, now at the corporate office once managed the highest performance facility for the company. If you are in any way part of an improvement process, you can easily relate to what James and Chance were facing. Chance introduces James to the Heroic Journey concept, where many trails must be overcome in order to reach the final goal. My favorite analogy is the example of how The Wizard of Oz was a Heroic Journey. Although not overly exploited in the book, it turns out similar to The Wizard of Oz, as James had everything he needed all along. He needed to take the journey in order to reach his goal, while not getting distracted by the means and consequences. Overall, this is the first book I've read which provides true value to reliability improvements, and is also very entertaining. Hopefully the authors will continue the series."
David A. Martin, CMRP, Maintenance Coordinator

"The book is fantastic. An easy read that everyone can relate to and get value from."
Kenneth Latino, Reliability Champion at Meadwestvaco PRG Mill in Covington, VA

"Don't Just Fix It, Improve It is a very easy read because it is told as a story. It is also a good reminder of why you can't just focus on planning and scheduling. My experience matches the storyline of the book. The really good performers eliminate the defects before they ever turn into work orders. Small problems are seldom left to turn into big failures and big problems rarely happen. Winston hits the nail on the head when he demonstrates through the story that improvement efforts which just focus on driving the right maintenance work practices bog the organization down with too much work and seldom succeed. Only after building in the "defect elimination" culture and reducing the defects coming into the system can the organization achieve the best practice benchmarks. The small problems don't clog the CMMS system and the work processes can focus on the big things. Small problems get taken care of immediately at the source. Thanks Winston for this reminder about what to focus on."
Steve Beamer, VP Maintenance at Peabody Energy in St. Louis, MO

"James has great ideas on how to improve the plant and key goals to achieve. Unfortunately, on top of his improvement plans, he is also being directed to install a new maintenance management system, including using a very expensive consulting company, and to apply RCM principles to all the equipment. To top it off, the plant is very reactive, so a day hardly passes when his plans are not disrupted. And to make matters even worse, he is directed to reduce costs substantially in a single year. How is he going to cut costs and implement the maintenance management system? How is he going to manage all the competing initiatives, he often laments. Of course in the middle of it all, two of his employees are seriously injured.

James works really hard to balance all the issues, but soon finds that the number of defects (problems and failures) outstrips even his high energy level, not to mention creating myriad problems at home. He soon notices that the number of defects coming into the maintenance management system simply overwhelms the systems’ ability to cope; and that the RCM studies often end up being “books on a shelf” because of the amount of reactive work that has to be done. With the help of a mentor he finally gets his priorities right, and challenges his boss to give him to leeway on the initiatives so long as he delivers. He begins engaging the workforce in defect elimination, defects that they choose at the shop floor level and work on. He understands how ownership is created for improvement – let the people doing the work select the work to be done to correct the problems. After he’s gotten the defects to a manageable level, he then returns to the maintenance management system implementation, successfully. With that very basic approach, James turns the plant around from the second worse to the second best, in one year.

While the book does include a commercial appeal in places, I encourage you to forgive that and take seriously the greater lesson in the book – nothing is worse than doing something more efficiently that you shouldn’t be doing in the first place – so, engage all your employees in eliminating the defects that cause the failures, and you won’t spend money fixing the failures, losing production, and getting injured. The book is an easy read, and provides an excellent model for this approach."
Ron Moore, Author of What Tools? When? Selecting the Right Manufacturing Improvement Tools

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